Friday, May 30, 2008

In the Trenches: 2007 week eight

Games Reviewed
Indianapolis Colts (31) at Carolina Panthers (7)
Pittsburgh Steelers (24) at Cincinnati Bengals (13)
Washington Redskins (7) at New England Patriots (52)

Unfortunately there were only three NFL Replay games for week eight. But at least I got my first look at the Carolina Panthers, and overall the line play was pretty good, especially at right tackle where no one had a below average Blocker Rating.

Blocker Ratings
Note: Players in green had above average Blocker Ratings; players in brown were below average.

Left Tackle

For the third time (out of three 2007 season games reviewed so far) Matt Light puts up an above average BR. I'm surprised he has done so well, though I expect his play will drop off later in the season. I still say Chris Samuels is one of the best left tackles in the game, and definitely one of the most fun to watch, even though his 8.57 BR on the season so far ranks only ninth (and no, I'm not a Redskins fan). Levi Jones looked off on his game and was most ineffective with his run blocking (6.75 RBR). Charlie Johnson struggled in both pass and run blocking and easily had the worst game of any of this week's linemen.

Left Guard

Finally, I got to review a game in which Logan Mankins looked like one of the NFL's top guards. Unfortunately for Jets fans, Alan Faneca was once again less effective than the average left guard; on the other hand, he should still be about nine plays per game better than Adrien Clarke. For Jets fans keeping score at home here are the relevant 2007 BRs so far: Pete Kendall, 8.64 BR (242 plays); Faneca, 8.29 BR (161 plays); Clarke, 7.39 BR (95 plays).


As bad as Mahan looked the first time I reviewed one of his games, he has been decent the second two times. Really all of the centers this week were just that: decent, average. Except for Dan Koppen who, like his Patriot linemates, dominated the Redskins defensive front.

Right Guard

Including Super Bowl XLII, I've now reviewed four Patriots games, and in each game Stephen Neal has outperformed Logan Mankins. Neal doesn't have the same ability at pulling that Mankins does, but he seems to be stronger at the point of attack and more effective with blocks at the second level. Bobbie Williams had a relatively mistake-free game, but despite having the highest BR of the week, "steady" and "solid" seem like more apt descriptions of his game than "dominant" or even "great."

Right Tackle

The only below-average right tackle this week was New England's Ryan O'Callaghan who is not listed above because he was only in for six plays. Stacy Andrews, who had looked awful at left guard early in the year, did very well in both pass and run blocking. Nick Kaczur, like teammate Matt Light, continues to surprise. Willie Colon is shaping up to be the Steelers' top offensive lineman. Though I don't chart it due to the extra time it would take, I'd say that Todd Wade had the most double-team help of any of these other tackles and is definitely playing at a level a notch or two below all of them.

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