Week10i

CA Charting Project: Charting the Colts’ Offensive Line, Week 10

Games like this do not lend themselves to measured responses. It’s much easier to rant and rail about what a shameful performance it was than it is to take a careful look at what happened and why it happened. I’m as guilty as anyone; I was ready to mail in the season Sunday afternoon.

But in breaking down the offensive line’s play, I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t a complete disgrace. Other than Anthony Castonzo, who took a step back, the line’s performance was actually a little better than it had been the previous week in Houston. The run blocking was garbage, but it always is. Andrew Luck got pummeled, but he always does. Mike McGlynn sucked before he got hurt, but he always sucks.

Overall, the offensive line played at roughly the level it has played at all season. It just looked a little worse because of the ugly sack/fumble/touchdown Castonzo gave up. This is, quite simply, the quality of linemen the Colts are dealing with, and it’s not going to get any better. While they didn’t cover themselves in glory, the blowout loss was more about Andrew Luck missing open receivers and Vontae Davis failing to cover Tavon Austin than anything else.

On to the breakdowns. A quick summary if you missed my post last week: I grade every lineman’s block on every play as good, bad or not involved. It’s an inexact science, but it gives a rough idea of how they played. My charting table is at the bottom of this post.

LT Anthony Castonzo

Run blocks: 7/9, 78%

Pass blocks: 54/62, 87%, three pressures, two hits, one sack

Total: 61/71, 86%

Castonzo really struggled with Rams end Robert Quinn. On Chris Long’s fumble recovery touchdown, the biggest play of the game, he guessed wrong on a speed move after a poor chip block by Coby Fleener and wasn’t able to catch up. Later, Quinn blew by him on an inside swim move for a pressure. Those two plays showed Castonzo’s weakest quality: when he guesses correctly and locks on, he’s exemplary, but he’s not quite quick enough to recover from mistakes.

Castonzo started the day just 9/13 (69%), an extremely low rate for him. He then put together 18 straight good blocks and appeared to have settled in, but he was up and down for the rest of the game. He did put in the line’s best showing on running plays, though he blew two of nine blocks on a day when the ground game was nowhere to be found.

LG Hugh Thornton

Run blocks: 5/9, 56%

Pass blocks: 56/62, 90%, three hits, one sack

Total: 61/71, 86%

It was another typical rookie day for Thornton. He had the second-best pass blocking percentage and was 8/10 on pull blocks, but he missed four of nine run blocks and gave up three hits and a sack. Like the rest of the line, he started badly, blowing five of his first 10 blocks, but he put together some long stretches of solid play.

One worrying development for Thornton and Castonzo: they struggle to recognize and deal with stunts. I saw two plays on which they failed to pick up stunting linemen, leading to a sack and a hit. In both cases, it appeared to be Thornton’s fault, though it’s hard to know how those assignments work.

Here’s the sack. At the snap, Thornton quickly locks onto Michael Brockers (in blue) as Castonzo lines up Quinn (in yellow):

Quinn then turns to the inside on a stunt. Castonzo appears to want to pass him off to Thornton, but Thornton, who takes pride in finishing his blocks (usually an admirable characteristic) remains absorbed in Brockers:

By the time Thornton figures out what’s happening, it’s too late, and Quinn has a clear path to Luck:

Stanley Havili, who is engaging James Laurinaitis (55) in the screen grab above, also failed to spot the stunt on his way through and barely grazed Quinn.

C Samson Satele

Run blocks: 4/9, 44%

Pass blocks: 56/61, 92%, one pressure, one hit

Total: 60/70, 86%

In a stunning twist, Satele, whose pass protection this season has ranged from comically bad to terrifyingly bad, had the best pass blocking score among the linemen. He looked livelier and more consistent than he has all year and was much better about helping the guards out when he didn’t have anything to do. His run blocking was atrocious, but his overall performance may be the silver lining in this game. If he can pass block like this with any regularity, the calls for his head will quiet down.

It’s a bit unfair to focus on a bad play when he had a decent game, but I can’t resist another round of my favorite new game: “WTF is Samson Satele thinking?” There were a few candidates for this spot. The winner is this second-quarter screen to Donald Brown, which gained 11 yards (by the way, they need to run more screens and checkdowns to the running backs; good things tend to happen when they do that). Brown is in the process of shedding Darian Stewart’s ankle tackle, while Thornton is about to make up for McGlynn’s lame fall-down block by shoving the linebacker. You can see by the eye lasers I took the liberty of inserting that Satele is looking directly at the two incoming Rams:

So, dear readers, what does Satele do?

A. Block one defender into the other, creating a clear running lane

B. Dive at the first defender’s legs, at least slowing him down

C. Miss the first two defenders, but obstruct Quinn (94, trailing the play)

D. None of the above

If you played last week, you can probably guess the answer.

Yep, he does nothing. Just jogs past the defenders and feebly reaches an arm back in their general direction. And the tough part to swallow is that Brown busts free one more time after that screen shot, picking up a few extra yards. Who makes the tackle? Those two guys Satele was eyeballing a few seconds earlier but decided not to block for some reason. Not only does he not bother with either of them, he ignores the next few defenders so that he can turn back and watch Brown being tackled by the other guys he should have blocked:

Oh, Samson.

RG Mike McGlynn

Run blocks: 4/7, 57%

Pass blocks: 12/19, 63%, two pressures, four hits

Total: 16/26, 62%

McGlynn had a terrible day, giving up a team-high four hits on Andrew Luck despite playing only 26 snaps before exiting with a thumb fracture. He missed at least one block on each of his five drives and gave up all four hits on the 11-play drive that ended his afternoon. The only consolation is that he was 2/3 on pull blocks. There’s not a ton to talk about here. Just a mediocre player having a bad game. Had Donald Thomas stayed healthy, McGlynn would likely be planted to the bench by now.

RG Jeff Linkenbach

Run blocks: 0/2, 0%

Pass blocks: 39/45, 87%, four pressures, one sack

Total: 39/47, 83%

Linkenbach missed both of his run blocks after replacing McGlynn, but he had one of his better pass blocking days. The pressures were unsightly, but his sack came when he was asked to pull-block Quinn on the ill-fated play action pass on first and goal from the 1 early in the fourth quarter. This is the moment at which Linkenbach made contact with Quinn; you can already tell he’s in big trouble, as Quinn as a more direct path to Luck than Linkenbach does:

Pep Hamilton has improved these last few games as an offensive coordinator, but eventually he’s going to need to accept his offensive linemen’s limitations. One of those limitations: Jeff Linkenbach is not athletic enough to pull-block an outstanding defensive end in space on a designed rollout.

RT Gosder Cherilus

Run blocks: 4/9, 44%

Pass blocks: 54/63, 86%, six pressures, two hits

Total: 58/72, 81%

Cherilus had a rough day in both phases. Chris Long and William Hayes gave him tons of trouble with outside speed moves, though he managed to avoid giving up a sack. He also blew five of his nine run blocks. I’ve noticed that Cherilus rarely gets beaten inside; it’s the outside moves that tend to give him trouble. He seems to always guess inside, as was the case on this second-quarter play that would have been another sack/fumble if not for an offside call:

Notice how his shoulders are turned to the inside. When the defender keeps going outside, Cherilus can’t get his hands out fast enough and ends up reaching for him while he turns the corner:

Finally, here are the scores for the non-lineman blockers:

  • I touched on this last week, but Jack Doyle is really good. The reserve tight end was 3/3 on run blocks and 4/4 on pass blocks, his second straight week without a missed block. I’d love to see the Colts get him involved in the passing game so that he’s not so predictable. If he can catch at all, he could evolve into a useful dual threat.
  • Coby Fleener completed both of his pass blocks but was just 3/7 on run blocks. The less he tries to block, the better. I’d like to see him flexed out more.
  • • Stanley Havili was 1/2 on run blocks and 0/1 on pass blocks with the aforementioned grazing of Quinn on an impending sack. He didn’t pass block much, as he usually ran out for checkdown routes. He did have three catches for 25 yards, both season highs.
  • Trent Richardson was 4/7 pass blocking and gave up two pressures and a hit. Not his best day in that regard.
  • Brown, meanwhile, went 9/9 pass blocking. His growth this season has been tremendous. With Vick Ballard coming back next year, the Colts will have a tough decision on whether to retain Brown.
  • Joe Reitz, Mario Harvey and Dan Herron all went 1/1 on pass blocks.

Play

Castonzo

Thornton

Satele

McGlynn

Linkenbach

Cherilus

Hilton 7 pass

/

+

+

+


 

+

Richardson 0 run

+

2nd level, -

-

Pulls, -


 

Pulls, -

Hilton 14 pass

-

-

+

+


 

+

Richardson -3 run

+

+

-

2nd level, +


 

+

Incomplete

+

+

Gives up hit

+


 

+

-10 sack, fumble

Gives up sack

+

+

+


 

+

Drive total

3/5

4/6

3/6

5/6

 

5/6

Brown 1 run

+

Pulls, -

+

-


 

+

Brown 8 pass

+

+

+

+


 

+

Brown -2 run

+

-

+

+


 

-

Drive total

3/3

1/3

3/3

2/3

 

2/3

Richardson 0 run

+

-

+

Pulls, +


 

Pulls, -

Richardson 0 run

-

Pulls, +

-

-


 

-

Incomplete

/

+

+

Gives up pressure


 

+

Drive total

1/2

2/3

2/3

1/3

 

1/3

Incomplete

+

+

+

+


 

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

Gives up pressure


 

Gives up pressure

Havili 1 run

2nd level, -

2nd level, +

-

Pulls, +


 

+

Drive total

2/3

3/3

2/3

2/3

 

2/3

Incomplete

+

+

+

Gives up hit


 

+

Brown 11 pass

+

2nd level, +

2nd level, -

2nd level, +


 

+

Incomplete, offside

+

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

Pulls, +

+

+


 

+

Whalen 4 pass

+

+

+

+


 

+

Heyward-Bey 9 pass

+

+

+

-


 

/

Fleener 4 pass

+

+

+

+


 

+

Whalen 7 pass

+

+

+

Gives up hit


 

+

Incomplete

+

Pulls, +

+

+


 

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

Gives up hit


 

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

Gives up hit


 

+

Drive total

11/11

11/11

10/11

6/11

1/1

10/10

Luck 1 scramble

+

Pulls, gives up hit

+


 

+

+

Luck 7 scramble

+

+

+


 

Gives up pressure

+

Incomplete

+

+

+


 

+

+

Drive total

3/3

2/3

3/3

 

2/3

3/3

Havili 13 pass

+

+

/


 

Gives up pressure

+

Hilton 4 pass

+

+

/


 

+

+

-12 sack, offside

+

-

+


 

+

Gives up hit

Havili 5 pass

+

+

+


 

+

-

Incomplete

Gives up pressure

+

+


 

+

+

Havili 7 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

-11 sack

+

Gives up sack

+


 

-

+

Drive total

6/7

5/7

5/5

 

5/7

5/7

Incomplete

+

/

2nd level, -


 

+

Gives up pressure

Heyward-Bey 8 pass

Gives up pressure

+

+


 

+

Gives up pressure

Hilton 65 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Richardson 5 run

+

Pulls, +

-


 

-

2nd level, +

Incomplete

Gives up hit

+

+


 

+

Gives up pressure

Interception

+

+

+


 

+

+

Drive total

4/6

5/5

4/6

 

5/6

3/6

Hilton 12 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Interception

+

+

+


 

+

+

Drive total

2/2

2/2

2/2

 

2/2

2/2

Heyward-Bey 13 pass

+

+

+


 

+

Gives up pressure

Richardson 9 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Richardson 20 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Luck 5 scramble, nullified by holding

Holds

+

+


 

+

+

Fleener 12 pass

+

/

+


 

+

+

Fleener 10 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Brown 6 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Hilton 7 pass

+

Gives up hit

+


 

+

+

Brown 13 TD pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Fleener 2 pt. pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Drive total

9/10

8/9

10/10

 

10/10

9/10

Incomplete

Gives up hit

+

+


 

Gives up pressure

Gives up pressure

Fleener 7 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Hilton 21 pass

+

+

+


 

Gives up pressure

+

Brown 26 pass

+

Pulls, +

Pulls, -


 

Pulls, +

+

Reed 2 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Incomplete, pass interference

+

+

+


 

+

+

-9 sack

+

+

+


 

Pulls, gives up sack

Gives up hit

Luck 4 scramble

+

+

+


 

+

+

Incomplete

+

Gives up hit

+


 

+

+

Luck 5 scramble

Pulls, +

Pulls, +

Gives up pressure


 

/

+

Drive total

9/10

9/10

8/10

 

6/9

8/10

Richardson 4 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Whalen 25 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Interception

Gives up pressure

+

/


 

+

+

Drive total

2/3

3/3

2/2

 

3/3

3/3

Brazill 11 pass

+

+

+


 

+

+

Herron 57 pass

+

Pulls, +

Pulls, +


 

Pulls, +

+

Herron 0 run

+

Pulls, +

+


 

-

-

Incomplete

+

+

+


 

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+


 

+

+

Interception

+

+

+


 

+

+

Drive total

6/6

6/6

6/6

 

5/6

5/6


 

Castonzo

Thornton

Satele

McGlynn

Linkenbach

Cherilus

Run total

7/9

5/9

4/9

4/7

0/2

4/9

Run percentage

78

56

44

57

0

44

Pass total

54/62

56/62

56/61

12/19

39/45

54/63

Pass percentage

87

90

92

63

87

86

Pressures

3

0

1

2

4

6

Hits

2

3

1

4

0

2

Sacks

1

1

0

0

1

0

Grand total

61/71

61/71

60/70

16/26

39/47

58/72

Grand total percentage

86

86

86

62

83

81

 

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