Week11l

CA Charting Project: Charting the Colts’ Offensive Line, Week 11

After the Colts’ 30-27 win in Nashville on Thursday, a number of recaps said Indy’s offensive line stiffened in the second half after a rough first. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus, who had a terrible first half, did get better in the second, but all four other blockers actually had worse second halves by percentages.

They did, however, improve at giving Andrew Luck time. Luck saw some of the cleanest pockets he’s seen all season. He was sacked only once and hit just four times. It sure makes a difference to be playing a so-so defensive front, after the Colts faced two of the league’s best defensive lines the previous two weeks.

Run blocking continues to be an issue. Though Donald Brown finished with solid numbers, half of his 14 carries went for three yards or less, and everyone but Anthony Castonzo blew at least five run blocks and finished at 80% or lower.

While it wasn’t a banner day for the offensive line, it was closer to league average, and if this group can play regularly at that modest level, Luck will have some big days.

Here are the breakdowns. As always, the numbers are subjective and based on whether the blocker appeared to best the guy in front of him. My charting table is at the bottom of this post.

LT Anthony Castonzo

Run blocks: 24/26, 92%

Pass blocks: 36/40, 90%, one pressure, one hit

Total: 60/66, 91%

Castonzo bounced back from a poor showing (for him) against the Rams with a quality performance. He blew only two run blocks all day and was generally strong in pass protection. As I mentioned last week, he’s sometimes a step slow in recovery when beaten initially, but the Titans don’t have anyone quick enough to make him pay for it.


 

Castonzo saved his finest work for the Colts’ clinching drive. He blew one block, but he was generally annihilating his man. Get a load of what he does to Jurrell Casey (99) on this run. Brown only gains a yard because of several blown blocks, but Castonzo’s work is remarkable. Here’s the moment when he makes contact with Casey:

And here is where they are when he’s finished:

Cherilus, a pulling McGlynn and Jeff Linkenbach all blow their blocks, but Castonzo has driven Casey from near the middle of the field almost to the hash marks and into the ground. Not bad.

The next play, Castonzo is on Derrick Morgan (91). Roughly the same thing happens. Morgan looks for a moment like he’s going to make a play in the backfield:

But he ends up off his feet as Stanley Havili runs for a first down:

Castonzo was making blocks like that on almost every play during the last drive. When he really gets after it, his run blocking is a sight to see. His game has its warts, but he’s a building block.

 

LG Hugh Thornton

Run blocks: 19/25, 76%

Pass blocks: 38/40, 95%, one pressure, one hit
Total: 57/65, 88%

Speaking of building blocks, once he figures everything out, Thornton is going to be a monster. He’s been learning on the fly all year after missing most of the preseason, but he’s improved noticeably. He’s powerful and has adequate quickness. More importantly, he is aggressive and alert. He sometimes misses stunts, as I touched on last week, but he’s great at helping out a fellow lineman in trouble.


In one such situation, on the first play of the second half, he produced my favorite play of the night. Morgan is putting a spin move on Castonzo, and Thornton, who has just passed off his man to Samson Satele, spots him:

As Morgan comes out of his spin move, Thornton flat out levels him:

It’s hard to capture it adequately in a few images, but it was a massive hit.

Thornton was 8/12 on pull blocks, which are usually his biggest strength. He missed three on his last two drives, which suggests he may still need to improve his conditioning a bit.

 

C Samson Satele
Run blocks: 18/26, 69%

Pass blocks: 37/40, 93%

Total: 55/66, 83%

I don’t know who this guy is or what he’s done with Samson Satele, but all of a sudden the Colts have a fairly competent center. He’s not a great run blocker, and he had the lowest run blocking percentage on the line – which seems odd considering he’s supposed to be a mauler in the running game. But these past couple games he has anchored remarkably well in pass protection. He had zero pressures, hits or sacks against the Titans, which is the first such performance I’ve seen in the games I’ve tracked this year. He’s also been far more active in helping teammates out and finding someone to block, which had been his biggest flaw earlier in the season.

Satele was so good this week I couldn’t pick out a play for a round of “WTF is Samson Satele Thinking?” He whiffed on a couple opportunities to make blocks in space on screens, but most offensive linemen do that from time to time. Instead of nitpicking, I’m going to extend my kudos to him and move on. So kudos, Samson. Now pick it up on the run blocking.

 

RG Mike McGlynn

Run blocks: 20/26, 77%

Pass blocks: 35/41, 85%, two pressures

Total: 55/67, 82%

McGlynn is an emotional player, and it shows in both good ways and bad. When he gets angry, he can be useful in the running game, but when he blows a block or two, he appears to get down on himself and go through cold streaks. On Thursday, he completed his first 16 blocks, including four pull blocks, on which he often struggles. Then he missed three of four and gave up two pressures on three plays. Then he completed 13 of 14, then he missed four of five. He also blew three on the Colts’ last drive.

But on Brown’s game-sealing touchdown run, McGlynn was huge, influencing no fewer than four defenders. First, he bumps Casey with his right shoulder, helping Cherilus secure him:

Then he turns to his left and helps Satele lock onto ex-Colt Antonio Johnson, driving Johnson into Sammie Hill and knocking him off-balance in the process:

And finally, he takes a few steps forward and blows up Michael Huff, clearing a huge lane for Brown to score.

At his best, McGlynn is a feisty blocker with decent functional strength, and that’s what he was for most of the night in Nashville. He’s still a weak link, but on his good days he’s passable.

 

RT Gosder Cherilus

Run blocks: 20/25, 80%

Pass blocks: 33/41, 80%, two pressures, one hit, one sack

Total: 53/66, 80%

Cherilus had a rough night. He was easily the Colts’ worst pass blocker, blowing eight blocks and giving up two pressures, a hit and a sack. He was particularly bad in the first half, missing six of 17 in one stretch and allowing a pressure and a sack on the last two plays of the half. He was toasted regularly and wound up on the ground a number of times after missing desperation dives.

Cherilus was awful in run blocking early this year, but he’s gotten much better. He’s been more persistent in finishing his blocks and more aggressive in locking onto his defender early in the play rather than waiting on his heels.

For most of the night, Cherilus and McGlynn did a nice job recognizing and dealing with stunts. But on the second-to-last play of the first half, Cherilus gave up a pressure when he failed to recognize one and badly overcompensated.

The Colts slide Castonzo, Thornton and Satele to the left and man up McGlynn and Cherilus on Casey and Colin McCarthy, who both end up attacking the same B gap:

As McCarthy comes in, Cherilus, rather than passing him off, drives him directly into McGlynn:

McGlynn ends up stumbling backwards as Cherilus continues pushing McCarthy into him. Casey hesitates a moment, then loops behind Cherilus and comes through clean, flushing Luck into a rollout and an incompletion:

Pretty ugly stuff. You may also notice that Satele is not engaged with anyone on the play and could probably be helping on the right side. But his assignment clearly called for him to look left. Besides, I’m laying off Satele a bit. For this week, at least.

Finally, the Colts’ other blockers:

  • This is where I traditionally gush about tight end Jack Doyle. He missed three blocks Thursday after two straight perfect games, but he was still 11/14, including 10/13 on run blocks. Seriously, watch No. 84 when he’s on the field. He’s awesome.
  • Jeff Linkenbach had a pretty good day as the extra lineman after a couple rough games. He was 9/13 on run blocks and 11/15 overall.
  • Stanley Havili had a bad game. He was 12/19 on pass blocks and 2/4 on run blocks. Two early plays could have been big ones, including a screen to Trent Richardson that could have been a 95-yard touchdown, but Havili missed his blocks and ruined the opportunities.
  • Richardson was 8/9 on pass blocking, while Brown was 6/7 and gave up a hit.
  • Coby Fleener was a respectable 6/9 on run blocks and 5/6 on pass blocks. A side note of free fantasy advice: if you can get Fleener as a tight end, do it. Luck looks at him first on almost every play. He’s going to have some big games down the stretch.
  • Weslye Saunders completed his lone block on a running play. He also looked spry running routes and could be another weapon in the passing game if he can hold onto the ball.

Play

Castonzo

Thornton

Satele

McGlynn

Cherilus

Richardson 1 run

+

+

+

Pulls, +

+

Fleener 3 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

/

+

+

+

+

Drive total

2/2

3/3

3/3

3/3

3/3

Richardson 14 pass

Pulls, -

Pulls, +

Pulls, -

Pulls, +

-

Richardson 0 pass

+

+

+

Pulls, +

-

Richardson 5 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Hilton 17 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Brown 9 run

+

+

+

Pulls, +

+

Brown 4 run

+

Pulls, -

+

+

+

Brown 3 run, nullified; too many men on def.

+

Pulls, +

+

+

-

Luck 3 scramble

+

+

+

+

+

Brown 1 run

+

+

+

+

+

Luck 2 run

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

-

Richardson 7 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Luck 3 scramble

/

Pulls, +

Pulls, -

+

Gives up pressure

Drive total

11/12

12/13

11/13

13/13

8/13

Brown 15 run

2nd level, +

+

+

-

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

Gives up pressure

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

Gives up hit

/

+

Gives up pressure

Gives up hit

Drive total

3/4

3/3

4/4

1/4

3/4

Saunders 11 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete, def. pass interference

+

+

+

+

/

Brown 14 pass

+

Pulls, /

Pulls, +

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Heyward-Bey 10 pass

+

+

+

+

-

Richardson 5 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Fleener 17 pass

+

+

+

-

+

Hilton 5 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

/

+

Gives up pressure

-3 sack

+

+

+

+

Gives up sack

Drive total

12/12

11/11

11/11

11/12

8/11

Fleener 16 pass

+

+

/

+

+

Richardson 5 run

-

Pulls, +

+

+

+

Luck 13 scramble

+

Gives up pressure

+

-

+

Richardson 7 run

+

+

+

Pulls, +

-

Richardson 1 run

+

+

+

-

+

Hilton 7 pass

-

+

+

-

+

Brown 0 run

+

-

-

-

-

Fleener 5 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Whalen 6 pass

+

+

-

+

+

Hilton 8 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Brown 6 TD run

Pulls, +

+

Pulls, +

+

+

Drive total

9/11

9/11

8/10

7/11

9/11

Havili 9 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Luck 11 TD scramble

Pulls, +

+

+

+

2nd level, +

Drive total

2/2

2/2

2/2

2/2

2/2

Richardson 2 run

+

Pulls, +

-

+

+

Hilton 7 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Luck 1 run

+

+

+

+

+

Richardson 3 run

+

/

2nd level, -

+

Pulls, +

Fleener 8 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

Gives up pressure

+

+

-

+

Fleener 5 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Drive total

7/8

7/7

6/8

7/8

8/8

Fleener 39 pass

+

+

+

/

+

Brown 2 run

+

Pulls, -

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

Gives up hit

+

+

+

Drive total

4/4

2/4

4/4

3/3

4/4

Brown 6 run

+

Pulls, +

-

+

+

Brown 17 run

+

+

-

+

+

Brown 8 run

+

Pulls, +

+

-

/

Brown 1 run

+

+

+

Pulls, -

-

Havili 4 run

+

+

+

+

+

Richardson -1 run

+

Pulls, -

-

+

+

Fleener 14 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Richardson 4 run

-

-

-

+

+

Brown 0 run

2nd level, +

+

+

Pulls, +

-

Brown 0 run

+

Pulls, -

-

-

+

Brown 11 TD run

+

Pulls, +

+

2nd level, +

+

Drive total

10/11

8/11

6/11

8/11

8/10

Play

Castonzo

Thornton

Satele

McGlynn

Cherilus

Run total

24/26

19/25

18/26

20/26

20/25

Run percentage

92

76

69

77

80

Pass total

36/40

38/40

37/40

35/41

33/41

Pass percentage

90

95

93

85

80

Pressures

1

1

0

2

2

Hits

1

1

0

0

1

Sacks

0

0

0

0

1

Grand total

60/66

57/65

55/66

55/67

53/66

Grand total percentage

91

88

83

82

80

 

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