Week12b

CA Charting Project: Charting the Colts’ Offensive Line, Week 12

I sat myself down to chart the Colts’ miserable 40-11 loss to the Cardinals thinking I was in for an unpleasant task. When I watched the game live, I thought the offensive line had one of its worst games of an already awful season.

But as was the case with the Rams game a few weeks ago, things weren’t nearly as bad as they looked on first glance. Not good, mind you, but not any worse than the C/C- level at which the line has trudged through most of the season. The pass blocking wasn’t quite as good as it was in the Titans game, but it was far better than in the Texans and Rams games.

As for the run blocking . . . did I mention the pass blocking was good?

Seriously, though, the run blocking was terrible, but they didn’t run much (only 13 plays).

You probably know the drill by now, but an offensive line buddy recently reminded me of how speculative it is to analyze offensive line play. So I’ll reiterate my standard disclaimer: it’s impossible to know how linemen are coached and what their assignments are. My grades are based on whether the blockers bested the guys they appeared to target and are unavoidably subjective. See the bottom of the post for my charting table.

LT Anthony Castonzo
Run blocks: 10/12, 83%
Pass blocks: 38/46, 83%, four pressures, one hit
Total: 48/58, 83%

Castonzo had his worst pass blocking game of the four I’ve charted for Colts Authority. I tracked the first four games of the season in a similar manner, and his only worse performance was the opener against the Raiders. He and Hugh Thornton continued a troubling trend: they struggle to pick up stunts. I noticed three plays on which stunts aimed at the left side of the Colts’ line succeeded. Two of those plays led to a hit and a pressure, including this double stunt that fooled both sides of the line and led to a double hit on Luck:

As is tradition, Samson Satele stands in the middle of the field blocking no one and sort of shrugs in the direction of the stunting linebacker as he passes. Though he doesn’t have a lot of time to react, it would be great if he’d occasionally surprise everyone by making a play in such a situation. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Castonzo blew two of 12 run blocks, one on the irrelevant game-ending drive. He had a couple strong drive blocks and generally looked good in the run game.

In the unsolicited advice category, I’d like to see the Colts get Castonzo out in front of running backs on some screens. I’ve only seen them run a few different screen plays, and all of them involve the guards and center. Castonzo moves far better and is better tracking defenders on the move than either Satele or Mike McGlynn.

Editor's note: Castonzo, going back to his rookie year in 2011, has always impressed when he gets out and moves, whether it's on screens or just getting to the second level. Castonzo blocking downfield=good. – KJR

LG Hugh Thornton
Run blocks: 8/13, 62%
Pass blocks: 35/42, 83%, three pressures, two hits
Total: 43/55, 78%

I do everything I can to keep my biases out of my charting. As such, I try to look at each play without thinking about what’s happened before and write notes on the interesting things that come up. These were some of my notes on Thornton: “Good aggressiveness by Hugh.” “All Hugh’s fault.” “Awesome help by Hugh.” “Great help by Hugh.” “Hugh toasted.” “Hugh blows it.” “Hugh throws his man down.”

When I finished and started looking back through my notes, at first I thought I’d pull Thornton out as a particular positive from the game. But as those notes suggest, he was wildly up and down. In fact, by percentages, he was tied for the worst mark on the team in both run and pass blocking, and he had the worst total percentage. He screwed up badly on some interior rushers and running plays, but he was excellent in helping out Castonzo. I mentioned in my writeup of the Titans game last week that Thornton completely blew up a defender who was putting a spin move on Castonzo. He did something similar at least three times in the Cardinals game, including this beauty on an otherwise unsightly play:

As always, Thornton pulled a lot, and he went 5/7 on pull blocks.

C Samson Satele
Run blocks: 8/13, 62%
Pass blocks: 40/46, 87%, one pressure, one hit, one sack
Total: 48/59, 81%

Here’s something I never thought I’d write: Satele had a better pass-blocking day than Castonzo. I can only assume he read the first of these breakdowns I wrote for Colts Authority a few weeks ago, in which I took him to task for being inactive, because his “couldn’t find anyone to block” plays have dropped off significantly. He gave up a pressure, a hit and a sack (if you’re wondering, I assigned a sack allowed to both Satele and McGlynn on the same play, since they both would have allowed a sack even if the other hadn’t), but he was second to Gosder Cherilus in pass blocking percentage. He did blow five run blocks, including a couple really ugly ones.

After a week of pretty intelligent play, Satele was back to his old tricks, with a couple truly head-scratching plays. And you know what that means: it’s time for another round of “WTF is Samson Satele Thinking?”

This is the last play of the Colts’ first drive, a three-and-out. Mike McGlynn and Trent Richardson blow pass blocks, flushing Luck out of the pocket. After a good initial block that steered his man into Thornton’s grip, Satele is in front of the play with nothing to do as Luck starts to scramble. He is clearly aware that Luck is scrambling:

What does Satele do?

A. Help Cherilus (in the foreground) on his man.
B. Head upfield and block one of the linebackers.
C. Help Thornton on his man.
D. Sit down and look for four-leaf clovers.
E. Do nothing.

Yep. It’s E. He doesn’t turn upfield until Luck is past him:

John Abraham, the linebacker on the right side of the second screenshot, tackles Luck after a gain of three, forcing a punt. Granted, Luck is quick and Satele is not, and it would be hard for Satele to stay in front of Luck when the latter has a full head of steam. But it took Satele a painfully long time to get turned around and moving. As you can see, Luck moves five yards straight up the field between the two screen shots, while Satele moves about a yard to the hash marks and roughly six inches upfield. At the very least, Satele could have tried to keep up with Luck and give him a push in the back after contact. But he dawdled along behind and didn’t even touch a defender.

RG Mike McGlynn
Run blocks: 11/13, 85%
Pass blocks: 39/46, 85%, one pressure, one hit, one sack
Total: 50/59, 85%

I wouldn’t say McGlynn was good, but by percentages, he had his best game of the four I’ve tracked for Colts Authority. He’s been pulling more the past couple games, and he’s responded much better than I would have expected, given his early-season struggles. He went 5/7 on pull blocks, the same score Thornton had. He was also fairly good in pass protection, at least in terms of percentages.

Before I get carried away in praising McGlynn, I should note that he was at fault on some of the worst plays of the game. On Satele’s WTF play above, he gave up the pressure that forced Luck out of the pocket. He also gave up the hit that led to Luck’s pick-six, and he (and Satele) surrendered the lone sack of the day. Those three plays stick in the mind a lot more than the 50 plays on which he completed his assignment, which is a little unfair, but such is the life of a lineman.

Unsolicited bit of advice number two (and I know I’m not the first to say this): replace either Satele or McGlynn with Khaled Holmes. Even when McGlynn and Satele are at their best, as they have been these past two games, they’re simply not all that good. They’re both strong enough but have zero quickness. Holmes wasn’t great in the preseason, but based on what I saw there, it’s hard to imagine him being worse than either of these two, and he surely has a higher ceiling. Asked about getting Holmes on the field, Chuck Pagano recently said, “We just really haven’t had a need at this point.” Um, sorry Chuck, but you do in fact have a need. A pretty glaring one. Let’s see what the kid can do.

RT Gosder Cherilus
Run blocks: 11/11, 100%
Pass blocks: 40/45, 89%, one pressure, three hits
Total: 51/56, 91%

Ladies and gentlemen, your most effective Colts blocker of the day. As with Satele, I can only assume Cherilus has been reading my analyses and decided to prove me wrong. He was a perfect 11/11 on run blocks, the only lineman not to blow at least two, and he had the best percentage on pass blocks. The only blemishes on his day were three ugly hits allowed, a team high. I’d still like to see Cherilus finish his blocks a bit more; whereas Thornton and McGlynn keep fighting and shoving until the whistle, Cherilus always seems quick to let up as soon as he suspects the play might be over. It sometimes comes back to bite him when his man catches up to the play and brings down the ball carrier (this happens a lot on Richardson runs).

I pointed out a couple weeks back that Cherilus tends to guess inside and get beaten on speed rushes, but he did a much better job in this game of steering speed rushers harmlessly past Luck, as on this John Abraham rush (Abraham had seven sacks in his previous four games, but was shut out on Sunday; let’s hear it for small victories!):

As for the ancillary blockers:


·         Say what you will about bringing Weslye Saunders back after his suspension for violating the performance-enhancing substances policy; the man can block. He was 4/6 on run blocks and 4/4 on pass blocks. Now if he could only catch the ball.


·         My BFF Jack Doyle was 4/5 on run blocks and 3/3 on pass blocks. With the game out of control early (what else is new?), he wasn’t used much until the last drive, when he went 4/4 as the Colts ran it four straight times.


·         Justice Cunningham was mostly used in Stanley Havili’s role as a lead blocker and did a decent job, going 6/7 on run blocks and completing his one pass block. His missed run block was costly, leading directly to a tackle on a 1-yard Richardson run. Cunningham was released after the game and will likely head back to the practice squad.


·         Coby Fleener was 4/6 on run blocks and 1/1 on pass blocks. Not bad, but [insert obligatory Dwayne Allen pining here].


·         Richardson and Donald Brown both had good days in pass blocking, with Richardson going 5/6 and Brown 5/5. Richardson gave up a pressure on the WTF is Samson thinking play.


·         Pep Hamilton seems to be going away from the extra lineman approach more and more. Jeff Linkenbach played only one offensive snap and completed a run block. Joe Reitz played 13 snaps as an extra lineman in the San Francisco game and 22 against Jacksonville, but since Linkenbach replaced him coming out of the bye, the snaps with those heavy sets have dropped off significantly. That might have something to do with these slow starts I keep hearing about.


Play

Castonzo

Thornton

Satele

McGlynn

Cherilus

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Richardson 2 run

2nd level, +

-

+

Pulls, +

+

Luck 3 scramble

+

+

+

Gives up pressure

+

Drive total

3/3

2/3

3/3

2/3

3/3

Fleener 16 pass

-

+

+

+

+

Cunningham 4 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Richardson 8 run

+

+

2nd level, +

+

+

Incomplete, def. holding

+

+

+

+

+

Richardson 1 run

+

+

-

2nd level, +

+

Hilton 12 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete, def. pass interference

+

Gives up hit

+

+

+

Richardson 1 run

+

+

+

Pulls, +

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

Gives up pressure

Gives up pressure

+

+

+

Drive total

8/10

8/10

9/10

10/10

10/10

Brown 0 run

+

-

-

Pulls, -

/

Incomplete

+

Gives up hit

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

Gives up hit

Drive total

3/3

1/3

2/3

2/3

1/2

Incomplete

Gives up pressure

Gives up pressure

+

+

+

Interception

+

+

Gives up pressure

Gives up hit

+

Drive total

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

2/2

Hilton 5 pass

+

+

Pulls, /

+

+

Brown 1 run

-

-

+

Pulls, +

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

-

Gives up hit

Drive total

2/3

2/3

2/2

2/3

2/3

Satele 0 pass

-

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Hilton 5 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Drive total

2/3

3/3

3/3

3/3

3/3

Hilton 5 pass

+

Pulls, /

+

/

+

Richardson 3 pass

+

Pulls, +

+

Pulls, +

+

Fleener 10 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Heyward-Bey 8 pass

+

+

+

+

+

-4 sack

+

/

Gives up sack

Gives up sack

+

Brazill 14 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Heyward-Bey 4 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Drive total

10/10

8/8

9/10

8/9

10/10

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Brown -2 pass

+

Pulls, -

Pulls, -

-

+

Incomplete

-

+

+

+

+

Drive total

2/3

2/3

2/3

2/3

3/3

Richardson -3 run

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete, def. offside

+

+

-

-

Gives up pressure

Brazill 12 pass

+

+

+

+

+

Hilton 11 pass

+

/

+

+

+

Richardson 6 run

/

Pulls, +

-

+

2nd level, +

Richardson 8 pass

+

+

+

-

+

Reed 3 pass, off. Holding

Gives up pressure, holds

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

-

+

+

-

Heyward-Bey 10 pass

Gives up hit

+

Gives up hit

+

+

Luck 28 scramble

+

/

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Fleener 17 TD pass

+

+

-

+

Gives up hit

Heyward-Bey 2 pt. pass

+

+

+

+

/

Drive total

11/13

11/12

10/14

12/14

10/13

Fleener 12 pass

Gives up pressure

+

+

+

+

Incomplete

+

Gives up pressure

+

+

+

Brazill 9 pass

/

Pulls, /

+

+

/

Incomplete

+

+

+

+

+

Richardson 0 run

2nd level, +

-

-

Pulls, +

/

Drive total

3/4

2/4

4/5

5/5

3/3

Herron 22 run

+

Pulls, 2nd level, +

+

+

2nd level, +

Herron 4 run

+

2nd level, +

-

Pulls, -

+

Herron 5 run

-

Pulls, +

+

+

+

Herron 2 run

+

Pulls, -

+

+

+

Drive total

3/4

3/4

3/4

3/4

4/4


 

Castonzo

Thornton

Satele

McGlynn

Cherilus

Run total

10/12

8/13

8/13

11/13

11/11

Run percentage

83

62

62

85

100

Pass total

38/46

35/42

40/46

39/46

40/45

Pass percentage

83

83

87

85

89

Pressures

4

3

1

1

 1

Hits

1

2

1

1

 3

Sacks

0

0

1

1

 0

Grand total

48/58

43/55o:p>

48/59

50/59

51/56

Grand total percentage

83

78

81

85

91

 

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