FanPost

A Tale of the Tape: The Offensive Line

Greetings, Stampede Blue!

I'm new to join this site, but I have been reading here for a couple of years now, and this is my first post on this blog. Before I get started into the actual purpose of this FanPost, I figured I'd tell you a bit about myself. I am a huge colts fan and a borderline obsessed NFL Draft junkie (I watch prospect game tape in my spare time). I'll have more for you on Draft related topics in future articles, but today's topic is going to be more directly related to our beloved Colts.

This is a basic film breakdown and grading of the Colts' starting offensive line from Sunday's preseason game against the Bills. There were 16 total plays in which the starting o-line unit was in the game. For my breakdown, I watched each play multiple times, evaluating each offensive lineman. On a particular play, if a player successfully accomplished his task, he was given a "+." Contrarily, if he failed, he was given a "-." In order to calculate each player's effectiveness, I simply divided his number of positive (+) plays by the number of total snaps.

However, there were instances where the task was technically completed, but could have been performed much better. In these cases, the player was given an asterisk. In the figuring of each player's final grade, I disregarded all 'asterisk' plays. Therefore, no player's grade is based on a total of 16 plays. The results were surprising, to say the least. Let's start on the left side with Anthony Castonzo!

(All final grades are based on a 99-90: A, 89-80: B, 79-70: C, 69-60: D, 60-0: F scale)

Anthony Castonzo

The starting left tackle for the Colts has become something of an enigma. I say that because I watched him extensively at Boston College and was giddy when the team drafted him. However, in this particular game, he looked hesitant and uneasy in his pass sets. This is probably because he was very slow in getting out of his setup in comparison to the rest of the linemen. Also, while Luck took the blame for it, the sack on the cadence mishap was partly, if not fully, Castonzo's fault. He was very effective blocking for screens and in the running game (there were two plays I noted where he fired off the ball and completely dominated the man in front of him), however, he needs to get considerably more consistent.

Final Grade: 9/13, 69%, D+

Donald Thomas

Free agent left guard pickup Donald Thomas did not have his best game this past Sunday. The overwhelming feeling I came away with was that he, unfortunately, could not handle his matchup without help in the passing game. When he received help in the form of a back or another lineman, however, he played fairly well. Also, Thomas was extremely effective when pulling, either for a run or pass play. His run blocking was pretty decent, overall.

Final Grade: 9/13, 69%, D+

Samson Satele

This is the part of this article where things begin to get interesting. Satele was actually a pretty effective center against the Bills. This should all be taken with a grain of salt, as Satele was often helped, but his pass sets were much better than I had grown accustomed to seeing. He did not get walked back in the pocket very often, usually giving Luck or Hasselbeck a clean area to step up into. His run blocking was top notch in this game, and he performed better than most of the other linemen.

Final Grade: 11/14, 79%, C+

Mike McGlynn

You are about to read the most shocking thing ever posted on the internet. Mike McGlynn was the best Colts' offensive lineman on the field against the Bills. Relative to his fellow line-mates, he played extremely well. In the passing game, he often took on an opposing defensive tackle by himself and did not get walked back in the pocket. His head was constantly on a swivel, and multiple times he saved Samson Satele or Gosder Cherilus from getting beaten. In the running game, he was the first lineman off the ball every play, and he consistently opened a lane. He was not without his flaws, however, as he had one run where he got to the linebackers, only to block air. Overall, though, this was an extremely impressive performance from the Colts' right guard.

Final Grade: 11/13, 85%, B

Gosder Cherilus

Unfortunately, the fun ends here. Gosder Cherilus did not play well at all at right tackle on Sunday. I'll start with the positives. Cherilus was quick and fluid getting into his pass sets and moved extremely well for a man his size. He also consistently got to his spots in the running game. Getting into the right places was the only positive, though, as Cherilus often looked overpowered. He was beaten for some pressures and often failed to latch onto and keep defenders at bay. It was not a good showing for Cherilus, which is concerning considering the contract he received in the offseason.

Final Grade: 9/14, 64%, D

Overall

I calculated a very basic overall effectiveness rating by averaging the scores of each individual offensive lineman. This came out to 49/67, 73%, C. There is definitely still work to do, but the line had some surprising bright spots and could be decent with time.

Other Notes:

- Coby Fleener and Donald Brown were both terrible blocking in the few plays I saw of them.

- Vick Ballard had some good vision running the ball and displayed decent pass protection.

- Luck is still amazing.

- There were only 2 plays that I gave all 5 starting offensive linemen positive grades. These plays resulted in runs of 6 and 10 yards, respectively.

That's all I have for now. Thanks so much for reading, and please comment!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.

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