Originally posted by mcbaes72:
Originally posted by dj43:
The best thing I saw last night was how well Rachal played again. Other than a couple of communication breakdowns during this PS, the guy has been very good. He is lighter and quicker on his feet. Last night he dominated his zone all night long, even when he was going against 1st teamers. He is finally looking more like a 2nd round pick.
His run-blocking has always been his strength, I remember watching (and reading later) how he plowed through guys (even high profile DL guys like Dockett) to make room for Gore to run through. It's his pass-protection that was always questionable. If he improves on that and doesn't give up many sacks and QB hurries, he'll deserve to be a starter for the whole season. If not, I can see coaches putting guys like Snyder or Boone in, especially if we're behind and in obvious passing situations.
I believe the extra weight he was carrying last year was a significant disadvantage to him in pass protection, as well as pulling and moving around to pick up blitzes. He is reported to have dropped 35 pounds. That is a LOT of weight. He just looks to be in much better shape this year than last.
As an aside, the better pass protecting lines around the league are lighter, quicker guys, not the big bulldozers that Nolan/Sing preferred. Still, Rachal was bulldozing people last night.