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OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY: Most Important

Originally posted by dtg_9er:
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Thank you for this. I'm more concerned about the "hits" and pressures and forcing the QB to pull down and scramble instantly. What are you seeing there? QB's fault, good penetration from the DL while CB's have WR's locked down, etc.


There were a lot of designed roll outs to the right. I don't know why on earth we run them. It causes instant pressure.

In the pocket, Iupati got beat on a swim move, Hunter got beat by a linebacker, but everything else was clean.

When Smith moved up in the pocket the pocket was often not there and he had to scramble, pulling down the ball and attempting to run. I would like to see him throw the ball away quickly in those situations but I think he was trying to show he could use his legs as CK did the first game. He needs to think--"Preseason, do not get hit!"

The roll outs were used to counter Houston's quick DLine and worked to some extent. Good to use vanilla roll outs rather than give up plays that will be used when games count. Smith will not make it through the year if he keeps getting hit like this.

Agreed. If it was just this one pre season game (where the Texans took a '11 Saints approach BTW) I can understand. But the fact that this is a perpetual issue (esp. against good 3-4 defenses or blitz-disguising teams) concerns me. I still have no idea how Alex made it through last year w/o a serious injury. And now it's a pre season game and your starting QB is getting body slammed (had that been on his shoulder again?) and decapitated (twice). There is not a coach in the league who would "smile" about that. That's your season...one and done!

We've all been seriously concerned about the pass blocking through last year (44 sacks, lead the league in pressures/hits under 3 seconds, etc.) and then we'd see 6 games where only 7 sacks were given up and feel better, and then we were concerned again when we had to use jumbo packages (max protect) and keep extra backs, TE's and extra DL/OL in to protect Alex which left him with ONE single receiving option that was there or not (and if not, he was running for his life again), etc.

So to me, it's about creating a consistent pocket that the likes of Brady, Manning, Brees, etc. (even their backups) have gotten over the course of their careers if we are EVER to install year 2 of 3 of the WCO and utilize all our new weapons. With the same OL back from all of last year, we should not be talking about our starting QB getting seriously slammed 4 times (avoided a few others) in pre season no matter how we try to justify it. So it's still a concern no matter if it's the OL's fault, poor play calling, Alex, etc. or a combo of all.

It needs to be fixed now and the last thing Alex/Harbaugh should be doing is smiling about it...
Just have to say... the body-slam was more the fault of Alex than the OL. Sure, AD should have done more than just stand and shove the rusher out and away... BUT... how was he to know that Alex would foolishly drift to the right before throwing the sideline pass? Alex stated that he wasn't supposed to there... I guess I have to believe that.. coupled with what AD did. My feeling is that Alex believed he would be able to put more heat on his pass if he were on the move to his right.. and he paid a nasty price for this.

There were three pass plays where I wanted Alex to do better than he did... and the other two were under some duress.. and one of them could have been a good outcome had an OL had eyes in the back of his head and sustained a particular block.
The qbs you speak of are as responsible for that " consistent pocket" as their offensive lines are.
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Just have to say... the body-slam was more the fault of Alex than the OL. Sure, AD should have done more than just stand and shove the rusher out and away... BUT... how was he to know that Alex would foolishly drift to the right before throwing the sideline pass? Alex stated that he wasn't supposed to there... I guess I have to believe that.. coupled with what AD did. My feeling is that Alex believed he would be able to put more heat on his pass if he were on the move to his right.. and he paid a nasty price for this.

There were three pass plays where I wanted Alex to do better than he did... and the other two were under some duress.. and one of them could have been a good outcome had an OL had eyes in the back of his head and sustained a particular block.

Thanks oldman9er. I reviewed the "pressure plays" myself to determine the collective fails as well (Alex, play-calling, OL not sustaining blocks/whiffed, etc.). I added your analysis to mine as well (didn't read yours initially to remain objective)

I'll just highlight the 1st series of pass plays:
Play 1: (No shot gun). Hit/pressure & throw under 3 seconds - Designed roll out to the R to Crabtree for 4. Only 2 WR's split R. AD shoves his man to the right, right into Alex's roll out; two other DL (in the middle) are already in the backfield had Alex not thrown R instantly. Body slammed on this 1st play of the game. Looks like the Texans overloaded that side. Alex went to only option for a positive gain. Good job by Crabtree coming back.

oldman9er: 1st and 10 at SF 24A.Smith pass short right to M.Crabtree to SF 28 for 4 yards (J.Joseph) [C.Barwin].
Alex got body slammed by Barwin (easily should have been a personal foul), AD stands his ground, but punches out.. basically giving Barwin an even better angle to run beyond him and right into Alex. Now here is the only thing, and it's important. It looks clear to me that the play was designed for Alex to take the snap and slide to his right... not a full rollout, but somewhat partial. Now if this is true? Then AD really screwed up here. If this was Alex not dropping back in a straight line? No worries for the other blocks.

Play 2: (No shot gun). Combo sacked under 4 seconds - Only 2 WR's on the R, 2 back set (both release), VD/Miller covered right away. No time to even look R where the 2 WR's ran their routes. all 4 DL 2 yards already past the LOS at the snap. Smith pulls down as the pocket collapses to the R. No chance. Had the line sustained the block one more second, Crabtree was just getting open in the middle of the field. AD/Boone could not sustain the LDE who forced Alex to pull down and run and Goodwin played patty-cake as his man sacked Alex up the middle. Total confusion. Smith may have had VD up the sideline but I couldn't see if the S was covering over the top; either way, had no place or time to step up.

oldman9er: 1st and 10 at SF 42A.Smith sacked at SF 42 for 0 yards (sack split by T.Jamison and C.Barwin).
Overall, the OL did their jobs here. Alex just didn't like any of his options. I see two short options he had a moment of fairly safe shots to take (both backs), but he isn't wanting to. The deeper routes, as pointed out by Tim Ryan, were well covered when Alex wanted to throw. Looks also like Crabtree broke free on an inside slant. I would have liked to see Alex stop running and hit him at the 50.. gotta keep your eyes downfield more, Alex.

Play 3: (No shot gun). Pass to Moss for 5 well under 3 seconds. Only 2 WR's, max protect. They brought 5. Miller pushed back into Alex, L side of the line collapses instantly. R side held well. Best option was to Moss. Alex may have had VD right down the middle if he had another second and Crabtree was open on the R (same exact route).

oldman9er: 2nd and 10 at SF 42A.Smith pass short left to R.Moss to SF 47 for 5 yards (K.Jackson).
Good quick throw here from Alex. The left side.. particularly Iupati and even more so of Goodwin.. was getting shoved back towards Alex quickly

Play 4: (Shot gun!). Designed roll out to the R on 3rd and 5 for 20 to Ginn (30 yard pass). This time Alex starts in the shot gun and rolls way back and out to buy more time. 3 WR's. Crabtree was double covered instantly on the shorter route but Ginn is so fast that he was waiting for the pass a second before the pass arrived at the same time as Crabtree broke to his mark; but Ginn was 10 yards DEEPER. Speed kills. R side of the line held for 4 seconds but two guys broke through just as Alex threw and was hit hard again.

oldman9er: 3rd and 5 at SF 47 (Shotgun) A.Smith pass deep right to T.Ginn pushed ob at HST 29 for 24 yards (B.McCain) [A.Smith].
Alex showing the athleticism, toughness, and accuracy while throwing on the move. Hunter was blocking passionately here on OLB.. The LDT broke quickly left to chase after the rolling Alex and Boone couldn't get past AD to stay in front.. Alex hit by LDT after throw.. a hit Alex had to know was coming.

Play 5: (Shot gun! - see a trend here?). Pass under 3 seconds to middle screen Hunter for 3. Entire DL in the backfield (past the LOS) and trips Hunter up; Hunter couldn't break free clean. AD didn't block/sustain his man otherwise, this would have been a huge gain. Boone's man made the tackle but AD's man made the play. Only a 4 man rush. Hunter (chip and go) and Staley's edge guys were on Alex as he threw.

oldman9er: 1st and 10 at HOU 29 (Shotgun) A.Smith pass short middle to K.Hunter to HST 26 for 3 yards (B.Cushing).
Quick dumpoff.. Ryan says screen, but didn't see any OL blocks being set up. Alex hits Hunter just after Hunter blocks and releases from OLB. AD is too late in turning to get a LB block.. so LB makes tackle. Boone let DT disengage and nearly make the tackle. Not seeing this "new and improved footwork" for AD... he looks as plodding as ever.

Play 6: (No shot gun). Best protection on this drive. Held 4 seconds and VD dropped the crossing pass on single coverage; catchable but not the best pass (VD jumps as always to catch). Great p/u by Hunter in the middle. 2 WR set. Reuland, Moss & Crabtree were all open but given the previous pressure, you go with VD in single coverage on a LB on a 3 step drop (shot gun here may have given Alex more vision). If VD makes that catch he beats the LB and is in the end zone or close to it. Nice play design. Lots of options and time.

oldman9er: 2nd and 7 at HOU 26. A.Smith pass incomplete short middle to V.Davis.
OkAy, so this is a heavily talked about pass play... the "wide open" Moss play. If you have the preseason package for nfl.com, pause this play at exactly 19:14. (or 6:34 on your NFLN replay) There, you will see that as the ball is dropped by VD, the CB is tightly on Moss' back on the slant. The LB #53 however, is a few steps behind VD on the drag route and there is room to run towards sideline for another 10+ yards.. depending on when Moss' CB would see to break off his coverage and chase VD down... and then there's the question of whether the CB could bring VD to the ground. Moss being fairly well covered on a lower % pass? Or VD having steps on an ILB for a sure 1st down and potential TD? I don't think this is a play worthy of the criticisms I have read. Really think Alex made the wiser choice here, and not many QBs under pressure would look for a second read after seeing his favorite target open vs a slower LB.

Play 7: (Shot gun!). Moved ball from own 25 to 27 of the Texans. 3rd and 7. 4 WR's, delayed middle blitz with 5 (sacked back at the 34). Smith pulls down to run at 2 seconds to the R hole (nobody open). Outside T's did well but 3 defenders right up the middle 7 yards deep in the pocket. Smith looks L and 4 defenders on 1 WR & VD. May have had a shot at James but he motions out L and then comes back inside around his defender. Only real option I saw here but it would not have been for a 1st down (2nd defender came over as well). Boone's man slips through and Hunter is late picking him up and hit by 4 defenders (half decapitated) high/low.

oldman9er: 3rd and 7 at HOU 26 (Shotgun) A.Smith sacked at HST 32 for -6 yards (sack split by T.Jamison and A.Smith).
Staley and AD did a fair job of keeping the edge rushers away... Hunter was losing containment of his guy right up the middle on Alex, which caused Alex to go into flee-mode. Boone was doing his zone block... but in hindsight, was more ideal to take on the blitz LB instead of helping Goodwin. Hunter really blew his block quickly on Cushing... BUT... Smith really should have gotten the ball to the bottom WR (Mario on a curl route) or even better.. Crabtree over the middle on a slant. Alex actually had room to run where he was headed, but Boone didn't know what was happening behind him and didn't sustain the block that would have given Alex the lane he wanted to run through. I do see what Alex was admitting to the other day though. I think the Texans D had him playing a bit scared with the happy feet. Maybe it is the lack of the preseason impact? and not wanting to stand in and take more nasty hits for a meaningless game? That would be my guess.

All in all, we drove from the 25 to their 27 and lost 7 yards but ended up with a 50 yard FG. I'd be happy with 3 under these circumstances. Very happy.

So again, I see huge issues with the OL protecting and especially with sustaining blocks for more than 3 seconds all across the OL.

I thought Roman had a couple plays where we were set up for fail but I also saw him call a few deep shot guns and deep shot gun roll outs and quick outs and screens to buy more time for positive yards. Roman could clearly see that Alex was under heavy durress.

Alex's pre-snap reads were spot on especially given the constant pressure/hits/sacks and pre-snap confusing looks the Texans were giving (who's blitzing, who's not, movement, fakes, side overload, etc.). I saw some slow routes by receivers and not getting separation but also some good reads and coming back to the QB as well. Ginn/VD was again, Alex's main guy on 3rd down.

I did not see a single play where we could have even considered a deep ball (other than the one completed). It was a one (hot) read series, no doubt with the Texans D feeding in our backfield and playing relentless. Most pressures were with just a 4 man simple rush even with extra offensive guys in to block. The Texans did overload one side once; nice job on delayed blitzes too esp. in the middle. Most pressure was right up the gut with several guys and the outside pressure often times forced Alex to pull down and run into the blitz/middle pressure. The Texans were swarming and our OL couldn't sustain them at all over 3 seconds save for one play. They lived in our backfield. It would have been worse with Watts out there.

This was a microcasm of our offensive woes from last year...we just have more weapons now. But will we ever get to use them? Until this line can consistently sustain blocks for more than 3 seconds across the board, you will rarely see Alex look beyond the break-off routes under 10 yards. He just doesn't have the confidence in them, nor should he.

I would say pass protection would be my #1 concern going into the season, followed by separation by the WR's (drops), Roman's game plans/in-game adjustments and then Alex's execution being the 4th concern (if any at all).
[ Edited by NCommand on Aug 21, 2012 at 9:49 AM ]
Pretty good-looking stuff. I shall enjoy comparing this closely with what I have already done below in my play by play breakdown. Feel free to do the same and correct me on any slight differences. (I would do that now, but am trying to finish my 2nd quarter notes before lunch)
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Pretty good-looking stuff. I shall enjoy comparing this closely with what I have already done below in my play by play breakdown. Feel free to do the same and correct me on any slight differences. (I would do that now, but am trying to finish my 2nd quarter notes before lunch)

^^^ To make it easier for you/all of us, I added your analysis with mine, side-by-side hoping together, we can figure out where most of the issues are. Great stuff! ^^^
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Pretty good-looking stuff. I shall enjoy comparing this closely with what I have already done below in my play by play breakdown. Feel free to do the same and correct me on any slight differences. (I would do that now, but am trying to finish my 2nd quarter notes before lunch)

^^^ To make it easier for you/all of us, I added your analysis with mine, side-by-side hoping together, we can figure out where most of the issues are. Great stuff! ^^^

Thanks for that.. doing this made it especially helpful to compare. The biggest (and only, really) discrepancy I couldn't wrap my mind around was play # 2 on your list. Seems I felt Alex did and should have hit one of those two backs on short routes.. but you seem to think something else. I'll go back and take a long look.
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Pretty good-looking stuff. I shall enjoy comparing this closely with what I have already done below in my play by play breakdown. Feel free to do the same and correct me on any slight differences. (I would do that now, but am trying to finish my 2nd quarter notes before lunch)

^^^ To make it easier for you/all of us, I added your analysis with mine, side-by-side hoping together, we can figure out where most of the issues are. Great stuff! ^^^

Thanks for that.. doing this made it especially helpful to compare. The biggest (and only, really) discrepancy I couldn't wrap my mind around was play # 2 on your list. Seems I felt Alex did and should have hit one of those two backs on short routes.. but you seem to think something else. I'll go back and take a long look.

I was thinking the same thing!. I rewatched it and Miller was covered instantly as was Hunter. It looks like Alex instantly looked right to Crabtree who was covered and then came all the way back left to Miller (both blanket coverage). VD ran through one block and up the sideline but by that time Alex was already scrambling. He may have had a shot at Hunter but even he looked pretty well covered at the time Alex pulled down. It just didn't seem like Alex even had a chance that play. I rarely see him get through one progression let alone two before he's under duress but that's just my opinion.

I thought it was pretty neat to see the side-by-side analysis and how similar/spot on we were! I guess that's why they say, "I've gotta watch the tape!"
Originally posted by NCommand:
I was thinking the same thing!. I rewatched it and Miller was covered instantly as was Hunter. It looks like Alex instantly looked right to Crabtree who was covered and then came all the way back left to Miller (both blanket coverage). VD ran through one block and up the sideline but by that time Alex was already scrambling. He may have had a shot at Hunter but even he looked pretty well covered at the time Alex pulled down. It just didn't seem like Alex even had a chance that play. I rarely see him get through one progression let alone two before he's under duress but that's just my opinion.

I thought it was pretty neat to see the side-by-side analysis and how similar/spot on we were! I guess that's why they say, "I've gotta watch the tape!"

Haha, yeah... was glad the we weren't totally apples to patio furniture there! (but didn't expect to be)

Gonna check real soon, but I think maybe our definitions of "blanketed" may be the only hangup difference between our observations. Get back to you on that.
Originally posted by NCommand:
I was thinking the same thing!. I rewatched it and Miller was covered instantly as was Hunter. It looks like Alex instantly looked right to Crabtree who was covered and then came all the way back left to Miller (both blanket coverage).
Yeah, when you say covered, I imagine a defender draped ON the back of a receiving target. On this play (from my perspective), Alex has feet set... the OTs are clearly losing the battle, putting pressure on Alex.. but... Alex had both Hunter and Miller facing him with LBs "covering" (LB on Miller 1 yd behind him + Hunter's LB 1.5 yds behind him, but with a questionable passing window to squeeze it through to him with Iupati blocking his DL).

So ideally, I see a QB that probably should have thrown the ball to his FB at the 42 yd line. Of course, this would have been tackled immediately for no gain... but better that than to risk a sack and injury. Hard to blame Goodwin for allowing DT to sack Alex. Because Goodwin has to be expecting the ball to be passed, and isn't aware of Alex starting run from behind him.

*this is really just a twist of fate play... showing that football is remarkably fluid and chaotic. Had Goodwin continued to engage his block instead of giving a large shove to allow the DL to work his way toward Alex? Then Alex is off to the races for what appears to be a 3-5 yd gain before # 25 gets over to him.
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Originally posted by cciowa:
Originally posted by 49ersalldaway126:
Originally posted by BrianGO:
There were a lot of designed roll outs to the right. I don't know why on earth we run them. It causes instant pressure.

In the pocket, Iupati got beat on a swim move, Hunter got beat by a linebacker, but everything else was clean.

this

alex ran into 1 sack (i think it was the second 1) first one was a coverage sack

he did take a lot of hits but it was mainly due to roll outs

not concerned at all especially when we gameplan for blitz packages and all we will be fine
you are a good poster and i hope you are right but yes i have a very uneasy feeling in my stomach about this offensive line, esp when it comes to pass protection. the RG spot does not appear to be settled at all and I refuse to believe we will automatically be better because of the loss of two bums from last year


One bum, and one poor man.

I guarantee you the line will be epic improved this year. I challenge you to pick out the plays where Boone or Davis got beat after the snap. They haven't yet in the preseason. Staley has been clean too. Iupati had a hiccup and maybe Goodwin had one.
I am willing to eat the whole darn flock of crows on this one. The line will be very good this year.

How about a Flock of Seagulls?

I'm with you about this OL. They are most definitely improved especially in the run schemes, so solid even top five, IMO. The pass blocking does need some continued work, but we knew this. Since our forte is running the ball, that's a really good sign of things to come in the season. Most teams if not all, can't do what we do with the run game, so diverse it's scary. If Boone is playing like this already, it only bodes well for our team the same with Anthony Davis. Those pulls are something magical to behold at times where almost always we are at the second level with hands on LBs. Gotta love that.

I also see at times when our pass protection fails, but most of the time they're OK and need to get better. I think once this squad gets more playing time, we shall see more improvement. One thing I really like about our pass protection, Boone. The kid's a natural OT pass blocker so being in the middle now provides superior protection compared to Snyder or Rachal from the last two years. When he gets low enough in the middle, Boone uses his violent hands effectively against these DTs especially on third downs...at least what I saw.

Did anyone else notice this about Boone?

I likey our offensive line.
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Originally posted by NCommand:
I was thinking the same thing!. I rewatched it and Miller was covered instantly as was Hunter. It looks like Alex instantly looked right to Crabtree who was covered and then came all the way back left to Miller (both blanket coverage).
Yeah, when you say covered, I imagine a defender draped ON the back of a receiving target. On this play (from my perspective), Alex has feet set... the OTs are clearly losing the battle, putting pressure on Alex.. but... Alex had both Hunter and Miller facing him with LBs "covering" (LB on Miller 1 yd behind him + Hunter's LB 1.5 yds behind him, but with a questionable passing window to squeeze it through to him with Iupati blocking his DL).

So ideally, I see a QB that probably should have thrown the ball to his FB at the 42 yd line. Of course, this would have been tackled immediately for no gain... but better that than to risk a sack and injury. Hard to blame Goodwin for allowing DT to sack Alex. Because Goodwin has to be expecting the ball to be passed, and isn't aware of Alex starting run from behind him.

*this is really just a twist of fate play... showing that football is remarkably fluid and chaotic. Had Goodwin continued to engage his block instead of giving a large shove to allow the DL to work his way toward Alex? Then Alex is off to the races for what appears to be a 3-5 yd gain before # 25 gets over to him.

I thought the same thing re: Hunter. Miller seemed covered and basically a no gainer on that one but Hunter had a chance if thrown to instantly (then again maybe the time it took to catch it, he's dropped instantly too by the defender).

So good call...think maybe the focus needs to be on not only creating a pocket, blocking awareness but key to all of this is maintaining the blocks through the whistle. These guys seem to be blocking for 2 or 3 seconds t most and then it's just a mad scramble to who gets to Alex first. It was nice to see Alex read from right to left on that play though even if there wasn't much there.

And like you said, I don't fault Goodwin but had he stayed with his block it might buy just enough time for Alex to run/throw (and room to run) and/or allow Hunter to ad lib like he and Alex did against the Eagles. "Fluid & Chaotic" is a perfect tone to Alex's pocket on a regular basis too and it has me worried...naturally.

Thank YOU very much for putting in your objective time and perspectives; hope ppl appreciate it as much as I do and to whomeam for posting the games up for fans here so they can do their own analysis/draw their own conclusions.
Originally posted by ninertico:

Did anyone else notice this about Boone?

Definitely. Still don't want to crown him (not saying you are) until we see him against some of the best (since Williams was out vs Vikings and Watt was out vs Texans), but I think we will be much upgraded at RG now. Boone's the nasty OL that you want, and has natural strength to anchor or drive block.
Originally posted by NCommand:

Thank YOU very much for putting in your objective time and perspectives; hope ppl appreciate it as much as I do and to whomeam for posting the games up for fans here so they can do their own analysis/draw their own conclusions.

It's what I live for. Only wish the Niners would hire me to work for them. (not that I am flawless, but I try hard for FREE)
Originally posted by oldman9er:
Originally posted by NCommand:

Thank YOU very much for putting in your objective time and perspectives; hope ppl appreciate it as much as I do and to whomeam for posting the games up for fans here so they can do their own analysis/draw their own conclusions.

It's what I live for. Only wish the Niners would hire me to work for them. (not that I am flawless, but I try hard for FREE)

And if you need an assistant? Just say'n...