A pretty interesting debate came up during my last post, namely how to grade offensive linemen. My personal opinion is that grading on the same play limits the variables that influence a offensive lineman’s performance, i.e. getting beat on a long developing play is less damning than on a short play, getting beat on 1st and 5 is different than getting beat on 3rd and 5 etc. etc. However I can see the other side of the coin that says it’s more important to factor in who the linemen are blocking. Obviously blocking Erik Walden doesn’t mean as much as blocking Clay Matthews. I will say I see both sides of the argument and in an effort to analyze left tackle David Bakhtiari more, I’ve decided to run another “Word Of Muth” style article this time showing him giving up a sack in the 2nd preseason game against the St. Louis Rams.
The Packers are just outside the redzone on 3rd and 5 at the Rams 22 and are obviously are looking for the touchdown. The Packers come out in a 311 package (3WR-1TE-1RB) with tight end Jermichael Finley lined up inline next to left tackle David Bakhtiari and running back Eddie Lacy lined up to the right of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As we are again focusing on offensive line play, all that’s really important is that Bakhtiari is lined up against Robert Quinn and Don Barclay is lined up against Chris Long. While Lacy ultimately chips Chris Long, Finley immediately goes out on his route and therefore is not important to the blocking scheme.
Interestingly, Bakhtiari has chosen to start with a very tall 2-point stance; compare the location of Bakhtiari’s helmet to Barclay’s (they are both listed at 6’4″) to get an idea what I’m talking about. Obviously the taller a linemen starts, the less power from their legs they are able to generate, so either this is simply a mistake on Bakhtiari or he’s confused/worried about something and has popped his head up to see what’s going on.
With his assignment being Quinn lined up at the wide 9 technique (basically heads up from Jermichael Finley), Bakhtiari knows he has to kick out hard in order to meet Quinn before he gets enough depth to flatten out and head straight for the quarterback. My initial impression is that Bakhtiari is expecting a full on speed rush, which in my opinion is a logical conclusion; it’s 3rd and 5, Quinn lined up at the wide 9 and has good speed to turn the corner.