One of the best football writers out there is Ben Muth; many people claim not to know much about offensive line play, but this man obviously is not one of them. If you don’t follow or read his stuff, stop reading this article and head over there now, you’ll thank me later. In a little bit of a homage, I’ve decided to do a “Word of Hobbes” on the Packers preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals. I choose Aaron Rodgers’ 50 yard bomb to James Jones not because it was a big play, but because Rodger’s held on to the ball longer than he probably should have, thus forcing the offensive linemen to hold their blocks a lot longer, which exposes technique and athleticism.
The Packers are in a 3-1-1 personnel group (3 WR-1TE-1RB), although since we are looking at offensive tackle play this is largely unimportant; perhaps the most important thing to note about the receivers is that neither the tight end nor the running back are responsible for any blocking assignment, both immediately go out on their routes without chipping or really trying to influence the defensive line. So for all intents and purposes this is a straight 5 OL vs 4 DL battle. As this is the preseason, you aren’t going to see many complicated stunts or exotic blitzes, so really it’s a 1 on 1 battle with rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari vs. Matt Shaughnessy and right tackle Marshall Newhouse vs. Calais Campbell. Also keep in mind Newhouse has the bigger issue on his hands as Campbell is a considerably better pass rusher than Shaughnessy and is also huge at 6’8″
Immediately after the snap Campbell goes for a swim move, and Newhouse makes matters worse by completely whiffing on his initial punch with his right arm (which you can see is at Campbell’s left arm instead of on his frame). Shaughnessy on the other hand opts to go with a pure speed pass rush, either hoping to outrun or outturn Bakhtiari to the quarterback. However Bakhtiari easily matches Shaughnessy with his kick slide. Also notice how much lower Bakhtiari and how much more his hips are sinked compared to Newhouse, who due to his whiffed punch now is up close with Campbell