View Full Version : Grading the O-Line

09-26-2007, 11:58 PM
Grading the O-Line: Great Stats Hide Some Problems (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/09/26/grading-the-o-line-great-stats-hide-some-problems/)

http://www.aolcdn.com/fanhouse/jj-cooper/ (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/bloggers/jj-cooper/)

Posted Sep 26th 2007 8:48PM by JJ Cooper (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/bloggers/jj-cooper/)
Filed under: Steelers (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/category/pittsburgh-steelers/), AFC North (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/category/afc-north/), Pittsburgh (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/category/pittsburgh/)
http://www.blogsmithmedia.com/sports.aol.com/fanhouse/media/2007/09/alan-faneca-grading-line-49ers.jpgEach week I go back and rewatch the Steelers game to take a look at which offensive linemen starred and who left Willie Parker and Ben Roethlisberger on their back. You can see the reports from throughout the season here (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/tag/Gradingtheoffensiveline/).

Quick Summary

Alan Faneca had his roughest game in quite a while, and fellow guard Kendall Simmons also struggled, but tackles Marvel Smith and Willie Colon have been steady as the Steelers piled up plenty of yards, but actually struggled a little more than you would expect against a good 49ers defense. Sometimes I wonder if I'm grading these things too harshly, but I'm trying to account for every bad block, which makes it much easier to rack up minus plays than plus plays (which are only rewarded for outstanding blocks).


The Steelers gave up two sacks, although the scheme could be blamed for one of them. Facing a blitzing 3-4 defense much like their own, Pittsburgh occasionally asked its guards to pull outside to pick up outside linebackers. As Indianapolis found out when facing the Steelers in the 2005 playoffs, asking a 320-pound guard to beat a speedy linebacker to the corner doesn't work out that well. Kendall Simmons couldn't handle it as Hannibal Navies beat him for a sack early in the game. Simmons also played a part in the other sack as he failed to pick up blitzing safety Michael Lewis. But while Lewis managed to get a hand on Roethlisberger, he wouldn't have gotten the sack if Sean Mahan and Alan Faneca hadn't botched a double team on Marques Douglas. Both of them started blocking Douglas, but they both then looked to their outside because they thought the other lineman would keep blocking him. Given a free pass to the quarterback Douglas cleaned up for half a sack.

LINK (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/category/nfl/)

09-27-2007, 12:16 AM
I would give the Steelers O-line a grade A. First of all they have allowed Willie to enjoy enough running room to lead the league in rushing after the first 3 weeks. Second, they have a tough assignment in pass blocking for Ben because he is not a quarterback who stays in the pocket. Sometimes Ben improvises when its not necessary and he also holds onto the ball too long at times. Ben has shown some glimpses of wisdom by throwing the ball away a couple times this year which in years past he would force the ball and throw interceptions. Considering that a lot of us on this site thought that the O-line was perhaps this teams biggest question mark, I am pleasantly surprised by what I have seen thus far. Let me also add that we are definitely benefitting from an early season soft schedule as well. There will be tougher tests in the future for us but so far so good! :clap:


black an gold 4 life
09-27-2007, 01:11 AM
our o-line i give them an b- only because they gave up 2 sacks ,but with that being said they r gonna have 2 have one of there best performances of the year because russ knows them so well,an i believe that dick knows russ well this will b an game decided on who makes the least mistakes, i'm not worried about the recievers because our d-b's r playing great this year, so here's 2 our steelers kicking the shiat out the cards HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO

09-27-2007, 06:59 AM
At this point I'd give them a solid B. I think there is still a lot of room for improvement. Ben has been running away from pressure more than he'd probably like and there have been more than a few times when defenders were in the backfield to stuff the run before it even got going.

Having said that, they are improving every week and Willie is getting more and more comfortable so I like the direction they are headed in as a group. They need to stay healthy and keep playing together and the sky will be the limit.

Just my 2 cents on the starting 5..

Faneca - his pass blocking seems to be a bit spotty right now but that could also be because he's working beside a new Center so it takes time to get familiar with your sidekick.

Marvel Smith - as solid as ever IMO, he's been a good bulldozer for Willie and overall has done a decent job keeping pressure away from Ben's blind side

Mahan - still finding himself. He's been beaten up the middle and several of Parkers runs right up the middle have been stuffed. He'll get better but it takes time to be a center on our OL.

Kenall Simmons - again a good run blocker, pass blocking is a bit spotty. He's let some DL or LB's get through to the backfield. Like Faneca, it takes times to work with a new center but I feel good about him overall.

Colon: really starting to find himself in the running game and doing a good job. He's let some pass rushers get through to Ben or get after Willie before he gets started but overall he generally follows up a bad play with a few back to back good ones. He's definitely on the rise.