Lance Zierlein

The Smash Mouth

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Shady Shakedown

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


The NFL continues to move in the direction of the passing game, with Week 1 featuring five more touchdown passes than any other week in league history. However, one of the headline stories of the first week was the offense of Chip Kelly in Philadelphia and affirmation that LeSean McCoy is going to be "that guy" this year. Shady's talent plus Kelly's spread scheme will equal big yards and points. Let's take a look back at what happened last week and what I see happening this week.

Moving the Sticks

For all the love that San Francisco's offensive line gets (and deserves), they had major issues getting push against Green Bay's big defensive line. Johnny Jolly makes the Packers a much better run defense.

Texans LT Duane Brown struggled worse than I've seen him struggle over the last three years. Chargers OLB Dwight Freeney proved to Brown that he still has something left in the tank.

Chip Kelly's willingness to move his tackles from side to side and change alignment was fun to watch. Kelly found about three different ways to block for his outside zone plays, which shows defenses that he will be able to adjust on the fly.

After his initial 78-yard touchdown, Adrian Peterson ran 17 times for 15 yards. The Lions' defensive front is not going to be fun to play against this year, and the same goes for the Panthers'.

The Big 5 Matchups

1. Eagles run game vs. Chargers - The Chargers get one less day to prepare for Chip Kelly's newly unveiled offense. Even with two extra weeks it wouldn't matter here.

2. Doug Martin vs. Saints - Martin is going to get his carries and this time the going will be much easier than against the Jets. A shootout is possible, which makes it that much better for Martin owners.

3. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Oakland - The Jaguars know they need to run it more effectively and consistently, and they should be able to do just that against this Raiders run defense.

4. Green Bay Offense vs. Washington - The Packers' line played better than expected against the 49ers, and should do okay with the run game against Washington. The Packers' pass protection should help up which means Aaron Rodgers will torture the Redskins' safeties.

5. Carolina run game vs. Bills - The Patriots ran it with success against the Bills and Carolina will find the going much easier after facing Seattle's speedy front seven.

Three Offensive Lines in Trouble

1. Seattle Seahawks - Seattle had all kinds of issues against the physical front of the Panthers and San Francisco will bring at least as much to the table. Seattle will likely have to rely on pass protection because they won't be able to run.

2. San Diego Chargers - The Chargers' offensive line performed better than I expected against the Texans, but look out here. The Eagles could jump out quickly and force San Diego into a pass-heavy offense. I don't think the Chargers can hold up against the blitz packages of the Eagles.

3. Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys take on a Chiefs team that can bring major heat off the edge with OLBs Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, and Dontari Poe is turning into a monster on the interior. Bad news for Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray.

Pass Pro Problems from Week 1

I'm the son of an offensive line coach so I understand that linemen generally get too much of the blame when things go wrong and not enough of the credit when things go right. I love to bring attention to offensive linemen who are doing well, but I also have to keep it fair with a look at which offensive linemen struggle from week to week.

According to data collected by STATS Ice and my own proprietary pass protection metric, here are the seven linemen who struggled the most in pass protection this week. Keep in mind that all linemen are graded from the same criteria and on the same point scale, but pass protection is always harder for tackles than it is for interior linemen.

PlayerPosTeamSacksPressures (hurries/hits)Penalty YardsPass Pro Score (100 point scale)
Levi Brown T ARI 3 6 10 61.70
Oniel Cousins G CLE 1.5 3 33 69.15
Mitchell Schwartz T CLE 2 8   69.60
Ricky Wagner T BAL 2.5 4   73.05
Dan Connolly G NE 2 3 5 76.60
Chris Snee G NYG 2 4 0 76.80
Will Rackley G JAX 2 3   78.60



Levi Brown was just physically outmatched by Rams DE Robert Quinn and the same could be said for Mitchell Schwartz's matchup against Cameron Wake. The Dolphins offer a rugged interior line on defense and Oniel Cousins found that out. It's hard to win games when the right side of your line struggles the way that Cleveland's struggled. While Levi Brown will always have difficulty matching up against a defensive end with the edge speed of Quinn, Schwartz will continue to get better and should improve as the season progresses.

FanDuel's Week 1 $100,000 league was so popular to kick off the season that two leagues were filled, and FanDuel upped it to $200,000 this week. Here's the link to the Week 2 contest.

Week 2 FanDuel.com Value Picks

QBs

Michael Vick - $8100
Russell Wilson - $8100

RBs

Maurice Jones-Drew - $7500
DeAngelo Williams - $6500

WRs

Julian Edelman - $6400
DeSean Jackson - $5700



Lance Zierlein is sports talk show host on KMBE 790 AM in Houston, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @lancezierlein.
Email :Lance Zierlein



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