I was on twitter yesterday and I was reading some of the tweets about the post game reaction to the Tennessee Titans game against the Buffalo Bills.
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Jurrell Casey is great: check.
Marcus Mariota is still very good: check.
Derrick Morgan is one of the more underrated pass rushers in the league: check.
The Tennessee Titans have the number one pass defense in the league per game: Che- wait, what? Alright I can see that I guess, they have been very stout in general and outright dominant give or take some bombs in 3rd and long situations, so check.
Jeremiah Poutasi is graded out with a massive 2.1 grade against Mario Williams in that pass rush: huh? Not only that but he is the top rated starting rookie offensive tackle according to PFF: alight, I have to check this out.
So I decided to break down the game and look at what Poutasi did on a play-by-play basis. So brace yourself for a 68 play breakdown figuring out why the rookie was so good.
I am going to grade them on a simple, plus, minus and push scale.
1. Poutasi cut blocks Mario Williams which takes him out of the passing lane that clears the way for Marcus Mariota’s first completion. Plus.
2. Poutasi again cuts, this time the victim is Kyle Williams. Titans run in the gap that he clears out and the Titans have an 8-yard run. Plus.
3. This time he uses one arm to keep the defensive end from crashing backside then moves to the next level and walls off a defender. Another good play. Plus.
4. The video breaks up but Poutasi walls off Williams again and Antonio Andrews gains 15 on a short pass. Push because video cuts out.
5. Poutasi moves to the second level on a reverse to Kendall Wright, but he really gets stuck in no man’s land and doesn’t touch anyone which leads to a busted play. This is his first bad play. Minus.
6. This time it is a run behind him and he puts his hands on Preston Brown and drives him out. Brown tries to disengage but Poutasi runs his feet and pounds him back for more yards which opens up a longer run. Plus.
7. Kick step here in pass protection and Mario Williams takes the inside here. Poutasi caves that down the line and Mariota pulls the ball and runs it for 8 on 3rd and 10. Not a great play because I think that made Mariota move out of the pocket, but the way he set it was the only way he could keep pressure off of the quarterback. Push.
8. Another cut play which gives Dexter McCluster room to run, but he gets stuffed from another gap. Plus.
9. Williams takes the outside and Poutasi runs him to keep him from making a play backside. Plus.
10. Poutasi locks up with Williams and keeps his body in perfect position the entire play without losing strength, really nice pass protection. Plus.
11. Poutasi gets help from the tight end here with a chip, though I don’t think he needed it. Really didn’t do anything on this dropped pass from Harry Douglas. Push.
12. Naked bootleg from Mariota here. Poutasi caves down the edge, but easy to do on this play so can’t give him a ton of credit. Push.
13. Jumps inside and pops the blitzing linebacker stopping him in his tracks. Smart play knowing the protection and where he was needed. Plus.
14. Walls Corbin Bryant off and keeps him from making a play on the backside. Plus.
15. Zone run to the right that gets stopped backside, but Poutasi gets to the second level and makes meaningful contact with the linebacker. Plus.
16. Williams tries to put a move on Poutasi but no dice. Poutasi keeps his shoulders square and neutralizes the All-Pro. Plus.
17. Gets beaten here on an inside swim move that gets picked up by the RG. Minus.
18. Poutasi almost makes a great play here. Sprints to the next level, but misses a linebacker on the move who comes in and makes the tackle. Would have given the runner about eight more yards. Minus.
19. Kick steps and Mario Williams eventually rushes the edge after slowing the tight end, but gets stunned by great hands from Poutasi. Plus.
20. Runs Williams out of the pocket on a pass set. Again, strong hands from Poutasi to knock him off of his rush path. Plus.
21. Runs a two man combination block with the right guard and gets to the second level. No real impact though. Push.
22. Again, great hands. Locks onto Williams and doesn’t lose an anchor in pass protection. At this point you have to understand that Williams is a great power rusher and usually at this point he has won a matchup where he squares up with an offensive lineman. Good showing by the rook so far. Plus.
23. Baits Williams into rushing on a screen then when the ball is out, he pops Williams mid air and puts him on the ground. Definitely has some nasty in him. Plus.
24. Gets to the second level and walls off a linebacker, but the run is caught from the backside. Had the play set up for a nice gash here. Plus.
25. Quick pass set, he and Meredith (right guard) deal with an x-stunt on the backside but it wouldn’t have mattered anyone with how quick that ball gets out. Push.
26. Quick cut that doesn’t take out Williams but slows his rush. Definition of a push.
27. Locks Williams down again. Plus.
28. Quick run to the other side where Poutasi cuts off Williams again, but no big impact. Push.
29. More quick pass sets from the Titans here. Williams gets walled off enough though to where I can’t imagine he would have beaten Poutasi even on a 5/7 step drop. Plus
30. Again another great bait-and-punch on a screen pass. This is why the Titans have a new screen game that works. Plus.
31. Very interesting play here. Supposed to be a run to the left, McCluster comes back, Poutasi’s downfield block opens up a cutback lane on a nice first down run for eight. Plus.
32. Love these cuts from Poutasi. Since he is so big and throws his body the correct way, Williams always ends up on the ground which is why the speed element of his pass rush is gone. Smart coaching executed effectively. Plus.
33. Gross play here. Poutasi thinks that the outside linebacker isn’t blitzing or that there was a line shift to the left and he ignores Mario Williams. The running back picks up the linebacker instead of Williams and he gets a clean sack. Minus.
34. Quick pass to Kendall Wright. Push.
35. No one lines up one Poutasi and he has no one to block, but he doesn’t find someone to hit either. Push.
36. Quick set that neutralizes any pass rush from Williams. Plus.
37. No rush here from the edge. Push.
38. Good punch here on the inside shoulder of Williams. Pushes him off his path. Plus.
39. Should have been a draw up the middle that bounces outside. Push.
40. Smart play by Poutasi to pick up the blitzing linebacker. Should have been an 8-ish yard completion but Delanie Walker drops it. Plus.
41. Strong hands locks down Nigel Bradham who just quits. Plus.
42. Patient kick slide from Poutasi where he turns his shoulders at the last second and doesn’t freak out early in his set when Mario Williams is trying to scream from a wide technique. Plus.
43. Screen pass where Sankey cuts it back inside and Poutasi is locks out Williams and then looks for the ball, but misses Williams on the second effort. Push.
44. Mario Williams stunts inside and Poutasi puts him on Meredith (who loses) and does a good job on the blitzing linebacker. Plus.
45. Does the same thing again, this time pushing the blitizing linebacker to the Meredith and picking up Williams. Rex Ryan is trying to confuse him but it isn’t working. Plus.
46. Hand fights with Mario Williams and wins, which is crazy considering his leverage and strength. Very good job here keeping his feet and hands in sync. Plus.
47. Good job taking Williams off of Meredith and pushing him even farther away from Mariota. Plus.
48. Poutasi pushes Corbin Bryant four yards deep in the endzone. Great drive from him. Plus.
49. Poutasi buries his man and leaves a hole for Antonio Andrews to leap into the endzone. Great job. Plus.
50. Run to the left, no impact. Push.
51. Same as the last play. Push.
52. Marcus Mariota is a genius. Sees the overload blitz coming so he shifts the line towards the blitz. Alright that’s good, but then he motions the tight end back into the backfield to send him at the other outside blitzer he sees presnap and gets a clean pocket that leads to a first down. Such a good play. Poutasi picks up the blitz and keeps that smart adjusting from being in vain. Plus.
53. Overload blitz here right in the gap where the Titans were running. Ends up being a gain, but Poutasi really didn’t do good or bad. Push.
54. Good pass pro, squares up with Williams and prevents his rush. Plus.
55. Muddled blitz on the right side but no one gets to Mariota. Push.
56. Mariota keeps it here and runs for 22, but if he had handed it off, it was blocked well enough to get four or five thanks to a good fit from Poutasi. Plus.
57. No rush. Push.
58. Again, Poutasi gets to the second level like a missile, but misses his man. Minus.
59. The right side sells an outside run fake to pull the linebacker and Williams out of the play and neither do anything. Push.
60. Hand fought with Kyle Williams who is more athletic than Mario, cleared him inside which I have to call a win. Plus.
61. Stones an outside blitzer which lets Mariota throw a nice, seven yard pass to the outside. Plus.
62. No rush. Push.
63. Solid double team neutralizes the edge rush. Plus.
64. Mariota keeps, but again Poutasi does a good job stone walling Mario Williams. Plus.
65. Poutasi stalks Williams after a good block from Anthony Fasano. Makes sure he won’t get the sack on second effort. Plus.
66. Meredith gets bulldozed and forces the running back to cut back, but Poutasi did a good job getting to his man and blocking. Plus.
67. Nice cut that should have led to a good screen but it was sniffed out by Jerry Hughes. Push.
68. Rocks Mario Williams on the last play of the game in pass protection. Plus.
That was long, but here is the final result:
Plus plays: 43
Push plays: 20
Minus plays: 5
That is a really strong game by the rookie and this looked like a great game to build off of. If Chance Warmack is available this week, then this offensive line could look really good by the end of that game. No matter what though, when you really look at his plays and not just some mental errors he has made, it is easy to see why he is the highest rated starting rookie tackle according to PFF.