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State of the Offensive Line

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So after five games, what is your take on the topic? This was one of the biggest question marks heading into the season and I'm not exactly sure what to make of it. These tweets from McCusick today stood out to me:

 

And it's hard to dispute that. The line isn't exactly not working, but it feels like there's a lot to be done to make it better. Hurst needs to go back inside. Surprisingly Skura hasn't been awful. Except in the Bengals game (on a short week where most of the team/offense was bad along with him). He, Stanley, and Yanda seem to be safe in their roles.

Lewis has not been impressive in my eyes. I've never been a huge fan of his and that might mean I'm biased, but Hurst was a lot better at LG last year than Alex is now. I don't think it's close either. To me Lewis should be the super sub along the line with a lineup of Stanley - Hurst - Skura - Yanda - Brown Jr. starting. I'm not confident that Orlando will get on the field any time soon but I hope so. Running to the right behind a wall of Yanda and Brown Jr. could get things started on the ground again. 

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5 weeks in and had we just gone with Hurst at LG and Brown at RT from the beginning, we'd probably be in the same position we're in right now, only with a much better LG and maybe the same level of play from the RT.

If we were afraid to throw Brown out there because he's a rookie and thought Hurst would be better, why do we spend so much time having Yanda help him? Brown clearly has a higher ceiling than Hurst at RT, and Hurst clearly has a higher ceiling than Lewis at LG. I just don't understand it.

Furthermore, it just seems like all of our concepts from last year died with Jensen leaving, which is just strange. Maybe we just need to get another mauler at C and everything will work? Idk.

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i'll give credit to Skura, he has been much better then i anticipated. struggles against the Bengals interior DLine, especially Atkins, are expected.

i mean, he currently leads the league in sacks and is HOF bound if he keeps it up.

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I wrote it many many times after last season. The reason we had such a "great" oline late last year was because we used a lot of ressourcers to help it. Protection with 2 tight ends or a full back, constant chipping instead of having tight ends receivers flexed out wide to spread the field, running backs chipping or blocking instead of running routes etc.

Its the same this year and in some games it will hinder the offense as it did yesterday.

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25 minutes ago, Danand said:

I wrote it many many times after last season. The reason we had such a "great" oline late last year was because we used a lot of ressourcers to help it. Protection with 2 tight ends or a full back, constant chipping instead of having tight ends receivers flexed out wide to spread the field, running backs chipping or blocking instead of running routes etc.

Its the same this year and in some games it will hinder the offense as it did yesterday.

I mean but last year we at least ran the ball well. This year we have an "upgraded" OL and we're objectively worse at everything.

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Honestly if LT is BPA in next draft I wouldn’t be opposed to moving Stanley to a new position 

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Yea this is starting to become a trend that might be something that Decosta hopefully looks at and says it’s time to move on from Harbaugh. I understood to an extent not starting brown over hurst in the beginning because hurst has more knowledge but when Lewis has been struggling and you know hurst can play well at LG which is on of the reason you resigned him and you can play Brown who arguably outplayed Hurst at RT I feel like that’s a no brainer. Harbaugh has a thing for the veterans which I guess I understand but sometimes the more talented player should be allowed to start Young, Bowser , Williams, Brown, Andrews, Snead should all get more play time period

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9 hours ago, RavensFC said:

Yea this is starting to become a trend that might be something that Decosta hopefully looks at and says it’s time to move on from Harbaugh. I understood to an extent not starting brown over hurst in the beginning because hurst has more knowledge but when Lewis has been struggling and you know hurst can play well at LG which is on of the reason you resigned him and you can play Brown who arguably outplayed Hurst at RT I feel like that’s a no brainer. Harbaugh has a thing for the veterans which I guess I understand but sometimes the more talented player should be allowed to start Young, Bowser , Williams, Brown, Andrews, Snead should all get more play time period

Welcome to the forum. My take on this is actually a little different now that I’ve had time to think on this. I agree that Alex Lewis is certainly the weakest link along the offensive line and making the Hurst switch makes the most sense for this season especially.

But one good reason for Harbaugh to not yet make that switch is the many away games that we’re starting the season with. Offensive lines who don’t communicate are generally the worst ones; they’re the most penalized and they miss blocks.

Hurst has been pretty darn good at pass blocking this season to this point. He’s had help, but he’s also had some really talented draws and if we think most OL aren’t getting help against top notch rushers like Von Miller than we’re sorely mistaken.

With Brown that’s going to be his weakest area. Which is going to result in more penalties for loss yardage, potentially on big plays and more communication errors when dealing in heavy locales on the road.

If we make the switch over to him, I’m thinking we’ll likely do it right around our bye week. We have more home games coming to end the season and it’ll give him an extra week in practice for both guys making the switch to gell within the starting unit (at those respective positions). Then after that we’ve got 2 home games for them to get acclimated in their communication before taking that onto the road. Also being this far into the season, Brown has gotten chances to take live snaps in jumbo packages for experience and also more time within the playbook and in what the calls are.

So my projection for when we should expect Brown to takeover, pending a monumental line collapse, would be the bye week. He’ll definitely give the team a boost in our run blocking for sure.

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15 hours ago, DontTazeMeBro said:

Honestly if LT is BPA in next draft I wouldn’t be opposed to moving Stanley to a new position 

Honestly at this point I'd be okay with just letting Stanley walk after his rookie contract expires if LT comes up as BPA in the draft for us. He can't stay healthy, and even when he rarely does he's not that good.

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1 hour ago, AFlaccoSeagulls said:

Wouldn't this come back around to the idea that if we're going to such great lengths to protect our RT, why would we not then upgrade our LG and keep putting that protection into Orlando Brown Jr. instead of James Hurst?

Yeah. Either Brown Jr. isn't practicing well or this is another case of the team having reluctance to play a certain young player. 

Meant to add the previous OL reports from McKusick earlier too:

Week 1: https://russellstreetreport.com/2018/09/12/filmstudy/offensive-line-scoring-bills-2018/

Week 2: https://russellstreetreport.com/2018/09/16/filmstudy/ol-not-as-awful-vs-cincy-as-advertised/

Week 3: https://russellstreetreport.com/2018/09/26/filmstudy/ravens-block-it-up-get-tricky-vs-den/

Week 4: https://russellstreetreport.com/2018/10/03/filmstudy/lamar-jackson-third-down/

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