After (Film) Review: Offensive Line

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 29, 2011 – 6:19 am

We’re going to debut a weekly feature here on the Blog today called “Weekly Review.” The day after each Vikings game, I’ll watch film to focus on one aspect of the team and then provide a report here on the Blog. For the premier edition of After (Film) Review, we’ll focus on the offensive line.

With an off-day between Saturday’s game and the posting of this report, the Star Tribune’s Mark Craig beat me to the punch a little bit on analyzing the offensive line’s performance against the Cowboys. But it looks like we came to the same basic conclusion: the offensive line showed improvement. Specifically, the return of starting RG Anthony Herrera to the lineup was a big boost for the offensive line. While Craig was also complementary of LT Charlie Johnson, I was actually as impressed and maybe a touch more impressed with C John Sullivan.

For what it’s worth, we should temper somewhat the enthusiasm because this was just a preseason game and Dallas didn’t exactly come after the Vikings offense with a blitz-heavy attack. As 1500ESPN’s Tom Pelissero notes, Dallas “rushed more than four men three times in 18 dropback passes (16.7%) and rushed three on six occasions (33.3%), while the Vikings used at least one chip or extra protector eight times (44.4%), not including four bootleg plays.”

All in all, though, I thought the offensive line’s performance on Saturday was encouraging. This group has been much-maligned over the last 12 months, but I have a feeling that they will be much improved in 2011. Let’s get to a few specific examples of solid play from the first-team offensive line…

1st Offensive Series
– On the Vikings first 3rd-down play, Herrera pulled to take out LB Anthony Spencer and RT Phil Loadholt blocked to his inside and took out DE Igor Olshansky to open up a hole for Adrian Peterson to pickup 7 yards and the 1st down.
— On 3rd and 1 a few plays later, LT Charlie Johnson cleared out and sealed DE Kenyon Coleman and a pulling Steve Hutchinson finished off CB Orlando Scandrick to allow Peterson to pickup 5 yards and another 1st down.
— On the next play, McNabb went play-action fake to Peterson and was given a perfect pocket. This enabled WR Bernard Berrian time to make a double-move and run past the Dallas secondary. McNabb hit him in stride for a 49-yard TD.
— Totals for the drive: Peterson 5 carries, 29 yards; McNabb 2 for 2, 54 yards, TD)

2nd Offensive Series
– The Vikings picked up 13 yards on the first play of the series with a Percy Harvin reception, then on the second play of the series Peterson gained 9 yards on the ground. LT Charlie Johnson and TE Jeff Dugan double-teamed DE Jason Hatcher and FB Ryan D’Imperio and Harvin took care of Spencer, which gave Peterson room to dance around both James and Scandrick to gain 9 on the ground going wide left.
— On 2nd and 1, Sullivan handles NT Jay Ratliff long enough and Herrera seals off Olshansky so Peterson can cutback from the left to the right and pick up 5 yards and the 1st down.
— On 1st and 10 from the Minnesota 47-yardline, the Vikings featured a two-TE set. The line provided a solid pocket for McNabb, but the QB couldn’t find an open receiver, so he fled to the right and then found Berrian, who broke open and caught McNabb’s pass for a gain of 15 yards.
— Totals: Peterson 2 carries, 14 yards; McNabb 4 for 5, 37 yards)

3rd Offensive Series
On 2nd and 7 from the MN 17, McNabb changed the play at the line of scrimmage and the Vikings ran wide left with Peterson. TE Kyle Rudolph was just good enough to seal off LB Sean Lee and Sullivan got to the second level to block James from the play, which is ultimately why Peterson was able to dash forward for a 15-yard gain. Hutchinson pulled on the play to take out Elam.
— On 2nd and 10, Booker carried and went up the middle to gain 10 yards. Johnson sealed Spencer off immediately, Sullivan handled Ratliff, Hutchinson took care of Lee and Herrera came off his initial block to prevent James from making a stop early in the play.
— On 1st and 10 from the DAL 47, McNabb made his best throw of the night. McNabb was in the gun, with Booker and Kleinsasser in the backfield as protectors. McNabb rifled a pass into WR Michael Jenkins on a slant for a gain of 17. There was a nice pocket for McNabb and #5 got rid of the ball quickly. Preseason TV analyst Mike Mayock said: “For anyone who thinks that Donovan McNabb doesn’t have it (anymore), take a snapshot of this throw.”
— Totals: Peterson 2 carries, 18 yards; Booker 1 carry, 11 yards; McNabb 2 for 4, 25 yards, INT)

4th Offensive Series
– On the first play of the series, Peterson ran behind the LG for a 5-yard gain. Johnson and Kleinsasser combined for a kickout block on DE Sean Lissemore and Sullivan sealed NT Josh Brent out of the play.
— Peterson gained 3 yards on a pitch wide right. The play was actually blocked well, but OLB DeMarcus Ware chased the play down from the back end; he was intentionally left unblocked because the play was going to the opposite side. But that’s why Ware is a perennial Pro Bowler. However, this was the first time Ware was a factor in the game (5:00 to play in 1st half).
— Totals: Peterson 2 carries, 8 yards; McNabb 1 for 3, 6 yards.

5th Offensive Series
– McNabb hit Booker for a 12-yard gain on 1st down, but the Vikings went 3-and-out after that; gave up a sack on 2nd down.

End of 1st half: Vikings had 216 yards (157 for Dallas), 12 first downs (9 for Dallas) and 89 rushing yards (22 for Dallas).

6th Offensive Series
– On 3rd and 4 out of the gun formation, McNabb was protected great against a 4-man rush and he lofted a pass for Jenkins down the right side; Jenkins won the one-on-one matchup against CB Mario Butler to make the catch for a gain of 26 yards and the 1st down.
— Totals: Peterson 3 carries, 12 yards; McNabb 1 for 3, 26 yards

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “After (Film) Review: Offensive Line”

  1. By Alex Collyard on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    What a great idea for the blog Wobby. I love it. The only thing I would like to see is some details on when we weren’t so good and what happened. Like what the O-Line was doing during the INT and what happened to allow the sack. Do you think you could be more balanced for the coming “After Review”‘s? I’m excited to see them anyway!

  2. By Mike Wobschall on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Yes, good point. This will not be a “positives” only feature. It was this week because I spent so much time early talking about Herrera’s return. In the future, though, it’ll be an objective look that points out negatives and positives.

  3. By Carl K on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    I hope the Vikings continue to run some play action on 1st down and take some deep shots down field to Berrian.

    Nothing wrong with throwing the ball on first down. Nothing wrong with letting AP run the ball on 3rd down. Peterson can take it to the house on any play at any time.

    Mike thanks for the film break down. I like it. I am excited that Musgraves’ new offence seems less predictable and may have a wrinkle of surprise. Watching our play makers this year should be a blast. Taking some of the predictability out of the game helps our O-line get that extra half step head start that is needed. Great job O-line!

  4. By Ekolu on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    The OLine played really well. John Sullivan is beginning to look and play like a big time center. Herrera seemed to provide some needed power in the middle, Johnson was solid, and Hutch looks like he’s in the best shape of his career, not only dominating in the middle, but he pulling all over the place.

  5. By Steve monastero on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Someone PLEASE get in contact with leslie frazer and tell him to pick up andre gurode ! We need a center and he just got cut . PICK HIM UP !!!

  6. By Skol_Vikes98 on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    @ Carl
    I was actually a little disappointed at the Vikes refusal to run on third and short. I think it cost us points.

  7. By James on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    The Vikings need to pick up Andre Gurode. You can not pass up on this guy. He’s too good of a player. Bring him in!!!!!

  8. By CA Norwegian on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    If McKinnie makes it back, does anyone second guess? I think he could of been pretty good at goal line defense with all those lbs.

  9. By campfrazier on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Excellent Job Wobby, I agree lets see what happened on the bad plays, its all good! The Oline performed pretty darn good and they deserve some credit, but lets not forget Jeff Davidson-Oline coach, 3 SB Rings.

  10. By Boosted01 on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    It was nice seeing peterson get more carries. He picks up good yardage nearly every carry. I agree we should take more chances on 3rd downs with peterson, hes a beast. The deep bombs to Berrian makes me nervous, even though it was a pretty catch. I feel we are in the rite direction, peterson is obviously the foundation of our offense. I think carmillo has sound hands, maybe he should get his number called more often. All in all, I feel like the cowboys game was more of a win then a loss.

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