2020 Pats: OL-la-di, OL-la-da, Life Goes On, Scar!

SeoulSoxFan

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With Cam at the helm, the OL play this year is as critical as ever. After week 1, love watching clips like this:

View: https://twitter.com/ezlazar/status/1306749616667480065?s=20


Onwenu lost weight and gained a lot of nastiness back, it seems. A lot of credit goes to Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo, the new OL coaching duo. The entire line played great along with the rookie RT:

Offensive PFF Grades:
  • Shaq Mason (RG): 89.2
  • Joe Thuney (LG): 82.3
  • David Andrews (C): 80.4
  • Isaiah Wynn (LT): 78.4
  • Michael Onwenu (OL): 75.4
  • Jermaine Eluemunor: 75.2
It's no surprise that New England's offensive line ranked at the top of the grading scale after one week. Mason had the second-best grade out of any guard in the league, Thuney (5th) and Andrews (5th) were top five at their respective positions, and Wynn managed to crack the top 10 at tackle, grading 10th best.

The offensive line dominated at the line of scrimmage, which allowed Cam Newton (68.2 overall grade), J.J. Taylor (71.4), Sony Michel (69.3), Rex Burkhead (63.1) and James White (57.5) to combine for 271 rushing yards, which is the most of any team through one week of the regular season.
 

SMU_Sox

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Well, crap I don't mean to double post but I just saw this and I posted about Onwenu in a different thread. I also just finished my Pats review and came away with similar glowing notes.

Holy shit can Onwenu move people. On that first Sony run for 7 yards he blows up two people including tossing E-Rob (yes our former LB) and he goes FLYING. Onwenu gets in the way too which is not his fault but slows Sony down just a tick. Obviously 7 yards is a successful play but it might have been a 10-15 yarder if not for that - of course if he doesn't have to stay in to block both people Sony might be hit for a 2 yard gain so YMMV.

Onwenu on the 3rd and 1 (same drive) gets E-Rob again. He basically takes him from the strongside TE spot all the way to right tackle. He is NASTY. He is mean. He does not quit on blocks.

When he is RT he has the similar success moving DLs. He had some issues in pass pro as a RT which led to a hurry, Cam Tripping, and a sack, but he didn't play LT or RT at Michigan so expect some growing pains there. And in other RT snaps in pass pro he looks really good. He's busy too - he gets the award for successfully blocking the most guys per play. He can get to the second level quickly as well as outside on end-arounds. I was impressed! He didn't just look OK as an RT he had some genuinely great moments there. Look, Onwenu was one of my guys going into this thing but not even in my wildest dreams would I have said that he could play RT effectively. Take for example Taylor's 11 yard run. He sealed off Ogbah to spring Taylor free like it was nothing. After that first sack in which Newton trips he had a fine day in pass pro.

Onwenu can lineup as a TE, has 3 years of starting RG experience, and now looks like he is on his way to being able to play RT at at least an average level. Wow... not bad for a 6th round pick.

Last note: Wynn was EXQUISITE in pass pro. A+ there. So in theory you might want to give Onwenu some help if he plays RT against faster rushers BUT the plus there is he will demolish anyone in the run game.
 

SMU_Sox

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Football Outsider's Ben Muth (former offensive lineman himself) has a review of the Patriots performance on Sunday and how they ran different options/used-Cam. Mark Schofield does too. (Mark's article came out first - if y'all want to check him out at Touchdown wire. He is a fantastic read).

The takeaway is that our run game is going to be hard to defend and our OL cup runneth over. Also, Cam makes this 11 on 11.
 

BaseballJones

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Great stuff, @SMU_Sox. One thing I'll point out is that for a long time the Pats have needed OL who were better at pass protection than run blocking, because their offense was a pass-oriented offense. A guy like Shaq Mason did fine, but he came out of Georgia Tech, which ran the option scheme, and he was a devastating run blocker in college. He's been good at it in the pros too, but this offense the Pats ran last week is basically custom made for a guy like Mason. Onwenu is also tailor-made for this kind of offense.

I worry about this team falling behind. But they're good on defense and it appears that they can really freaking pound the ball on the ground. There's definitely a pathway to being pretty successful in the NFL with that kind of formula. Obviously there probably will be problems if the offense bogs down and they fall two scores behind. But with their ability to control the ball/clock and with a defense that keeps them in games, these Patriots might just be a significant pain in the ass for a lot of teams to play.
 

BigSoxFan

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Great stuff, @SMU_Sox. One thing I'll point out is that for a long time the Pats have needed OL who were better at pass protection than run blocking, because their offense was a pass-oriented offense. A guy like Shaq Mason did fine, but he came out of Georgia Tech, which ran the option scheme, and he was a devastating run blocker in college. He's been good at it in the pros too, but this offense the Pats ran last week is basically custom made for a guy like Mason. Onwenu is also tailor-made for this kind of offense.

I worry about this team falling behind. But they're good on defense and it appears that they can really freaking pound the ball on the ground. There's definitely a pathway to being pretty successful in the NFL with that kind of formula. Obviously there probably will be problems if the offense bogs down and they fall two scores behind. But with their ability to control the ball/clock and with a defense that keeps them in games, these Patriots might just be a significant pain in the ass for a lot of teams to play.
You can also add Wynn to that list of run blockers. This team really does have the OL to fit this offense. Glad they didn’t trade Thuney. If Onwenu is legit, this will not be a fun team to face.

If things break just right, this team might have the capability of pulling a 2019 Titans. We have a better coach, better QB, better defense. There is no Derrick Henry and the WRs are much worse talent wise but the formula is there. I do think we’ll see a few games where we get behind 2 scores and look awful.

Really interested to see what Damien Harris has.
 

Super Nomario

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Great stuff, @SMU_Sox. One thing I'll point out is that for a long time the Pats have needed OL who were better at pass protection than run blocking, because their offense was a pass-oriented offense. A guy like Shaq Mason did fine, but he came out of Georgia Tech, which ran the option scheme, and he was a devastating run blocker in college. He's been good at it in the pros too, but this offense the Pats ran last week is basically custom made for a guy like Mason. Onwenu is also tailor-made for this kind of offense.
They've always valued the ability of OL to run block as well as pass-block, and also valued the ability of tight ends to run block, too. It's too soon to tell if they are going to change their template at these positions, but I doubt it.


If things break just right, this team might have the capability of pulling a 2019 Titans. We have a better coach, better QB, better defense. There is no Derrick Henry and the WRs are much worse talent wise but the formula is there. I do think we’ll see a few games where we get behind 2 scores and look awful.
They kind of do have a Derrick Henry, i.e., a unique, nigh-unstoppable running talent, it's just that he plays QB instead of RB.

It is just wild to me that we were looking at Jarrett Stidham starting QB as of a couple months ago. Does this team score more than 3 points with Stidham the other day?
 

BigSoxFan

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Fair points. After seeing Cam, I’m surprised we let him hang out there so long. He looked great.
 

Saints Rest

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Football Outsider's Ben Muth (former offensive lineman himself) has a review of the Patriots performance on Sunday and how they ran different options/used-Cam. Mark Schofield does too. (Mark's article came out first - if y'all want to check him out at Touchdown wire. He is a fantastic read).

The takeaway is that our run game is going to be hard to defend and our OL cup runneth over. Also, Cam makes this 11 on 11.
The Ben Muth review also highlights Ryan Izzo doing some nice work as a blocker. On the Cam TD at the pylon, it was Izzo split out wide who simply eliminated the CB from the play. It wasn't Gronk throwing the guy out of the club level, but it was complete and effective.
 

Saints Rest

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Also, Jakob seems like he will be a great addition to the running attack.

If Izzo can block as well as he showed in Game One and Jakob and David Andrews can stay healthy, this year's blocking will be leaps and bounds ahead of last year's.

Plus as noted by SMU_Sox, Cam's presence effectively eliminates one extra defender from any run play.
 

Soxy

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It is just wild to me that we were looking at Jarrett Stidham starting QB as of a couple months ago. Does this team score more than 3 points with Stidham the other day?
Remember when the Pats signed Cam and bunch of posters were upset about it because they preferred Stidham?

There were takes.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Remember when the Pats signed Cam and bunch of posters were upset about it because they preferred Stidham?

There were takes.
There were a bunch and I was one of them. What of it? One game and we're anointing this team and QB? Some are content with what we have and realize at some point it'll need to reset. We can grasp at straws and live in the fat middle and hope for the best or we can build for another run. Neither is an outrageous take. Now we want to trade for a WR and resign Cam long term and xyz. Check back in week 10 and see if Cam is still trucking, the D plays as well as they did against garbage team like MIA and how they stack up vs. BAL or KC. It's an old slow roster, they need to start moving past the dynasty at some point. If we catch lightning, great. They shouldn't be mortgaging any futures in the process. Nor do I think BB will, which is why I find the WR trade talk hilarious.
 

tims4wins

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There were a bunch and I was one of them. What of it? One game and we're anointing this team and QB? Some are content with what we have and realize at some point it'll need to reset. We can grasp at straws and live in the fat middle and hope for the best or we can build for another run. Neither is an outrageous take. Now we want to trade for a WR and resign Cam long term and xyz. Check back in week 10 and see if Cam is still trucking, the D plays as well as they did against garbage team like MIA and how they stack up vs. BAL or KC. It's an old slow roster, they need to start moving past the dynasty at some point. If we catch lightning, great. They shouldn't be mortgaging any futures in the process. Nor do I think BB will, which is why I find the WR trade talk hilarious.
I was also all aboard the Stidham train, but I need to disagree with the old and slow comment here. At which positions are they old and slow? Not safety. Not corner. Not linebacker. Not edge. Not DL. Not TE. Not RB. Not QB. Not OL. WR is the only slow position on the team - and they are starting Harry (who is not old) and Byrd (who is not slow).
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I was also all aboard the Stidham train, but I need to disagree with the old and slow comment here. At which positions are they old and slow? Not safety. Not corner. Not linebacker. Not edge. Not DL. Not TE. Not RB. Not QB. Not OL. WR is the only slow position on the team - and they are starting Harry (who is not old) and Byrd (who is not slow).
They are currently 27th in age in NFL, after cutdown. You can discern individual positions and their draft 40 times as you see fit. They are slow compared to who they need, I'm not sure how thats up for debate. Just cherry picking, yes at RB, LB, DL, they're slow; QB and OL is a non factor for speed; not sure what you've seen from TE from one game, but whatever. The backfield is fine, but the twins aren't exactly young.
 

tims4wins

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They are currently 27th in age in NFL, after cutdown. You can discern individual positions and their draft 40 times as you see fit. They are slow compared to who they need, I'm not sure how thats up for debate. Just cherry picking, yes at RB, LB, DL, they're slow; QB and OL is a non factor for speed; not sure what you've seen from TE from one game, but whatever. The backfield is fine, but the twins aren't exactly young.
Which LB? Bentley and Copeland?

At DB, Jones, Jackson, and Duggar are both young and fast. Gilmore is older and fast. As are the McCourty twins. Phillips is medium age and somewhere in the middle of the speed spectrum.

I’m not addressing skill here to be clear. I just don’t think they are a slow team any more. And some of their older guys - like the McCourtys and Gilmore - are still really fast.

Edit: and to say QB is a nonfactor for speed is ridiculous. Cam’s speed is hugely important.

Edit 2: with Taylor and Harris RB speed is also up. And age is down.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Which LB? Bentley and Copeland?

At DB, Jones, Jackson, and Duggar are both young and fast. Gilmore is older and fast. As are the McCourty twins. Phillips is medium age and somewhere in the middle of the speed spectrum.

I’m not addressing skill here to be clear. I just don’t think they are a slow team any more. And some of their older guys - like the McCourtys and Gilmore - are still really fast.

Edit: and to say QB is a nonfactor for speed is ridiculous. Cam’s speed is hugely important.
No its not ridiculous, you're focusing on one aspect - likely the least meaningful one - of one position. Brady wasn't fast, he was mobile in the pocket and fine. Cam adds another dimension to the playbook but it mobility and trucking more than speed. Regardless, sure, whatever. Let's see how he does running when he plays a decent team.

I have no idea how you are saying they aren't a slow team "any more"? When was the infusion? I must have missed it. But no, let's draw conclusions off one game. Let's see how they do against KC. Or even this week against SEA. They're going to get smoked.
 

tims4wins

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I think they’re going to get smoked too.

I also think they are a faster team than a year ago.

Both statements can be true.
 

Oppo

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They are currently 27th in age in NFL, after cutdown. You can discern individual positions and their draft 40 times as you see fit. They are slow compared to who they need, I'm not sure how thats up for debate. Just cherry picking, yes at RB, LB, DL, they're slow; QB and OL is a non factor for speed; not sure what you've seen from TE from one game, but whatever. The backfield is fine, but the twins aren't exactly young.
What average age difference between teams is clinically significant? 0.1 years? 0.2? 0.5? 1? Does having a wide or small age distribution matter?
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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What average age difference between teams is clinically significant? 0.1 years? 0.2? 0.5? 1? Does having a wide or small age distribution matter?
Not entirely sure but is it good? They've ranked 15th, 26th, 30th, 32nd and now 27th over the last five years. Obviously it's not everything and things like Brady and Ghost will skew a tad, but it's not trending well. Positional specifics matter as well, but if you correlate age with contract cost/status, does it make sense to have a guy in his contract years and a few years older and on the downslope or a young guy on a rookie deal who is hopefully trending up? Note th rends you see here for any team you think is above or on par with the Pats when looking at their future https://www.phillyvoice.com/ranking-nfl-teams-age-after-53-man-cutdowns-2020-edition-falcons-jaguars-eagles/

Factor in that when next wave of impact guys hopefully comes the twins are gone, Edelman is gone, Michel is gone, Gilmore is most likely gone, half the OL is gone, QB is a gaping hole, etc. The goal is to groom then replace and be seamless in scheme to make up for it, their drafts haven't allowed that and are only finally catching up (it seems). It's kicking the can.
 

SMU_Sox

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Bentley and Jennings are somewhat slow. Agreed there. Aside from Beau Allen I wouldn't say any of the front 7 are slow except for I know nothing about Xavier Williams. Now you have some guys who are average speed like Lawrence Guy but Cowart, Butler, Wino, Wise, Simon, Rivers, Calhoun, Phillips, Davis, and Copeland, those are all above average speed guys. Uche is blazing fast and he should eventually see the field when he isn't hurt. That isn't an old front 7. Now the secondary is old but DMC, JMC, Gilmore - those guys are all fast. Chung has lost a step though for sure (him opting out and aging a year hurts us in the long run). Jon Jones is fast. Dugger is fast. JJW is of average speed for a box safety - maybe a tick under. He's somewhere in the high 4.5's to low 4.6s which is fine if you are playing run D and covering TEs. Brooks, is fast. Bryant is fast. JCJ is fast. I think the young secondary core could be a good one with: JCJ, JJW, Dugger, Jon Jones, and maybe Bryant. You might still need another corner and a pure FS type once those guys retire but we are getting to a better place when and if they leave. I like what Bill has done to develop this next generation on defense but only time will tell if I'm right there.

TE wise Asiasi and Keene are plenty fast but they need time to develop. Izzo is slow and he is the primary TE at the moment. Right now the WR's are slow AF. There is no getting around that.

I think with Taylor and Harris you're going to see more team speed at RB. Harris isn't a blazer but he can break off chunk plays for sure and outrun linebackers but maybe not all safeties. I also thought Sony looked like he had some of his burst back which would be nice.

Offensively we have yet to see them go in 11 and stretch you out with guys who have great speed. WR wise they don't have the personnel for it.
I am not worried about the age of the OL and the quality depth there because Cannon the oldest is 32. Everyone else is 28 (Andrews) and younger (Mason/Thuney 27).

QB in theory they do have a guy they are developing behind Cam.

So I am half with you @Papelbon's Poutine because I think the defense has a good young core AND is pretty quick. I also think Seattle slaughters us. Sorry. It's one thing to beat Miami and another to beat the Seahawks. I also agree with you w/r/t pass catchers (white and Jules are good but not fast and Izzo is taking the majority of TE snaps so far) are the slowest in the league or bottom 3-5...
 

Soxy

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There were a bunch and I was one of them. What of it? One game and we're anointing this team and QB? Some are content with what we have and realize at some point it'll need to reset. We can grasp at straws and live in the fat middle and hope for the best or we can build for another run. Neither is an outrageous take. Now we want to trade for a WR and resign Cam long term and xyz. Check back in week 10 and see if Cam is still trucking, the D plays as well as they did against garbage team like MIA and how they stack up vs. BAL or KC. It's an old slow roster, they need to start moving past the dynasty at some point. If we catch lightning, great. They shouldn't be mortgaging any futures in the process. Nor do I think BB will, which is why I find the WR trade talk hilarious.
"One game." It's almost like a bunch of people here never actually watched Cam Newton play before last Sunday.

They replaced about half the defense from last year and installed a new approach to their offense centered around a running QB. I'm not sure what you had in mind, but seems to me like they've "moved past the dynasty" already.
 

Zososoxfan

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I went to bed at halftime, but I was bummed that Onwenu didn't play in the first half. Then I checked into the Goat thread and Onwenu's name popped up a bunch. What happened with OL snaps last night?
 

Shelterdog

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I went to bed at halftime, but I was bummed that Onwenu didn't play in the first half. Then I checked into the Goat thread and Onwenu's name popped up a bunch. What happened with OL snaps last night?
Wynn-Thuney-Andrews-Mason wire to wire. Mostly Jermaine E at RT but Onwenu subbed in from time to time (I thought I saw him there some in the first half). Owenewu and even Herron popped up as sixth and seventh lineman in heavy sets
 

Dick Pole Upside

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Onwenu didn’t seal his block on the final play, allowing his man to fill the intended hole while Bobby Wagner shoved Shaq Mason into Cam’s lane.

edit: in response to Zosoxfan
 

SMU_Sox

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Onwenu was their best run blocker yesterday and it wasn't even close. Although the entire line had issues including Onwenu (He did lose some blocks too) check out our first offensive touchdown. 3rd and 1 at the goal.

34372
Think Onwenu (71) gets some push? LOL.
 

Bowhemian

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Onwenu was their best run blocker yesterday and it wasn't even close. Although the entire line had issues including Onwenu (He did lose some blocks too) check out our first offensive touchdown. 3rd and 1 at the goal.

View attachment 34372
Think Onwenu (71) gets some push? LOL.
Probably a combo block. If there was nobody lined up on him, his job would be give a quick shove to the nearest lineman, then get to the second level and block a linebacker.
Or, it could have been a hell of a push like you said.
 

BaseballJones

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I just watched the play again. It was a one-on-one block and he drove the guy that far on his own. Totally manhandled him.

Seems like Onwenu doesn't maybe have the quickest feet in the world but incredible power. So if you ask him to drive block he'll pummel his guy, but if you ask him to move too much laterally, it could be a struggle for him. On the play in question, it was straight one-on-one drive blocking straight ahead and he mauled the guy. On the last play of the game, the defender lunged to Onwenu's left, and Onwenu drove straight ahead at the same time, which meant that the defender slipped by him.

It was a total commitment by Seattle to stop a Cam Newton run to the left. Everyone drove that way, they dove at the blockers' feet to create a mess. If they had any other option off that play it probably would have been an easy TD.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Well, they didn’t ‘know’ in all likelihood, but they took a reasonable guess. I think the positioning of the fullback - which is a good bet to be a lead blocker on a running play there - is a tell. Teams will certainly run away from a fullback or mix up the blocking assignment for the fullback so it’s not determinative of the intended direction of the run, but in that spot using a fullback as a key for the intended direction of the run is a good idea, especially if you plan to sell out on defending a running play.
 

SMU_Sox

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@Shelterdog Ben Muth on KC vs NE and Pats OL Play and yes he watched Herron.

The gist of it is Ferentz, as we all know here, is a backup for a reason. Herron was fine and better in the run game. On the sack he did give up as a few of us pointed out Stiddy didn't step up at all in the pocket.

Meanwhile Wynn looks like a pro-bowler, Onwenu is a beast, and Thuney is excellent. BB the GM gets a lot of flack but look at the OLs he and Dante have churned out year after year. Now Dante is gone but Onwenu looks like a starter and Herron looks like a capable backup OT. Those guys were late day 3 picks. Chef's kiss. Also, not to derail anything but BB is a better than average drafter even if he is only 5-6% better than what his results would be. The way he does that he by volume. The more picks you make the more of a chance you have a guy is a starter which boosts your score considerably.
 

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The Pats have struggled to gain any personnel consistency at OL so far this year, with a different lineup in almost every game. Today will almost certainly bring another new configuration. This juggling makes their results even more impressive.