While pondering how our line has dissolved into one of the worst units in football, I thought of this while I was watching the Jets' game. I could be totally off, so tell me what you think...
During most games that I watch, when O-linemen are pass blocking, many of them are man up. BUT, even if they are getting beat by their guy, the D-lineman/LB/etc. tends to hit into the next O-linemen beside him, further slowing his way to the QB, generally keeping QB sack totals and hurries low.
Granted, the next lineman over isn't switching his assignment, but since these are very large men in a relatively confined area, even if they beat their guy, the rushers tend to hit into another O-lineman on their way to the QB. (Ex: if a DL beats a G, he tends to hit into the T or C on his way by.)
But during the Jets game the other day, I noticed that the line got so spread out during their pass blocking that, as soon as their man beat them, there was no one else to remotely get in their way on the way to Ben.
I know it's easier to say this now, as opposed to doing it in a gametime situation, but how difficult would it be to keep the linemen closer to one another when the pass rush is coming, allowing them to work together as a team, rather than 5 individual islands?
The downside is that bunching together more allows the pocket to curve around Ben, preventing him from getting outside. However, that could be countered by keeping a TE in to block, or keeping an RB in the backfield to do the same.
Am I looking too deeply into things here, or has anyone else noticed the huge spread our line takes on in pass blocking as well?
Standard splits are somewhere around 2 feet. Defense usually is taught to line up on a man, whether it's head up or on an inside/outside shade of the O-Lineman. Reducing splits may cause a log jam in the middle on passing plays, but it would also make it harder on our tackles to get out on that speed rusher off the end. The other problem I have with this would be tipping our hand on passing plays by reducing our splits. We certainly don't want the middle jammed on run plays!
On top of this, protections are called on pass plays, usually with linemen stepping down and blocking an area/man. If the call is for the guard to step left, and the dl goes right....well, you see the problem, especially if they're blitzing.
Against the jets, and i may be wrong on this, but it didn't seem that the splits were wrong, too big, etc.... it seemed like a total breakdown of blocking fundamentals. When you have 7 rushing and only six blocking (not counting Spaeth), somethings got to give. The point of blitzing on pass plays is to outnumber a certain part of the line. I saw the jets do that on many occassions. And give credit to the jets secondary. They took away our FEARSOME set of recievers on intermediate routes. Many of the sacks Ben took were some 4-5 seconds or more after the snap! It's not like he didn't have time to throw.
Also, don't discredit the effect of coming off a bye week has on game planning!