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The O-Line and McCarthy\'s Judgement

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The O-Line and McCarthy\'s Judgement

I have to say, I'm pleased to see McCarthy acknowledge what I and several other bloggers noted would be an issue way back in training camp, chiefly that the musical chairs on the offensive line would rob it of the cohesion that the elite units in the NFL all seem to share.

From McCarthy's presser on Wednesday:

If you watch the way we rep those guys, we have probably too many revolving chairs in the offensive line and that is something we can talk about it in the offseason.

I guess it's hard to hear this from the head coach heading into Week 17 of a lost season where the offensive line, along with its defensive counterpart, was largely responsible for the teams failures. I am heartened to hear him recognize it as a potential problem.

And there's one other thing: I think McCarthy feels, for whatever their individual weaknesses, hidden somewhere among the guys he has on his 53 man roster is a very good five man group that's waiting to become a quality offensive line. And unlike many of my fellow bloggers, I tend to agree with him. I think there is young talent that has gone untapped along the o-line. The question is 'why'? From the start of training camp, Allen Barbre was splitting time with Daryn Colledge at left guard. Barbre got in with the first unit against the Bengals and, to my eye, played quite well. But then, and with no explanation whatsoever, Barbre never got another opportunity. And even with this latest shuffling, he still can't get on the field, even with Jason Spitz looking dreadful over the past month.

I realize the coaches are privy to a LOT more information than you or I, but something doesn't pass the smell test here. It's the same thing with Aaron Rouse and the strong safety position. Once they soured on him, the coaches didn't let him see the field again until the season was over, even though their Woodson experiment was obviously not working. Coupled with the Barbre mystery it forms a disturbing pattern, one that smacks of blind Mike Sherman-esque player loyalty to a fault. There's no earthly reason not to give Barbre a chance at left guard this Sunday, but the coaches, despite a months worth of pretty sub-standard play from Spitz, have plugged him in at left guard ahead of Barbre. It just makes no sense and it's a big red-flag for me when it comes to McCarthy and his judgement.

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Ron La Canne's picture


Interesting article today by Jason Wilde. The focus of the article was Ryan Grant's performance this year vs. last.

Buried in the article was an interesting quote by Joe Philbin. It relates directly to MM's comments. Philbin said this, " Grant had more minus runs this year than last. 35 carries have lost yardage vs. 22 in 2007. That is not his fault. There's some major problems if you've got somebody 5 yards deep in your backfield."

That seems to be Philbin saying something about his O-Line's lack of performance. I think that there has been a season long problem with the line. I'm not sure who is the problem. My guess, though, is Campen is on the trash heap along with Sanders and Stock. With MM and Philbin finally being openly critical of line play, it seems to me that this issue has been bubbling under the surface for some time. I suspect all is not well in paradise. TT and MM may have a confrontation starting here. Quotes from the organization are not as generic as TT would like them to be. More and more I feel the blame for this year is pointing directly at TT.

Franklin Hillside's picture

Come on, Ron.

GM always gets too much credit for winning and too much blame for losing.

This shuffling went on all last year too, winning erases a lot of criticism. It should have been cleaned up.

IPBprez's picture

HOld on, Frank ... I've been preaching for two seasons that Daryn Colledge is not the answer at LG. Barbre was seen to play with a chip on his shoulder. But, like Ron says - "Lost favor with the Coaching Staff" - I am so tired of the Water Cooler running the show out there on the field. Whether you personally like the player or not. You play your best personnel. Much like the Clydesdales, moving guys around should have been a part of every pre-season game, along with the first three games of the Regular Season (at least). Why not keep Jason Spitz in a Center? He had better command of the O-Line and they all responded better than they do with Wells. Scott came in and we started losing almost right away. I say go back to the Dallas type of O-Line and stop messing with the ZBS. We'd probably have a better chance to re-create the Lombardi Sweep if we did. Josh Sitton [Blocked for running back Kevin Smith, in College] somehow can't be an option at LG, as opposed to RG? He's supposed to be versatile. Again, this is a coaching issue. Please get someone lese besides Campen. He may have played Center for the Pack - don't mean he knows how to coach.

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