Two Sundays ago, Isaac Redman gashed the Giants for 147 yards on the ground. There was nothing fancy about that attack. The Giants were simply bulldozed. Almost all of Redman’s runs were inside the tackles. This past Sunday, the Bengals weren’t anywhere near as successful as the Steelers, as they gained just 76 yards on 28 carries, but something jumped out on tape. Offensive linemen are moving Linval Joseph pretty easily.
Double-teams in the NFL are often misunderstood. Sometimes the perception is that if a player is being double blocked, the offense fears that defender. That’s true in the passing game, but only occasionally in the run game. Teams will often double a player if they think they can move him off the ball. They’ll double, then once the defender has been cleared out, one of the offensive linemen will peel off and go after a linebacker or safety. The better run stuffing interior defensive linemen in the NFL are able to anchor against double teams. A stalemate is a win.
Here’s Joseph on the Bengals’ first drive. He’ll be doubled by RG Kevin Zeitler an Andre Smith:
This next one would be a better look from an end zone angle (not available), but here’s Joseph being doubled by C Trevor Robinson and LG Clint Boling:
They ride him laterally about 3 yards, opening up a hole:
Here’s Robinson and Boling driving Joseph way off the ball:
…followed by Robinson peeling off and blocking a LB while Joseph turns his back to the play:
Joseph’s sub didn’t fare much better. Here’s Marcus Kuhn being doubled by LT Andrew Whitworth and Boling:
They ride Kuhn all the way across the formation, before Whitworth peels off and picks up Michael Boley:
Kuhn is not only pushed all the way across the formation, but he’s blown back 4 yards off the line:
By the middle of the 4th quarter. likely whenever Joseph thought a double was coming, he would submarine into the line hoping to clog up a lane, which is something that pretty much any college 325 lb DT could do. Here’s an example from the 3rd quarter. Joseph’s butt is circled:
Zeitler and Smith simply sidestep Joseph and go block someone that’s still standing, while Joseph lays on the ground among the large bodies:
The Giants are vulnerable up the middle.