The Giants signed Brandon Myers yesterday, and people were quick to point out that Pro Football Focus had him rated as the worst ranked run blocking run TE in the league. It seems like PFF’s OL rankings seem to get the most play from fans and media, which makes sense. Fans can look at “catches-yards-TD” and form quick opinions of WRs. They can look at QB ratings for a QB. They can look at sacks for a DE. But for the OL, you can’t just go to ESPN and find a quick statistic for how well they run block or pass block.
ProFootballFocus has become somewhat of a go-to site for grading players as blockers. And for the most part they do a good job. However, I think what happens sometimes is fans look at a number, and lose perspective on the context. They don’t attempt to look at what the player does well, and what he does poorly. This is where judging a player on PFF by looking at a number falls short.
Here are Myers’ rankings on the season. Note that I circled his run blocking effort against the Jaguars Week 7, as it was his worst game, according to PFF. That was the game I wanted to watch, to get the full “Brandon Myers is awful” effect:
After watching that game, I came away with a two conclusions:
- Brandon Myers is most definitely not a dominant run blocker.
- He’s not the worst run blocking TE in the league.
There were two plays I saw in that game that were not pretty. The first one was the first play from scrimmage in the 3rd quarter. Note where Myers engages the defender. He’s on the hashmarks, and in good position:
The defender gets Myers off balance and drives him back (I put a yellow dot on Myers’ helmet):
After pushing Myers back, the defender sheds the block and makes the play:
That’s not pretty. Here’s another one. The Raiders will be running away from Myers here:
At the snap, the defender fires to the left, and Myers is slow to cut him off from flowing to the football:
The defender gets leverage, basically takes Myers for a ride, and makes the play.
Again, not pretty.
Those were two plays, however, it wasn’t all terrible. Over the course of the game, here were the things I noted about Myers’ run blocking:
- There is no shortage of effort. Half the battle for a TE is the willingness to stick your nose in there and block somebody. I didn’t see that as an issue. Put Myers in the hands of Giants TE coach/wizard Mike Pope, and maybe Myers can do a better job of playing with leverage. But it’s not like he was LJ Smith out there. Last season was Myers’ first full year as a starter. His blocking should only get better.
- He could probably use some more time in the weight room. (This is more for “FYI” purposes, but Myers put up 17 reps at the 2009 Combine). The first film example above was Myers just being physically dominated by a bigger DE. If you’re looking for highlights of Myers as a blocker, there won’t be any. At no point during the Jacksonville game did Myers ever get a great push off the line of scrimmage. More often than not, he’s giving up a little bit of ground, but not like in the two examples above.
- For the most part, he did a good job of keeping defenders occupied. When you’re giving up 20-30 pounds to an opposing DE, I think that’s all you can really ask. Myers did a good job of at least keeping himself in between the defender and the ball carrier.
This was supposedly Myers’ worst game as a run blocker last season. I agree that it wasn’t good. However, it wasn’t so bad that I’d say, “That guy can only be in the game on obvious passing downs.” He looked like a below average blocker to me, but functional, and willing. I did not see “the worst run blocking TE in the league.” If he can add some strength and learn how to play with leverage a little better, there is room for improvement.