Oct 4, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) prepares for the snap from center Kory Lichtensteiger (78) against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half at FedEx Field. Washington Redskins won 23 – 20. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Redskins offensive line has played well during the first 4 games of the 2015 season. They engineered a resurgence of the Redskins traditionally great running attack during the first two weeks of the season. Against the Philadelphia Eagles last week however, it was the pass blocking that stood out.
Philadelphia came out with 8 or 9 players in the box (within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage and lined up over or inside of any players lined up tight with the offensive line) 17 times in the first half out of 41 Redskins offensive plays. To counter that, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden called a lot of quick passes and three bootlegs during the first half.
The Redskins offensive line struggled run blocking the Eagles defensive line. Even Redskins All-Pro left tackle had trouble maintaining blocks in the run game causing many hits on Alfred Morris behind the line of scrimmage. The offensive line did dominate the Eagles front seven on their final drive of the game and allowed Morris to run for 38 yards on his four carries during that drive.
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Left Guard Shawn Lauvao had been the Redskins best run blocker in the first two weeks but he was injured early in the week three match-up with the Giants and lost for the season. Spencer Long started in Lauvao’s place and had the best overall rating of all of the Redskins five offensive linemen. He earned 23 points on 32 graded run plays for a 0.72 run blocking rating.
Right Guard and Redskins first round draft choice Brandon Scherff was the only player with a higher run blocking score than Long with 25 points on 32 graded plays for a 0.78 rating. Williams was next with 20 points on 32 graded plays for a 0.63 rating.
Right Tackle Morgan Moses had only 16 points on 33 graded plays for a 0.48 rating. His extra play graded over the other linemen was due to an early clipping penalty. Center Kory Lichtensteiger had 14 points on 32 graded plays for a team low 0.44 rating run blocking.
The scores for pass blocking were much better for the offensive line as they kept quarterback Kirk Cousins upright in the pocket. Cousins had to scramble from the pocket only twice and those plays are included with the pass blocking grades. Philadelphia was credited with a sack on Cousins first run when he ran out of bounds at the line of scrimmage, but the NFL may change that stat into a 0 yard run by Cousins instead of a sack.
Long had the best pass blocking rating with 48 points on 48 graded plays for a 1.00 rating. Williams would have had the same score and rating except for a serious mental mistake when he got penalized for blocking down field on a 19 yard catch and run by Pierre Garcon. Williams ended with 45 points on 49 graded plays for a 0.92 rating.
Lichtensteiger had the same pass block rating of 0.92 with 44 points on 48 graded plays. Scherff had 43 points on 48 plays for a 0.90 rating and Moses had 41 points on 48 plays for a 0.85 rating. The lined blocked well for Cousins as a unit and had very few negative grades on pass plays with only four total including Williams’ penalty.
Long had a 0.89 rating overall followed by Scherff at 0.85. Williams had a 0.80 rating and Lichtensteiger had a 0.73 with Moses trailing the pack at 0.70. With their success in the passing game, if the offensive line can regain the excellent run blocking prowess they showed in the first two weeks of the season, this unit can really help the Redskins offense score more points and set a tone for the entire team.