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Braden Smith's future at RT


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10 minutes ago, EastStreet said:

Given JB's 2nd highest time to throw, he's next to Glow, and he's in year two of a new position, I tend to cut him some slack. Only 4 QBs were sacked less who played at least 14 games. That's pretty good considering JB's time to throw, no? And in 2018, only one QB was sacked less than Luck/game. 

 

I'd like to see his pressure #s for 2018 vs 2019 and see if the TtT change varied with the sacks and pressures.

 

Blocking for an immobile guy isn't going to be a big deal. Rivers had the 5th lowest TtT last year, and the 4th worst OL. He'll be fine.

 

Per PFF:

 

In 2018, Smith allowed 38 pressures on 601 pass blocking snaps. That's a pressure rate of 6.3%. Luck's average time to throw was 2.44 seconds, and he took more than 2.5 seconds on 51.1% of his drop backs. (He only played 12 snaps at guard in 2018.)

 

In 2019, Smith allowed 46 pressures on 620 pass blocking snaps. That's a pressure rate of 7.4%. Brissett's average time to throw was 2.73 seconds, and he took more than 2.5 seconds on 62.2% of his dropbacks.

 

So yes, the fact that JB was slower to throw affected Smith's pressure stats, for sure. And we have seen studies that suggest that the OL gets too much blame for pressures allowed, and the QB/playcaller get too little blame. 

 

And along those lines, Rivers' average time to throw in 2019 was 2.48 seconds, and he took more than 2.5 on 53.2% of his drop backs. So it's reasonable to assume that Smith's pressure rate in 2020 will benefit from Rivers being the QB. Setting aside other variables, we could expect Smith's rate to go back to 2018 levels.

 

But here's my point: Smith's slightly better pressure rate in 2018 still wasn't very good as a RT. Good RTs have a pressure rate of 4-5%; great RTs around 3%. Dak Prescott's time to throw stats are similar to JB's, but La'el Collins has a pressure rate of 4.3%. 

 

And since Rivers is immobile, we should be ready for him to get sacked more than a QB with even average escapability, even with his quick decision making and our good OL. On the good 2018 team, Rivers got sacked 32 times, and his time to throw was still exceptional at 2.42 seconds.

 

Long story short, Braden Smith's high pressure rate is a significant indication of his being a below average pass blocker. This has to be better in 2020. If he's not getting better as a pass protector, we have to address that position, not just cover our eyes and say 'he's a good run blocker though!' 

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2 hours ago, EastStreet said:

The great thing about our OL last year, is that we were healthy, and there was no musical chairs. The downside is, you have zero idea what the depth looks like.

 

Based on everything I've read and heard, I'm just not optimistic about Clark. Perhaps he's good for depth, but definitely not an answer at LT, which is where my concern is (in general, injury wise, and post AC). I was actually hoping to watch those guys in pre season, but that's not happening lol. 

 

I really don't think Haeg's departure means anything. Haeg wanted to start, and that wasn't going to happen here. I just think he was faced with a great opportunity, and place where he'd get to play, and earn more.

 

Honestly, not worried about Glow, or RG in general. He's still relatively young, plays OK, etc. I'd love to see Pinter turn out to be the guy though. He's a huge wildcard given his history. TE to OT to NFL OG/C in two years is a lot of change. Given how well he handled the change from TE to OT though, I like his chances. 

 

I really wish we would have grabbed Prince Tega Wanogho. He was mocked a lot in the 2nd, but dropped all the way to late 6th. I have no idea why he dropped, but I was screaming for him in, and after the 4th round. I know he had a leg injury a while back, but he's got a lot of upside, and relatively new FB in general. 2nd team all SEC at LT is pretty big thing for a 6th rounder lol. The Eagles got a bargain IMO.

 

 

 

I'm not really worried about our OL either, and yes it was remarkable the whole unit was healthy all year (I believe they were the only OL group in the league which managed that, and considering injuries we had all over the rest of the roster it was pretty surprising).  

 

I also don't really worry about Glow, or Smith.  As others have pointed out Smith has some pass protection issues, but he's good overall and the way Reich uses TEs he can get help if he needs it on the outside.  That said, our unit is already one of the best (if not the best) OL's in the league.  We've got a pro-bowl C, an all-pro LG, a top 5 or so LT, a very solid guy in Smith (who I still think would do better at G, but fine with him at T) and then we have Glow who isn't terrible, but to me he just sticks out as the weakest link on the OL.  As good as our OL is, I think it could be better if we either moved Smith to RG and got a stud RT or kept Smith at RT and replaced Glow.... wishful thinking, especially with the salary cap (i.e., how bad would we have to sacrifice talent at other positions if we had top 5 guys in the league at every position on the OL?). 

 

I'm still not giving up on Clark.  I get your concerns, but he has all the physical traits and he did come from a funky college O.  I think he's a serviceable back up.  And you're probably right with Haeg - he's also probably better fit in Arians' offense than in Reich's... I was sort of hoping he could outcompete Glow, but other than being a valuable swiss army knife as a backup, you're right he probably wouldn't get the chance to see the field if he stayed here.

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22 minutes ago, Superman said:

 

Per PFF:

 

In 2018, Smith allowed 38 pressures on 601 pass blocking snaps. That's a pressure rate of 6.3%. Luck's average time to throw was 2.44 seconds, and he took more than 2.5 seconds on 51.1% of his drop backs. (He only played 12 snaps at guard in 2018.)

 

In 2019, Smith allowed 46 pressures on 620 pass blocking snaps. That's a pressure rate of 7.4%. Brissett's average time to throw was 2.73 seconds, and he took more than 2.5 seconds on 62.2% of his dropbacks.

 

So yes, the fact that JB was slower to throw affected Smith's pressure stats, for sure. And we have seen studies that suggest that the OL gets too much blame for pressures allowed, and the QB/playcaller get too little blame. 

 

And along those lines, Rivers' average time to throw in 2019 was 2.48 seconds, and he took more than 2.5 on 53.2% of his drop backs. So it's reasonable to assume that Smith's pressure rate in 2020 will benefit from Rivers being the QB. Setting aside other variables, we could expect Smith's rate to go back to 2018 levels.

 

But here's my point: Smith's slightly better pressure rate in 2018 still wasn't very good as a RT. Good RTs have a pressure rate of 4-5%; great RTs around 3%. Dak Prescott's time to throw stats are similar to JB's, but La'el Collins has a pressure rate of 4.3%. 

 

And since Rivers is immobile, we should be ready for him to get sacked more than a QB with even average escapability, even with his quick decision making and our good OL. On the good 2018 team, Rivers got sacked 32 times, and his time to throw was still exceptional at 2.42 seconds.

 

Long story short, Braden Smith's high pressure rate is a significant indication of his being a below average pass blocker. This has to be better in 2020. If he's not getting better as a pass protector, we have to address that position, not just cover our eyes and say 'he's a good run blocker though!' 

 

Thanks for the stats Sup!! 

 

Couple questions. Those good RTs with lower pressure rates, I'm guessing a good amount have run blocking deficiencies? I fully agree with you that Smith needs to improve, just pointing out there are few very well rounded RTs out there. There's a reason they are RTs instead of LTs a lot of times. And while I'd like him to improve, I wouldn't be for going high in the draft for another RT at this point even if he doesn't improve.

 

Regardless of the stats, I'm totally not worried about Rivers. IIRC (correct me if I'm wrong), his Ts in LA combined for the most (might have been second most) pressures last year, yet he was still middle of the pack in sacks/game. Only 4 QBs who played all 16 games were sacked less. If he can do that with a pair of tackles that bad, he'll be fine even if Smith has some deficiencies.  IMO, the who concern around him being immobile is widely overblown given what he is coming from.

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17 minutes ago, CurBeatElite said:

 

I'm not really worried about our OL either, and yes it was remarkable the whole unit was healthy all year (I believe they were the only OL group in the league which managed that, and considering injuries we had all over the rest of the roster it was pretty surprising).  

 

I also don't really worry about Glow, or Smith.  As others have pointed out Smith has some pass protection issues, but he's good overall and the way Reich uses TEs he can get help if he needs it on the outside.  That said, our unit is already one of the best (if not the best) OL's in the league.  We've got a pro-bowl C, an all-pro LG, a top 5 or so LT, a very solid guy in Smith (who I still think would do better at G, but fine with him at T) and then we have Glow who isn't terrible, but to me he just sticks out as the weakest link on the OL.  As good as our OL is, I think it could be better if we either moved Smith to RG and got a stud RT or kept Smith at RT and replaced Glow.... wishful thinking, especially with the salary cap (i.e., how bad would we have to sacrifice talent at other positions if we had top 5 guys in the league at every position on the OL?). 

 

I'm still not giving up on Clark.  I get your concerns, but he has all the physical traits and he did come from a funky college O.  I think he's a serviceable back up.  And you're probably right with Haeg - he's also probably better fit in Arians' offense than in Reich's... I was sort of hoping he could outcompete Glow, but other than being a valuable swiss army knife as a backup, you're right he probably wouldn't get the chance to see the field if he stayed here.

I'm not giving up on Clark, but I just don't see him as starter quality. I'd love to be wrong. Unless he's just a late bloomer, I think we'd have seen him beating out Glow, or challenging Smith. Regardless, I'd love to be wrong about him. I think part of my "meh" attitude about him comes from the scheme he comes from at TX Tech, and a lot of the draft reviews. He got some B12 awards, so I held out hope, but the hope is fading lol.

 

I'm with you when it comes to thinking Smith would be a better RG than RT, but I think we're simply limited in what we can do at this point. Our biggest concern right now is replacing AC in a year or so. It'll be pretty darn hard to replace 2 Ts in the next two years, which is what it would take to move Smith inside. I guess drafting one early, and a FA would solve the problem, but I can't see another expensive FA given how much we'll still be paying Q, Kelly, and Smith. Q will set the market. Kelly will get top 5 C pay. Smith will get top 10 RT pay. Adding another high end FA on top of that is steep.

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1 minute ago, EastStreet said:

 

Thanks for the stats Sup!! 

 

Couple questions. Those good RTs with lower pressure rates, I'm guessing a good amount have run blocking deficiencies? I fully agree with you that Smith needs to improve, just pointing out there are few very well rounded RTs out there. There's a reason they are RTs instead of LTs a lot of times. And while I'd like him to improve, I wouldn't be for going high in the draft for another RT at this point even if he doesn't improve.

 

Regardless of the stats, I'm totally not worried about Rivers. IIRC (correct me if I'm wrong), his Ts in LA combined for the most (might have been second most) pressures last year, yet he was still middle of the pack in sacks/game. Only 4 QBs who played all 16 games were sacked less. If he can do that with a pair of tackles that bad, he'll be fine even if Smith has some deficiencies.  IMO, the who concern around him being immobile is widely overblown given what he is coming from.

 

There's no definitive way to quantify a run blocker's ability, other than subjective grades like what PFF provides. But as a comparison, in 2019 La'el Collins was graded 75.2 as a pass blocker, and 89.4 as a run blocker. He's one of the few RTs graded higher than Smith in the run game, and he gave up 26 pressures to Smith's 46. (Others include Mitchell Schwartz, with a 2.5% pressure rate and an 84.9 run block grade; and Ryan Ramczyk with a 3.3% pressure rate and a 92.1 run block grade.)

 

I don't mean to compare Smith to the most well rounded RTs in the league (subjectively), as if him not being as good as top three guys means he should be replaced. I'm also not saying we necessarily need to spend another high pick on a RT. I'm just saying 6.3% and 7.4% pressure rate isn't good enough. If it doesn't get better, then we talk about what needs to be done.

 

And again, this is mostly a response to the idea that we're fine at RT because he's a good run blocker. I appreciate his run blocking, but he still needs to pass protect better.

 

Back to Rivers... Last year, the Chargers tackles combined for a 9.3% pressure rate. Compared to that, Smith is All Pro. Rivers was sacked 34 times on 633 dropbacks, which is pretty good considering how awful the OL was. Still would rather give him really good protection, because when the pocket breaks down all he can do is go down or force a throw, he's not going to escape pressure with his legs. It's not a primary concern of mine, but when you adjust for his quick decision making, he gets sacked quite a bit, primarily because he's immobile. No question his protection will be dramatically better this year than it was in 2019.

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how about move nelson to LT when AC retires?  would be nice to spend all the money big Q is going to get at the most important position

 

i remember during the draft process he said a couple of teams asked him about this, his answer was yeah hes willing to make that move and thinks he can play it well.  

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7 minutes ago, Superman said:

 

There's no definitive way to quantify a run blocker's ability, other than subjective grades like what PFF provides. But as a comparison, in 2019 La'el Collins was graded 75.2 as a pass blocker, and 89.4 as a run blocker. He's one of the few RTs graded higher than Smith in the run game, and he gave up 26 pressures to Smith's 46. (Others include Mitchell Schwartz, with a 2.5% pressure rate and an 84.9 run block grade; and Ryan Ramczyk with a 3.3% pressure rate and a 92.1 run block grade.)

 

I don't mean to compare Smith to the most well rounded RTs in the league (subjectively), as if him not being as good as top three guys means he should be replaced. I'm also not saying we necessarily need to spend another high pick on a RT. I'm just saying 6.3% and 7.4% pressure rate isn't good enough. If it doesn't get better, then we talk about what needs to be done.

 

And again, this is mostly a response to the idea that we're fine at RT because he's a good run blocker. I appreciate his run blocking, but he still needs to pass protect better.

 

Back to Rivers... Last year, the Chargers tackles combined for a 9.3% pressure rate. Compared to that, Smith is All Pro. Rivers was sacked 34 times on 633 dropbacks, which is pretty good considering how awful the OL was. Still would rather give him really good protection, because when the pocket breaks down all he can do is go down or force a throw, he's not going to escape pressure with his legs. It's not a primary concern of mine, but when you adjust for his quick decision making, he gets sacked quite a bit, primarily because he's immobile. No question his protection will be dramatically better this year than it was in 2019.

Keep the stats coming Sup. Sincerely appreciate them.

 

A couple questions. First, looking at every starter, or assumed starter, where does Smith rank in terms of "concerns". He ranks pretty low to me. Also, as far as RT stats are concerned, what does the 16th best RT come out in pressure % (more or less how far is Smith off the median). And last question, what pressure % do you find as acceptable at RT for it not to be a concern?

 

On Rivers, I don't link his quick decision making to him getting sacked a lot despite of his quickness. Good QBs fluctuate their hold times based on a lot of things. OL and pass catcher performance, scheme/play-calling, opposing Ds, and game situation. Bad QBs who can't progress effectively really don't fluctuate all that much. Rivers sack numbers have ranged from high teens (18 sacks 3 years ago) to 40s (highest is 49 in 2012). His OL hasn't ranked better than 26th in pass protection going back to 2014. It's going to be night and day different for him here. I'm going to bet he's low 20s in 2020.

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15 minutes ago, aaron11 said:

how about move nelson to LT when AC retires?  would be nice to spend all the money big Q is going to get at the most important position

 

i remember during the draft process he said a couple of teams asked him about this, his answer was yeah hes willing to make that move and thinks he can play it well.  

He was considered a LT coming out of HS. I'm sure he could play it if needed, but I'd much rather he stay at LG.

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3 minutes ago, EastStreet said:

Keep the stats coming Sup. Sincerely appreciate them.

 

A couple questions. First, looking at every starter, or assumed starter, where does Smith rank in terms of "concerns". He ranks pretty low to me. Also, as far as RT stats are concerned, what does the 16th best RT come out in pressure % (more or less how far is Smith off the median). And last question, what pressure % do you find as acceptable at RT for it not to be a concern?

 

Do you mean every starter at RT, or do you mean every Colts starter? For the Colts, I'm not up at night worried about Braden Smith. But when he comes up, it seems like the tendency is to excuse his below average pass pro because a) we have a good OL, or b) he's a good run blocker, or c) he's young, or d) RT isn't a premium position, and on and on. I'm just saying, looking specifically at Smith's pass pro, he has to improve. If not, then consider alternatives (and a good run blocking RT who was drafted to play guard, there's automatically going to be suggestions to move him to guard). 

 

As for where he ranks in pressure % among RTs, PFF doesn't separate LT from RT, so I can't really give you that stat. But they do have a sack-weighted pass blocking efficiency stat, and in 2019 Smith was tied for 49th, out of 58 tackles who played at least 50% of snaps. Safe to say that puts him in "below average" range as a pass blocker.

 

I want him to be at a 5% pressure rate, or less. Not 7.4%, not 6.3%. 

 

Quote

On Rivers, I don't link his quick decision making to him getting sacked a lot despite of his quickness. Good QBs fluctuate their hold times based on a lot of things. OL and pass catcher performance, scheme/play-calling, opposing Ds, and game situation. Bad QBs who can't progress effectively really don't fluctuate all that much. Rivers sack numbers have ranged from high teens (18 sacks 3 years ago) to 40s (highest is 49 in 2012). His OL hasn't ranked better than 26th in pass protection going back to 2014. It's going to be night and day different for him here. I'm going to bet he's low 20s in 2020.

 

I probably didn't say that exactly the right way. I just mean that among QBs with such a quick average time to throw, his sack rate is probably among the highest because there's no escapability in his game. And that's probably a Captain Obvious statement to make.

 

But we definitely agree that there's a lot that goes into sacks allowed, time to throw, etc. And Rivers is probably going to have one of the best OLs he's ever had, so a veteran with his savvy and grasp of the offense is going to be put in a really good situation. 

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2 minutes ago, Superman said:

 

Do you mean every starter at RT, or do you mean every Colts starter? For the Colts, I'm not up at night worried about Braden Smith. But when he comes up, it seems like the tendency is to excuse his below average pass pro because a) we have a good OL, or b) he's a good run blocker, or c) he's young, or d) RT isn't a premium position, and on and on. I'm just saying, looking specifically at Smith's pass pro, he has to improve. If not, then consider alternatives (and a good run blocking RT who was drafted to play guard, there's automatically going to be suggestions to move him to guard). 

 

As for where he ranks in pressure % among RTs, PFF doesn't separate LT from RT, so I can't really give you that stat. But they do have a sack-weighted pass blocking efficiency stat, and in 2019 Smith was tied for 49th, out of 58 tackles who played at least 50% of snaps. Safe to say that puts him in "below average" range as a pass blocker.

 

I want him to be at a 5% pressure rate, or less. Not 7.4%, not 6.3%. 

 

I probably didn't say that exactly the right way. I just mean that among QBs with such a quick average time to throw, his sack rate is probably among the highest because there's no escapability in his game. And that's probably a Captain Obvious statement to make.

 

But we definitely agree that there's a lot that goes into sacks allowed, time to throw, etc. And Rivers is probably going to have one of the best OLs he's ever had, so a veteran with his savvy and grasp of the offense is going to be put in a really good situation. 

Yup, I was talking about all Colt's starters as far as ranking concerns. As far a starters go, CB2, FS, SS, DE2, TE2, LT (future), RG, WR1 (TY's health/age), are all bigger concerns to me. The only position groups that don't concern me at all are RB, QB, and LB.

 

As far as pressure rates are concerned, I was interested in the spread, and how far the drop off is from the median. For instance, if there's only 1% separating Smith from the medium, is 1% really that big of a deal. So let's say it's 1%, and that 1% equates to 6 additional pressures over 16 games. Is that really enough to look for an upgrade given his run blocking. I'm not turning a blind eye to the deficiency, but simply equating it to real numbers and impact. 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, EastStreet said:

Yup, I was talking about all Colt's starters as far as ranking concerns. As far a starters go, CB2, FS, SS, DE2, TE2, LT (future), RG, WR1 (TY's health/age), are all bigger concerns to me. The only position groups that don't concern me at all are RB, QB, and LB.

 

As far as pressure rates are concerned, I was interested in the spread, and how far the drop off is from the median. For instance, if there's only 1% separating Smith from the medium, is 1% really that big of a deal. So let's say it's 1%, and that 1% equates to 6 additional pressures over 16 games. Is that really enough to look for an upgrade given his run blocking. I'm not turning a blind eye to the deficiency, but simply equating it to real numbers and impact. 

 

They don't give a pass rush rate stat. I have to do the math myself, so I can't sort and order. But let's take a couple of RTs who are in the 5% range. 

 

Jack Conklin gave up 30 pressures on 541 pass blocks, 5.5%. Demar Dotson gave up 34 pressures on 676 pass blocks, 5%. Smith gave up 46 pressures on 620 pass blocks, 7.4%. The difference is nearly one pressure per game. 

 

And that's based on your premise of comparing his pressure rate to the median (which isn't determined, to be fair; we don't know what the median is, it could be higher than 5%, could be lower, I'm just using it as a starting point. Someone who wants to table the numbers would have a nice project on their hands.) 

 

I'm taking exception to that premise on two grounds. One, I don't want our starting RT to aspire to be average in pass pro. If he were average in pass pro, I'd be far less concerned and probably wouldn't have anything to say about him. And if someone were making an issue over his pressure rate, I'd make this comparison between an average pressure rate and a good one. I don't think this angle holds up when comparing a below average pressure rate with an average one.

 

Second, when your RT isn't great in pass pro and you have a good established vet at LT, it stands to reason that your protections are going to favor the right side of the line. I'd like to see how often we put our TE on the right side on passing downs. If they're already helping him with the scheme, and he still has a below average pressure rate, don't we need that to get better? 

 

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20 minutes ago, Superman said:

 

They don't give a pass rush rate stat. I have to do the math myself, so I can't sort and order. But let's take a couple of RTs who are in the 5% range. 

 

Jack Conklin gave up 30 pressures on 541 pass blocks, 5.5%. Demar Dotson gave up 34 pressures on 676 pass blocks, 5%. Smith gave up 46 pressures on 620 pass blocks, 7.4%. The difference is nearly one pressure per game. 

 

And that's based on your premise of comparing his pressure rate to the median (which isn't determined, to be fair; we don't know what the median is, it could be higher than 5%, could be lower, I'm just using it as a starting point. Someone who wants to table the numbers would have a nice project on their hands.) 

 

I'm taking exception to that premise on two grounds. One, I don't want our starting RT to aspire to be average in pass pro. If he were average in pass pro, I'd be far less concerned and probably wouldn't have anything to say about him. And if someone were making an issue over his pressure rate, I'd make this comparison between an average pressure rate and a good one. I don't think this angle holds up when comparing a below average pressure rate with an average one.

 

Second, when your RT isn't great in pass pro and you have a good established vet at LT, it stands to reason that your protections are going to favor the right side of the line. I'd like to see how often we put our TE on the right side on passing downs. If they're already helping him with the scheme, and he still has a below average pressure rate, don't we need that to get better? 

 

Along those same lines, I was assuming that opposing Ds likely attack the right side more, so likely inflates the number a bit (comparable to LTs). Also, I based the 1%=6 pressures given the snaps you supplied (~600). If the delta was 1%, you're only looking at 0.375 more pressures per game. Honestly I don't want our RT to aspire to be average either, but if he's elite run blocking, and average or close to average pass blocking, I'm simply not going to worry too much in the grand scheme of things. If he could move to RG, I think we'd both be happy as his PB rating would likely increase a good amount.

 

 

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11 hours ago, BProland85 said:

 

I'm simply asking for others who may have watched the other game highlights of his last season to give me their take on how he progressed as the season went on. I am by no means questioning his ability to keep the starting RT spot. 

 

 He grades at near an Elite level run blocker and was graded down around the 45 best pass blocker.

What is hard to understand. He is what they thought he was when they drafted him.

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12 hours ago, BProland85 said:

Looking back on the 2019 season, I want to get some of your takes on how he progressed at RT. I just rewatched the highlights of him going against Joey Bosa and the Chargers, and he was beat repeatedly. Obviously Bosa is a great player, but one would hope being a highly drafted NFL starting RT, he would get the better of Bosa on numerous occasions as well. To have the best OL in the league, we can't have any liabilities at RT.

 

I haven't watched his highlights of all the other games yet from 2019, but wanted everyone else's take on how he progressed as the season went on. Especially those who did watch game highlights of his throughout the season. 


To be fair he wasn’t drafted as a RT his natural position coming out of college was at Guard, he happened to transition well into the Tackle position primarily based on need. He’s a young player he’s going to have his bumps and bruises especially against a savvy vet, but please believe that Smith is a very good Lineman and we are lucky to have him.

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3 hours ago, Superman said:

 

Do you mean every starter at RT, or do you mean every Colts starter? For the Colts, I'm not up at night worried about Braden Smith. But when he comes up, it seems like the tendency is to excuse his below average pass pro because a) we have a good OL, or b) he's a good run blocker, or c) he's young, or d) RT isn't a premium position, and on and on. I'm just saying, looking specifically at Smith's pass pro, he has to improve. If not, then consider alternatives (and a good run blocking RT who was drafted to play guard, there's automatically going to be suggestions to move him to guard). 

 

As for where he ranks in pressure % among RTs, PFF doesn't separate LT from RT, so I can't really give you that stat. But they do have a sack-weighted pass blocking efficiency stat, and in 2019 Smith was tied for 49th, out of 58 tackles who played at least 50% of snaps. Safe to say that puts him in "below average" range as a pass blocker.

 

I want him to be at a 5% pressure rate, or less. Not 7.4%, not 6.3%. 

 

 

I probably didn't say that exactly the right way. I just mean that among QBs with such a quick average time to throw, his sack rate is probably among the highest because there's no escapability in his game. And that's probably a Captain Obvious statement to make.

 

But we definitely agree that there's a lot that goes into sacks allowed, time to throw, etc. And Rivers is probably going to have one of the best OLs he's ever had, so a veteran with his savvy and grasp of the offense is going to be put in a really good situation. 

Thanks for the stats, @Superman. Very useful indeed. I was going to ask you, what level you need him to get to, for you to be OK with his pass protection(given he keeps high level run-blocking), but it seems like you shared that here. 

 

I too think he needs to get better in pass-pro. I wonder what % of those pressures were QB induced? Like... you gave the %s for 2018 with Luck throwing on time and you gave the %s with Brissett holding the ball more than needed. I wonder if he got better in 2019 but because Brissett took so much more time to get rid off the ball, it didn't show on the stat sheet? In other words is 6.3% pressure rate with 2.44 seconds to throw better than 7.4% pressure rate with 2.73? Rivers is generally more on the 2018 Luck side of getting rid off the ball quickly and on time (and avoiding sacks) so I guess we will have better idea about Braden's development  over the first several years of his career after this season when we can compare like for like. 

 

2 hours ago, Superman said:

Second, when your RT isn't great in pass pro and you have a good established vet at LT, it stands to reason that your protections are going to favor the right side of the line. I'd like to see how often we put our TE on the right side on passing downs. If they're already helping him with the scheme, and he still has a below average pressure rate, don't we need that to get better? 

I don't have the stat and I only saw it once before on twitter(I kind of regret not saving it because it was a great graph and now I cannot find it) so keep in mind I might be remembering it wrong, but it was a graph that graphed all OTs in the league and on the X-axis was % of snaps with no help and on the Y-axis was pass-protection win %.

 

The one I remember for sure was that AC in the upper left quadrant going WAAAAAAAAY left and was the tackle with the least help from anyone else in the league and he was still winning above average on those snaps. He was in a league of his own when it came to pass-protecting on an island, no other OT was close to him. This is the reason I was so concerned about a potential retirement of his. I don't exactly remember where Braden was. If I'm not mistaken he was somewhere in the middle when it comes to help given to him, but yeah - indeed we were skewing pass protection toward the right side.  

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14 hours ago, Superman said:

 

Per PFF:

 

In 2018, Smith allowed 38 pressures on 601 pass blocking snaps. That's a pressure rate of 6.3%. Luck's average time to throw was 2.44 seconds, and he took more than 2.5 seconds on 51.1% of his drop backs. (He only played 12 snaps at guard in 2018.)

 

In 2019, Smith allowed 46 pressures on 620 pass blocking snaps. That's a pressure rate of 7.4%. Brissett's average time to throw was 2.73 seconds, and he took more than 2.5 seconds on 62.2% of his dropbacks.

 

So yes, the fact that JB was slower to throw affected Smith's pressure stats, for sure. And we have seen studies that suggest that the OL gets too much blame for pressures allowed, and the QB/playcaller get too little blame. 

 

And along those lines, Rivers' average time to throw in 2019 was 2.48 seconds, and he took more than 2.5 on 53.2% of his drop backs. So it's reasonable to assume that Smith's pressure rate in 2020 will benefit from Rivers being the QB. Setting aside other variables, we could expect Smith's rate to go back to 2018 levels.

 

But here's my point: Smith's slightly better pressure rate in 2018 still wasn't very good as a RT. Good RTs have a pressure rate of 4-5%; great RTs around 3%. Dak Prescott's time to throw stats are similar to JB's, but La'el Collins has a pressure rate of 4.3%. 

 

And since Rivers is immobile, we should be ready for him to get sacked more than a QB with even average escapability, even with his quick decision making and our good OL. On the good 2018 team, Rivers got sacked 32 times, and his time to throw was still exceptional at 2.42 seconds.

 

Long story short, Braden Smith's high pressure rate is a significant indication of his being a below average pass blocker. This has to be better in 2020. If he's not getting better as a pass protector, we have to address that position, not just cover our eyes and say 'he's a good run blocker though!' 


Agree. It’s not release time...it’s the mobility and escapability...when a DE goes right around Smith. And with a QB like Rivers...this becomes a concern. Luck and JB both were very good at escaping...and it likely

masked some of the issues...but it’s hard to think that a 38 year-old Rivers is going to be able to do it. And there’s a chance the next QB after Rivers might not be any good at it either.
 

This is why I can see Ballard drafting a RT at some point in the future to compete...IF Smith hasn’t improved his pass protection.

 

The other side of this is how do they value Smith in an extension. 

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11 hours ago, EastStreet said:

Honestly I don't want our RT to aspire to be average either, but if he's elite run blocking, and average or close to average pass blocking, I'm simply not going to worry too much in the grand scheme of things.

 

I think there's evidence that he's firmly below average in pass pro. If he were average, I would have a lot less to say about his need to improve.

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9 hours ago, stitches said:

I too think he needs to get better in pass-pro. I wonder what % of those pressures were QB induced? Like... you gave the %s for 2018 with Luck throwing on time and you gave the %s with Brissett holding the ball more than needed. I wonder if he got better in 2019 but because Brissett took so much more time to get rid off the ball, it didn't show on the stat sheet? In other words is 6.3% pressure rate with 2.44 seconds to throw better than 7.4% pressure rate with 2.73? Rivers is generally more on the 2018 Luck side of getting rid off the ball quickly and on time (and avoiding sacks) so I guess we will have better idea about Braden's development  over the first several years of his career after this season when we can compare like for like. 

 

It's hard to quantify without a legitimate study of every snap, and that's not about to happen. We know that going from Luck to JB put a strain on every part of the offense; no one's job got easier because of JB. Ironically, AC's pressure rate was better in 2019 than in 2018 (if I remember correctly, AC had a 3 or 4 really bad games in 2018). Smith's was worse.

 

It will be better to compare Smith's development after Year 3. Rivers should make life a lot easier on the OL, and it sounds like the RBs are already seeing more touches in the passing game, so one of the common ways of mitigating pressure should be used more this year than last. 

 

Quote

 

I don't have the stat and I only saw it once before on twitter(I kind of regret not saving it because it was a great graph and now I cannot find it) so keep in mind I might be remembering it wrong, but it was a graph that graphed all OTs in the league and on the X-axis was % of snaps with no help and on the Y-axis was pass-protection win %.

 

The one I remember for sure was that AC in the upper left quadrant going WAAAAAAAAY left and was the tackle with the least help from anyone else in the league and he was still winning above average on those snaps. He was in a league of his own when it came to pass-protecting on an island, no other OT was close to him. This is the reason I was so concerned about a potential retirement of his. I don't exactly remember where Braden was. If I'm not mistaken he was somewhere in the middle when it comes to help given to him, but yeah - indeed we were skewing pass protection toward the right side.  

 

 

I was thinking of the same graph, just couldn't remember exactly how it was laid out and didn't want to overstate it. If you can find it, please post it. I just went through the AC retirement thread from this offseason and it wasn't there. Maybe it was a Warren Sharp post?

 

This will all be affected by Rivers, IMO. No doubt he knows protections better than JB (maybe better than Luck), he's going to sync with Ryan Kelly right away, he gets rid of it fast, he uses the backs both as protectors and as outlets, he can run a proper screen pass, etc. 

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Braden Smith was a high second round pick, not necessarily a value where you would expect a player to be plug in play right away without some development curve.  I think he has developed as expected.

 

The Colts always contended for the SB when we had Ryan Diem playing RT.  He was a 4th round pick who played well for a long time but was never a top tier RT, IMO.  

 

Braden Smith is probably as good now as Diem ever was, and could be even better with better RG play than he had last year.  JMO.

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I disagree with the premise of the thread that Smith was

On 8/19/2020 at 9:51 AM, BProland85 said:

 beat repeatedly

by Bosa.

 

I just rewatched the entire game and Smith faced Ingram and Bosa about 50/50 on passing downs.  He was beat by Ingram twice and beat by Bosa once.

 

From watching that game, the big area that Smith needs to improve upon (and maybe he did as the season went on) is his open field blocking, especially downfield.  He was not good at that in the Chargers game and now I want to go watch the other games to see if he improved through the season.

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On 8/19/2020 at 10:51 AM, BProland85 said:

Looking back on the 2019 season, I want to get some of your takes on how he progressed at RT. I just rewatched the highlights of him going against Joey Bosa and the Chargers, and he was beat repeatedly. Obviously Bosa is a great player, but one would hope being a highly drafted NFL starting RT, he would get the better of Bosa on numerous occasions as well. To have the best OL in the league, we can't have any liabilities at RT.

 

 

Highly drafted (2nd round) , and NFL starting RT? Coming out of Auburn he played RG and was an All-SEC RG. The Colts moved him to RT out of needs.

 

And to have the best anything you can't have liabilities anywhere, not just at one position.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Smith's best attribute is his strength which is the main reason he's so good at run blocking. His pass blocking still needs work but the guy literally was drafted as a Guard and switched to RT on the fly because of injuries. Joey Bosa is special and he's going to make plays no matter who you put in front of him.

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On 8/19/2020 at 12:46 PM, Myles said:

He was drafted as a guard,  

This is also very impressive:

 

Per PFF, Smith was their 12th highest graded tackle overall (6th among all RT’s) this past season with a +79.8 grade overall—including a +86.4 run blocking grade. He allowed 7.0 sacks and 46 total QB pressures—while committing just 5 total penalties in all 16 starts.

 

It seems to me though that based on that, Smith could hit his ceiling as a right guard where problems in pass protection could be shielded a bit by the fact that he doesn't face down speed rushers.  

 

That said at the same time I also recognize starting quality tackles are not easy to get your hands on.  Probably the 3rd hardest position to get a good player in behind QB and pass rusher.  So if we wanted to move him inside to right guard and get a "natural" tackle than we are looking at investing a first round pick to do it.  

 

So in a sense given that there are needs elsewhere on the field, it is a little bit of a luxury move.  

 

I wouldn't totally rule it out though. Ballard is really focused on having good fronts on both sides of the ball so to Ballard, other positions could be more of a luxury in his mind compared to having a top notch OL.  

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21 minutes ago, Valpo2004 said:

 

It seems to me though that based on that, Smith could hit his ceiling as a right guard where problems in pass protection could be shielded a bit by the fact that he doesn't face down speed rushers.  

 

That said at the same time I also recognize starting quality tackles are not easy to get your hands on.  Probably the 3rd hardest position to get a good player in behind QB and pass rusher.  So if we wanted to move him inside to right guard and get a "natural" tackle than we are looking at investing a first round pick to do it.  

 

So in a sense given that there are needs elsewhere on the field, it is a little bit of a luxury move.  

 

I wouldn't totally rule it out though. Ballard is really focused on having good fronts on both sides of the ball so to Ballard, other positions could be more of a luxury in his mind compared to having a top notch OL.  

It is a nice luxury to have.   It'd be nice to see him play at his natural guard position for a year.

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23 minutes ago, Valpo2004 said:

 

It seems to me though that based on that, Smith could hit his ceiling as a right guard where problems in pass protection could be shielded a bit by the fact that he doesn't face down speed rushers.  

 

That said at the same time I also recognize starting quality tackles are not easy to get your hands on.  Probably the 3rd hardest position to get a good player in behind QB and pass rusher.  So if we wanted to move him inside to right guard and get a "natural" tackle than we are looking at investing a first round pick to do it.  

 

So in a sense given that there are needs elsewhere on the field, it is a little bit of a luxury move.  

 

I wouldn't totally rule it out though. Ballard is really focused on having good fronts on both sides of the ball so to Ballard, other positions could be more of a luxury in his mind compared to having a top notch OL.  

 

 

He's would be a pro bowl guard IMO but is middle of the road as a Tackle.  MOR Tackles are more valuable than PB guards IMO.   

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Myles said:

It is a nice luxury to have.   It'd be nice to see him play at his natural guard position for a year.

 

Me too. . . with his high run blocking grade but low passing grade, right guard is the best place to take advantage of a OL who struggles in pass protection but is a good run blocker.  

 

That's why I think that might be where his ceiling is.  He might be a top 5 RG.  But because of his struggles in pass protection he's just an average RT.  

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