Steelers Film Room: Jesse James Run Blocking Vs Bengals

I reserved some time earlier in the week to gives some props to second-year tight end Jesse James, who caught three big passes for the Pittsburgh Steelers on his three of five catchable targets. His early showing as a receiving target has been roughly as good as could be anticipated, I think

Upon further digestion of the game, however, I feel it necessary to also set aside some time to point out that he still has a ways to go when it comes to the blocking department. To put it bluntly, his performance was instrumental on a large portion of the Steelers’ negative runs during the game.

Of especially note was his very shaky performance whenever the team tried to use him as a move or lead blocker, a role that David Johnson was much more comfortable and successful executing, and which I will take a glimpse at tomorrow.

The impact of his run-blocking struggles was felt early, on the first play of their second drive. Prior to the snap, he motioned offset behind the right tackle, then pulled around left guard, looking to engage inside linebacker Rey Maualuga, but he could not stay engaged on the block, and the linebacker got in on the group tackle of DeAngelo Williams after a one-yard gain, though he was not solely responsible for this run stop.

Later in the quarter, on a run near midfield, James motioned offset behind the left tackle before pulling this time around right guard. On this play, Vincent Rey met him in the hole and quickly slipped off the block before making the tackle for no gain.

On the first play of the next drive, James motioned to behind the right guard and center before the snap and worked through that gap in an attempt to block Rey, but the linebacker overpowered him and pushed him off his mark, which allowed him to make the tackle on Williams for no gain once again.

Early in the second quarter, he drew the admittedly unenviable task of trying to seal Carlos Dunlap outside on an inside run. The Pro Bowl defensive end utilized his long arms to control the point of contact before shedding the block and making the tackle on Williams after a one-yard gain.

One last example I will highlight is another attempted block in space, this one again on Maualuga. The veteran linebacker used his strength to gain inside positioning, which James yielded too at ease, and when Williams was forced to cut the run back inside, was there to make the tackle. Had James made his block, there would have been a running lane through that gap.

This film study is not presented with the goal of trashing James, but rather pointing out an important area of his game, and of the team’s starting offense, that is a ripe target for improvement. The Steelers are keeping the second-year tight end on the field for every single snap, which probably wasn’t in the plans.

The bottom line is that, in some aspects of his assignments, he is in a bit over his head so far. That is okay as long as the Steelers are still winning, and he will improve over time. In the meantime, he is getting valuable hands-on experience.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Gizmosteel

    Not trying to be a James apologist but the bengals front is very stout against the run for a lot of teams. Nonetheless, I do hope James improves.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Matthew. Great points. Atkins and other are very good. Also, Ramon and AV usually move people and they were having a hard time. Even the high priced talent on the line could not move the Bengals DL on these plays. Check out the others.

    So I will be quite forgiving of Jesse as he has done some good things run blocking as well. He also needs to work on pass blocking.

  • steeltown

    Shows how important it is to have a player like Nix, or currently DJ on roster

    This group is getting it done, but I cant wait to get Nix back, just in time for LeVeon

  • David Paul

    100% of snaps for a guy terrible at his job. This is the difference between average coaches and a guy like Belichick, who puts players in position to succeed. Here and many other places, they are married to their systems and force square pegs into round holes.

  • David Paul

    Yeah, it’s more on the coaching staff for putting him in a position to fail time and time again.

  • Charles Mullins

    He looks a lot like a wide receiver on those blocks. Pulling is hard and i cant even imagine trying to do it against those guys but there is definitely technique to be learned there. He blocks with his right shoulder. Its almost like he is the linebacker taking on the block instead of the lineman blocking.

  • Steeler4l1f3

    Admittedly, I am a big Outlaw fan but his blocking needs improvement. He is 6’7, 250. He needs to be nasty and aggressive.

    Overall, I think the coaches see enough growth that they believe in his potential.

    But for now, I’ll take a good short passing option for conversions and a red zone threat.

  • SwagDaddy330

    In Munch we trust!

  • thomas hmmmm

    If out of 33 rushing attempts these are the worst plays you can find then I would say James did a great job. Because you only really found 3 poor blocking attempts.
    The first two gifs are a little iffy to judge his blocking and say he did a bad job.

    In the first gif he holds the block fine until a Bengals player pushes Maualuga off of the block. That looked like a fine block unless you really want to nit pick.

    The second gif James seals Maualuga from the play and it looks like with that fall backwards that Maualuga was trying to get a holding call. Either way the hole closed quickly and it was not James fault.

    All the others were good examples.

    In the third gif who really expects James to block Dunlap by himself? I would fault Ben on that play because he should have switched the play or changed the side that the play went to by having Williams change sides and put James in motion.

    In the fourth gif James should have laid the LB on his *ss, Hines Ward style, but he stopped and established a base giving momentum to the LB.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Do the math and look at those first two gifs which were not poor blocking attemps by James.. 3 bad blocking attempts out of 33 rushes(not including Ben’s scramble) then that is a pretty good percentage of successful blocking.

  • David Paul

    I’m talking about Haley.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Not poor? You have low standards. And I left out plenty of examples for the sake of brevity. He probably had more negative run blocks than neutral and positive combined.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Homer blinders. He slipped off every single block. I understand that some players are more popular than others, but objectivity is important.

  • Lil Smitty

    James is not another Heath, who could both block and catch passes. He seemed to have regressed in the blocking from tbe end of last season, when I thought he showed promise. The situation with the Steelers is who do they use in the formations, besides David Johnson who isn’t a good pass catching TE. Until Jesse gets some man-strength in a few years, he will always be a liability blocking the defenses front seven. Maybe by the time he is 25, he will be an above the line blocker.

  • I’m no analyst of technique but it seems like he’s stopping in the hole and breaking down in order to make contact but as a result can’t generate the power needed to move his guy out of the hole. James is in the way of the run as much as the defender on some of these.

  • srdan

    Those are tough blocks for anyone. But those two would probably do better.

  • Bryan Ischo

    I think the Patriots fanbase would be happy to have another cohort if you’re interested. Sounds like you like them better than the Steelers anyway.

    Other people have made much more reasonable commentary here. To wit, the Bengals are known to have a good run defense, and other Steelers players who are good at run blocking also struggled this game.

    Of the three clips shown, James blocking was hardly the worst in any of them and also was less contributory to the short yardage runs than other players.

  • Jeff Burton

    On almost all of your examples James completes his assignment, he just doesn’t engage the defender throughout the whole play. That’s not really the point of a run block. A run block is supposed to put a body in front of a defender long enough to create a gap and James does that. You don’t need to ‘drive’ someone to create a hole, the play’s designed to do that. James has some minor technique problems and can get tentative when blocking on the move but he’s working like hell to do his job. He isn’t a liability in the blocking game at this point and will only keep getting better. I would say he’s already an above average blocker in the age of receiving Tight Ends, he’s just not Heath. We need to get used to that because Heath was one of the last of a dying breed, the all-purpose TE.

  • Michael Martin

    You have your own homer blinders/confirmation bias. 1st gif he blocks his guy but unfortunately D-Will has already been wrapped up by someone else because D-Will chose incorrectly to go right instead of left. 2nd gif James completes his assignment (Barely) but Pouncey gets manhandled and that is really what destroyed that running lane. All in all, I agree he is still a poor blocker but he is young, tall and light. It was a very sloppy game in sloppy conditions. That said, thank you for breaking this down. I for one am definitely appreciating it because this is where I want to see our TE’s improving.

  • Jeff Burton

    Your definition of a bad block and mine obviously differ. Bad blocking in my mind is missing assignments and getting overpowered to the point of failure which isn’t happening to James. James completed his assignment on all the examples you give. He engaged his defender long enough to create a hole. What he didn’t do is keep control of them through plays that broke down and went on longer than they should have. I’ve watched all this game on DVR and I see very few blocks coaches are going to call out James on. He is still tentative when blocking on the move but I think that’s because he doesn’t want a player to beat him with speed. Seeing as he is inexperienced in this part of the game, that’s actually good thinking on his part. James is already an above average blocker for the age of receiving TEs. He’s just not Heath. And his receiving game has already arrived.

  • SwagDaddy330

    I am talking about Munch and making him better.

  • NinjaMountie

    Legit analysis, Matthew. You’re catching way too much flak for pointing out facts. It’s not like you’re saying that James is the worst TE in history, just that the weakest part of his game is his blocking. I agree.
    I’m sure he’ll improve leaps and bounds as the season progresses. There is nothing better than game time experience.

  • 20Stoney

    Looks like you upset some people with this one Matthew. Whether people want to admit it or not, he is not a good blocker at this point. He does however look like he wants to block, so that’s a positive. Some guys just don’t have the “want to.”

  • thomas hmmmm

    Like I said the first gif he blocked fine and drove the defender back a yard or two until another player comes from the side and pushes the man off of James’s block.. That happens all the time.. James was fine in the first gif.

    The second gif he also held his block fine and all Maualuga could do is try and dive backwards.. Could he have sealed him off better? Sure, he could have tried sealing Maualuga’s back to the sideline which would have prevented the dive, but it is really nit picking to say he didn’t block well on that play.

  • thomas hmmmm

    I assumed you picked the most egregious examples to prove your point.. Maybe I shouldn’t have assumed that but most people would have picked examples that would prove the point beyond a doubt.
    My standards are not low, maybe my expectations are too high when reading and the author is trying to prove a point.. Next time choose instances that definitively prove your point because gif 1 and gif 2 don’t.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Part of completing a block is sustaining it, so no, he did not complete any of his assignments. I can’t help but wonder if you would be so generous and forgiving of a player who wasn’t a fan favorite. The poster above you, for example, is constantly highly critical of Lawrence Timmons, yet very forgiving of Daniel McCullers.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Mauluga was working leverage to stack and shed James on that first gif. And he did.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I already knew that would happen going in. There are certain players on this team that you can’t write negatively about (James, McCullers, Nix, Chickillo, Rogers off the top of my head). There used to be a lot more players you weren’t allowed to write positively about, but I think the team is in a good enough position now where they can be complimented. Plus the biggest one, Blake, wasn’t re-signed.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think it has mostly to do with the fact that he is drawing different assignments this year. He’s basically getting Miller’s homework now and the team is asking him to learn on the fly. He was not intended to be in the role he’s in, and for that he is entitled to leeway, but his performance is still on tape for everybody to inspect…though in my opinion, some are less willing to see it for what it is than others.

  • Matthew Marczi

    There is definitely some hesitation involved. I noticed this last week as well.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Once again, the completion of your assignment includes sustaining it. Almost every blocking assignment is at least initiated, but if they weren’t sustained, the offense would never gain a yard. You are entirely too generous, and I’m glad you’re not James’ coach. He is *absolutely* a liability because his blocking is contributing to the production of negative plays. Above average blocker? Very far from it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I don’t write to “prove a point”. I don’t have an agenda. These are simply the sort of blocks that James carried out throughout the game. One would be hardpressed to even find good run blocks in the game from James to make a competing film room to “prove” the opposite “point”. He did not have a good game as a blocker, and that is all I was trying to convey. Obviously the people who are his biggest fans are highly selective with what they are willing to accept as a negative play.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I don’t think the weight he lost is helping him at all, at least in terms of blocking. I had hoped he would’ve come into camp heavier than last year, because as you said he looks an awful lot like a reciever. Maybe that’s the weight the team wants him to be?.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It would have been to no good if Williams tried to bounce that first run outside. And as I noted in the article, James wasn’t solely responsible for the failure of the first play, but he also failed to sustain his block and was shed by the defender within less than a second after the point of contact was established. That is not a good play.

    On what basis do you contend that James completed his assignment on the third gif? The defender did an excellent job of absorbing contact and shedding to immediately make the tackle. Simply touching a player with another jersey doesn’t mean you’ve done your job.

    I also never said that James is actually a poor blocker, and I tried to go out of my way at the end of the article to point out that I’m in no way trying to dump on him. I don’t think he is a poor blocker, but he is over his head right now because he is being asked to develop into an every-down player who draws every single blocking assignment, and it presents a very steep learning curve. This is not the role that he was supposed to be in, but Miller’s retirement, Spaeth’s degraded physical condition, and whatever is going on with Green, have thrust him into this role. I do wonder if the Steelers might not give DJ or Grimble a couple of snaps here and there in 11 personnel packages, especially if Grimble continues to establish himself as a receiver. I don’t think James needs to play every single snap.

  • SteelersDepot

    Damn you MM, you wrote negatively about JJ and positively about Timmons on the same day. These yinzers will have your head for less.

  • Michael Martin

    You obviously have a very high bar set for TE blocking. Me? I am apparently content if they can lovingly caress the oppositions Jersey.

    In the third gif, whoever our RG was, got pushed directly into the running lane collapsing it. James got stonewalled, but what he did would have been good enough for some yards if our RG hadn’t gotten beat one on one.

    Regarding James, I think he IS a poor blocker as far as the blocking demands for a full time starting TE in the NFL go and from everything you said in the article you pretty much implied the same thing. We just don’t currently have a complete triple threat tight end that can run block, pass block and be a receiving threat as well. James and Grimble both have tantalizing potential to become that guy. Johnson is a great blocker but likely will never become Jordan Reed.

    I agree with most everything you are saying, but the failure of these plays isn’t strictly on James’ barely adequate blocking. I also agree he should be sharing more 11 personnel snaps with Grimble. Simply because competition breeds excellence.

  • James’s coach is James Daniels, not Munchak.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Rarely is any one player solely responsible for the failure of a play, of course. I don’t think he bares primary blame on the first play. I do think he deserves more blame than DeCastro on the third gif, and think there would have been a sufficient running lane if he hit his block there. Williams should have been able to go either to the left or right of James if he didn’t just use his shoulder and lose the block, and the left path would have been available.

  • Michael Martin

    And if 92 didn’t impose his will on DeCastro, D-Will could have bounced to his right. I personally put more responsibiltiy there on DeCastro. Hard for me to expect a 6’7″ 245 pound 21/22 year old to do much more than he did on that play

  • I wonder if any of you guys think Green will be a better blocker? I’m not so sure. That being said at least James is a willing participant. Hopefully bet the end of the year, he will have shown some improvement. This is a small sample size but I’ll be willing to bet, he wasn’t much better on the other 28 or so rush attempts.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I can understand that with the relative perspective of where the two players are at various stages of their respective careers. If we are looking purely from an Xs and Os standpoint, though, which is what I try to do first and foremost while supplementing with player-specific reasoning, James definitely could have done much more on that play. But you’re right, and I think we clearly agree, he is being asked to do more than he is ready for, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

  • Michael Martin

    Very much so, he needs another 20 pounds of muscle and at least another year of part time blocking experience before we can expect above the line full time blocking from him. I think Johnson would have done much better against Maualuga. Experience plus just sheer physics of leverage. Even X-Man. Grimble just looks stronger at this point and has a lower center of gravity. Drawback with Johnson is we are telegraphing run by using him much like we did with Spaeth. Green doesn’t even offer much in the blocking realm. I will be happy when Nix is back. Maybe Deebo wants FB snaps…

  • thomas hmmmm

    Sorry, but you’re writing to prove a point as that is the entire point of the introduction. Your agenda is stated in the introductory paragraphs. That is a fundamental of writing.

    ” To put it bluntly, his performance
    was instrumental on a large portion of the Steelers’ negative runs
    during the game.”
    That is your point of the gifs to prove what you are saying in this paragraph.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Maulugas leverage wasn’t working because he was getting pushed backwards.. Until the nickle back and #17 on offense run into Maualuga and free him.

  • David Paul

    Even if Munch was working with him, let him get better in practice, not in games. I’d sacrifice his slightly better receiving skills and put DJ in there.

  • David Paul

    I figured you didn’t want to write a 30-page article. PFF graded him very low because of his blocking. Good write up, Matt.

  • k33ger

    I’d love to see a weekly breakdown of his blocking through the season. It’d be interesting to actively chart a young players development. Or maybe just do it for divisional games, and this way we can actually compare 1st and 2nd game vs the same players (injuries aside). Probably just as useful and a lot less work lol.

    I like James, and I think he has potential to be an excellent TE for the Steelers. I’m not sure what his ceiling is, but definitely a TE2, which I believe is what he was supposed to be this year. (Based on signing Green). He doesn’t seem to have great speed, but he does have excellent hands.

    What I like most about him though is his attitude. He is not shying away from those blocks and he makes tough catches and hits as a receiver.

    Back to the article, I am curious about his movement in the hole in that game. He pauses a little and tries to use his shoulder more. I wonder if that’s a pure technique issue, or if that is weather driven. is he pausing because he didn’t want to slip? Are there examples of him doing the same thing in week 1, which was not rain filled?

  • k33ger

    well there was earlier articles stating that Green was actually a decent/good blocker, but under-utilized in San Diego. He’s a little older so I presume a bit stronger, and that would help a little.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Thanks, David.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yes, regarding Grimble, I’ve noticed that every time both he and James are in the game together and they draw a blocking assignment, Grimble has been the in-line blocker on every single snap. That can’t be a coincidence. And yes, I’m very much looking forward to Nix returning, or at the very least I hope the coaching staff recognizes James’ struggles in space and allows Johnson to handle all or most of those assignments.

  • Matthew Marczi

    That doesn’t happen. That is not what is happening there on the play. Maualuga was not knocked off of James’ block. That is a highly selective interpretation of what you’re seeing there, and would be harder to maintain if you could see a replay of the play on full screen in slow motion, or with the coaches’ tape. Is it so hard for you to believe that he struggled? I’m not the only person who has written about it. Jon Ledyard, who wrote for us last season, had a very similar take, and Pro Football Focus listed him as one of the worst players of the week.

  • Michael Martin

    Grimble is definitely better at blocking at this point. Dude has crazy shoulders. I wouldn’t take all blocking duties away from James however, just because it would tip our hand and stunt his development. I really look forward to both of their future contributions as they develop into all around TE’s. Heath will be missed in the mean time.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Thanks for your comment, and as far as future film rooms go, we do tend to favor revisiting players who are in development, so while we probably won’t be doing a weekly thing, I would imagine that you will see James featured in his fair share of these over the course of the year.

    I definitely agree that James was not meant to be the top tight end. Not this year, and perhaps not ever. They signed Green to be the top guy for a reason. What I do wonder is what they knew about Spaeth’s condition and the likelihood of his ability to play this year back in March. I think a solid number two is a reasonable ceiling projection for James at the moment, with the chance of him improving beyond that.

    I also agree about his attitude. Whatever deficiencies he may have on the field, by all accounts he has the right demeanor for the game, and has seemed to take everything head on. He probably knows as well as anyone that he is probably being tasked with more than he’s ready for, but he’s not backing down from it and just taking it as it comes and trying to get better for every success or failure on the field. That more than anything will dictate how much he will improve.

    I think you are right to point out the hesitation, and this is something that I have seen in the previous game, as well as at times in the preseason, so unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be related much at all to the weather. I will say that they seemed to be using him as a move blocker this week than they have, so that is probably something a bit new to him and likely contributed to him performing worse than he might have otherwise.

  • renoir

    What do we know about Green’s blocking ability?

  • Matthew Marczi
  • renoir

    thanks for the link Matt, shame he didnt have an offseason working with Mularkey. After reading the article blocking wise ,it sounds, we dont really know yet what we have yet…

  • Charles Mullins

    Pulling is like special teams, you gotta be special to do it. You are literally taking a running start and unloading on someone who is doing the same. There is hesitation for a reason. It hurts. He will get over it. Lineman learn to love it, but TEs would much rather chip and catch a pass. He has taken great strides since the beginning of last season and he is on a crash course now.

  • Steelers_DaBus

    he is too tall to go low

  • k33ger

    Well hopefully there is a simple technique they can teach him, like aim at the other guys hips. I am starting to think Nix might be out for a few more weeks, he just seems to have that dreaded lingering injury.

  • Arthur Branch

    We teach our 8u team to drive through their blocks until they here the whistle. I am sure all the other teams in our league do too. JJ has to get a bit more aggressive with his blocking. Once he does that I say cut Green save the cap room.

  • John Pennington

    James needs to step up get on his blocks and do his job if he wants to keep his starting job and keep the rbs and Ben clean

  • SwagDaddy330

    Pretty sure that Munchak probably works with the TE’s on blocking too. Could be an off the wall guess tho.

  • Guess you didn’t listen to Tomlin’s press conference on Tuesday, Tomlin was asked about that. It’s James Daniels, who himself was an O-line coach for a while. James is willing blocker, he will get better with action, albeit he’ll never be Miller…

  • Jeff Burton

    Okay, you forced me to rewatch every snap of James’ blocks in slow motion. The criteria for a successful block is, you put your body in front of someone and it disrupts their
    movement and keeps them out of the play FOR THE WAY IT WAS DESIGNED. He is NOT responsible for when the play moves away from him and the defender follows it, which I think you are interpreting as not sustaining a block. While there are some technique issues, such as James’ pad level is too high to effectively drive, you don’t get points for form or looking like a badass in replays. He had one hold and one tackle that was away from the play that weren’t called and two blocks where his inability to sustain resulted in the play not being executed as it should. Out of 74 offensive plays that is a well above average effort. Even with his minor technical shortcomings he was never overpowered to the point of failure. He also had NO FAILS in pass blocking. I will say it again he is an ABOVE AVERAGE BLOCKER for a TE in this era and I don’t think you are critiquing his blocking as his coaches are. You seem to be judging him compared to Heath Miller, one of the all-time best blocking Tight Ends who functioned as an extra pulling guard most of his career.

  • Jeff Burton

    Also, a ‘negative play’ is one that results in negative yardage. James was responsible for no plays having negative yardage.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m judging him based on his performance in accomplishing what he is asked to do. I am not unique in my opinion. Here is what Jon Ledyard wrote about James earlier this week (in an article that is behind a paywall at Steel City Insider):

    “James has not performed well as a blocker through two weeks now, despite his ample contributions to the offense as a whole. It might be easy to pick on the second-year tight end because he hasn’t missed a single snap all season, but watching James on tape reveals some fundamental flaws in his technique.

    As a blocker, your upper half can only accomplish what your lower half puts you in position to do, meaning your footwork and your base are the pivotal aspects of the equation. James is putting the cart before the horse and attacking defenders with his upper body before taking the proper steps. This really gets him into trouble when he is asked to scoop a defender shaded outside of him, as James cannot work to the playside shoulder without first taking a proper reach step, and then attacking with a solid punch. Instead, the tight end is shooting his hands first, and the defender is initiating the movement outside, which results in James chasing his backside shoulder, rather than working across his opponent’s face. Until he fixes that fundamental flaw, he’ll continue to be a liability as a blocker.”

    Here is what Pro Football Focus wrote about him in two separate articles:

    In an article as being one of the 10 lowest-graded players of the week:

    “Jesse James, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (33.1)

    Jesse James caught three passes from Ben Roethlisberger for 29 yards and a touchdown, so it might seem like he had a good day according to the box score. But my oh my, was he ever having a tough time blocking. James was beaten like a drum to the tune of seven run stops. Even on plays where he didn’t surrender the stop, he allowed his man to completely disrupt the intention of the play.”

    In an article about being the lowest-graded tight end of the week:

    “Tight end: Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers, 33.3

    As mentioned in our 10 worst players of the week article, James wasn’t really that bad as far as receiving goes. However, he struggled mightily when it came to blocking (specifically run blocking). He allowed a team-high seven run stops and had countless more snaps where his man blew up the play.”

    There is no conspiracy to slander Jesse James. It’s just a lot of people noticing that he is struggling as a blocker.

  • Jeff Burton

    I’m also a writer. I write the Armchair GM column for the Pittsburgh-Blitz. I’ve been looking closely at James and Villanueva because I’m getting ready to write about all the ‘newbies’ and it is not the first time I’m running counter to current when it comes to Steelers personnel. Everybody was deeming Kelvin Beachum a near Pro Bowl talent a few years ago. I watched every snap he ever played with the Steelers almost all of them in slow motion as I have James. With Beachum I pointed out he was getting help from a TE, RB, and Ramon Foster and displaced way too deep for his entire career with the Steelers. I labeled Beachum expendable and now he’s gone. I’m telling you now that James is already an above average as a blocker because he is. A blocking failure is failure to to allow the play to be executed as designed, Period. Yes, everybody expects players to play through to the whistle and James is doing that but whatever occurs after the play changes, if the running back picks another hole or it changes direction, is whatever happens. As I said, James has some technique problems. His pad level is almost always too high to effectively drive and he’s tentative when he’s pulling. Both of those tendencies can get taken care of with coaching and EXPERIENCE. He is doing a good job in pass blocking and isn’t getting overpowered even with his technical flaws. The thing is, he’s TRYING LIKE HELL to do a good job. And as far as his receiving goes, he’s already arrived. I think what you and Alex do here is great. I often post your articles to our FB page but at times I’m at odds with your personnel assessments. Take care.

  • Jeff Burton

    Thomas, I’m in agreement with you. See my comments above. ^^^

  • Jeff Burton

    And whoever wrote of James, “He allowed a team-high seven run stops and had countless more snaps where his man blew up the play.” is being absolutely ludicrous. That writer has no clue what he’s talking about. James is not personally responsible for ‘seven run stops’. That was a failure AS A TEAM. He also wasn’t ‘blown up’ on ANY PLAYS, let alone ‘countless more’. A blow up is knocking the player on his ass and that hasn’t happened, not even once. That dude is talking out his fundamental orifice.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Beachum got no more help with tight ends and running backs than anybody else did. In fact, he got less. I have the charting data to prove it, and much of the charting I did myself. Please forgive me if I ignore your analysis in favor of my own. I believe you’re wrong, very much so, in saying that James is anywhere close to an above average blocker in comparison to today’s tight ends.