Player Game Analysis: LT Michael Roos v the Texans

As promised, here’s the first entry in what I plan to be a weekly series looking at how a key Titan fared in the previous week’s game. For this inaugural feature, I chose LT Michael Roos. In short, I was pretty pleased, but I’ll put all the commentary after the jump so as not to take away from the focus on tomorrow’s game against the Vikings.
Before I start, a couple notes. First, the official PBP may be handy, as I refer to plays by down and distance and time-this is almost 1500 words, so I thought I’d try to save some space. Second, my goal is to post these more than 12 hours before the next game is supposed to begin, but, well, that’s my life sometimes when I let it be. That said, I hope you enjoy this in-depth look.
One of the things I read about the Texans’ first game against the Steelers is that, while Williams had a couple sacks and other quarterback pressures, he was concentrating on the outside rush to the detriment of everything else. This sort of single-mindedness was apparent on the Titans’ first run of the game. Williams took an outside rush, and Roos simply let him, creating a nice hole for White. Roos clearly played the outside later-on the Titans’ pass at 2&6 1Q 8:26, Williams moved for the outside rush and Roos overcommitted-Williams beat him with an inside move, but Collins got the ball out before Williams could get there.
Roos had a tough challenge on the Titans’ 3&2 play at 1Q 10:45. The playcall was a WR screen to Jones on the left short side. Roos’s job was to chip RDE Williams, then get out and assist in the downfield blocking. He gets the chip, but at the cost of getting knocked down. He manages to get up, though, and pushes Jones and the defender forward for an extra yard-bad balance on the rush, but good hustle.
One telling thing about players can be when they give up on plays they’re not involved in. Collins’ first bootleg run is a good example of this-Roos, Amano, and the rest of the offensive linemen give up on the play and are standing around watching Kerry run-maybe semi-acceptable on a designed pass play, maybe, but I’d be concerned if this were a running play.
So, how is he on running plays? White’s TD run on 4&1 at 1Q 6:36 is a good example. The DE (I think it was Weaver, this time) made an outside move, and Roos held him in place with a seal. Not the sort of drive-blocking OT you saw a spate of in the mid-90’s (Ogden, Pace, Boselli, Walter Jones), but still effective. This sort of effectiveness probably is a good example of the primacy of the pass game in today’s NFL-it doesn’t matter much if Roos can’t collapse the left side of the line if he won’t let people get around him. The Titans 3rd drive is a good example of this-Williams took an outside rush the first two plays, and didn’t get anywhere, even when he got an early start.
Not to say that Roos was always successful though. The call at 1&10 1Q 2:31 was a stretch run left to White. Roos slanted left against Williams, but Williams was able to get good leverage against Roos and push him back. This eliminated White’s angle to the corner and forced him to cut back inside-White did well to lose only 1 yard on the play instead of 4.
One thing about Roos is he can, when the opportunity presents, get to the second level. The Titans’ run 1&10 1Q 1:20 was a good example of this-Scaife took Williams and Amano the DT, so Roos shot the gap and locked up a slow-reacting Morlon Greenwood, rendering him a non-factor in the play. Later in the same drive, 1&10 1Q :08, Roos showed off his mobility on a toss left. He immediately pulled, got to the outside hole and took out Greenwood with a diveblock, letting Johnson pick up about 4 extra yards. A slower, less agile OL clogs the hole, and doesn’t create extra yards.
Roos had some excellent work on the Titans’ 3rd TD drive (starting 2Q 8:31). Williams dropped into coverage the first play and Okoye stunted outside, but Roos easily handled him. On the second play, he took a slanting Mario Williams and pushed him (albeit playside) a good 6 yards downfield and didn’t stop until the play was over. The third play, another run right, Roos continued his domination of Greenwood, moving right and giving White 8-10 extra yards. The fourth play, Williams took another big outside rush, which Roos again easily handled. The fifth play, a run on 1&G from the 3, Roos got good push on Williams, though an outside seal might have been a better play. Then, on the White’s TD (which really did look like a TD from my vantage point around the 5), Roos was able to get excellent push against DT Frank Okam. In each of White’s runs, the pressure that stopped him came from the Titans’ right side, not the left where Roos was blocking.
One play I don’t understand: 2Q 1:08, 1&10. Roos and Stewart both chip, then act like they’re setting up a middle screen, but Johnson is in the right flat. Collins gets rid of the ball, thrown near Davis. I’m not sure what was supposed to happen here, but probably not what did happen. Another negative play by Roos two plays later-he has reasonable position for Williams’ outside speed rush, but, like Odom’s strip sack, lets the DE get around him. Thankfully, Collins has the ball in better position than he did the week before so the DE isn’t able to knock it out, but it’s still a negative play by Roos.
Make no mistake-Williams is a good defensive end. As a defensive end, you can make a couple potentially game-changing plays. One of those could have come 1&10 3Q 13:49. Williams took a first step strong to the outside, then cut inside. Roos, playing for the outside rush, was out of balance. Thankfully, Mawae was handling the DT, so Amano was able to slide off and cut off the rush, otherwise Collins is eating dirt.
Williams did end up with a couple tackles. He got credit for an assist on 2&4 3Q 13:10. Roos was blocking Okoye on the play, and handled him, while Williams was being blocked by Crumpler. Williams had another assist the next play, Hall’s run for 1 on 3&1. The Titans lined up 2-TE right, and the Texans responded by aligning the defense that way, all inside of Roos. Roos was able to help knock down Williams, but that wasn’t enough to prevent Mario from getting to the hole, and nothing Roos could do would have changed that.
Williams faked Roos out on the next play. He initially showed coverage responsibility, then started rushing after Roos moved to help Amano on Okoye. Unsurprisingly, Roos was unable to establish good position and barely managed to succeed in shoving Williams aside.
Roos gets praised by name for the announcers for his block on Williams (I think) on the play 1&10 3Q 7:19. It’s a pitch left to Johnson out with a teacup trips formation left. Roos is pulling, and has to seal off the defender, who’d gotten inside of Crumpler’s block on the line. Not his primary responsibility for the play, I don’t believe, but good recognition that helps his team avoid a loss on 1st down.
Roos had a good example of contain on the Titans’ run to his side 1&10 3Q 5:12. Roos stood up Williams, and the cutback lane was open (but for everybody else on the defense). Perhaps Roos’s worst move of the game came later in the same drive, as he moved early on 3&6 from the 13. The Texans were moving players around in front of him, but there’s still no excuse for that. He did better against a potentially confusing defensive front the play after the penalty, though, pushing aside LB Chaun Thompson and then getting downfield for a block against LB Diles.
Roos had a nice block on Williams on Johnson’s run for 14 at 3Q 1:49. Roos slanted right, and pushed Williams up the field, helping to create a nice cutblack lane. The stretch run left the next play was less of a success, though Roos fulfilled his responsibility of getting to the second level and getting on Greenwood.
Williams had his only solo tackle on White 3&5 4Q 5:48. This is a straight I-formation run the Texans were able to stuff. White tried to bounce it offside, but Roos had ineffectually tried to shove Williams and Mario was able to make the play on White. Even so, I can’t blame this on Roos, as the failure that defined the play had already occurred when his man made the play.
And that’s the last play that illustrates something I haven’t talked about. In terms of general impressions, I was fairly worried coming into this game about what kind of effect Williams would have against the pass game. I still had bad memories of Collins starting at the beginning of 2006 and just getting crushed by sacks. The almost empty scoresheet, in terms of quarterback pressures from Williams, is testament to the fact that Roos did his job pretty well. He’s not the flashiest guy in the world, and is much more a technician than a mauler, but I’m still quite pleased the Titans locked him up for years with a big extension this offseason.

Quantcast