Round Two: Flozell Adams vs. Jonathan Scott Goes to Scott

If you were worried about Steelers right tackle Flozell Adams’ play in the preseason opener against the Lions, you probably popped a couple of Tums Saturday night.

Given a second chance to prove that he’s ready to be the Steelers’ right tackle, Adams seemed to be looking to make it an open competition. In 21 snaps, Adams gave up three quarterback pressures (although one could be blamed on Ben Roethlisberger holding the ball).  He was also flagged for a holding penalty, and made one tackle when Isaac Redman ran over Adams as he stood in the hole without blocking anyone.

There seemed to be two themes to Adams’ struggles. After Lions’ defensive end Cliff Avril beat him with a speed rush, Adams did everything they could to avoid a repeat performance. But that meant that he slid outside too quickly on Saturday. Too often that left a massive hole between him and right guard Trai Essex which Giants defensive ends took advantage of by looping back inside.

The other problem Adams appeared to have was one of hesitation. There have been stories mentioning Adams’ difficulty in learning the Steelers’ playbook in a short period of time. On Saturday there were plays where it looked like Adams was too busy thinking “who do I block?” to fire out and put a hurting on a defensive lineman.

The Steelers’ coaching staff had talked about getting Jonathan Scott some work with the first team. In some ways that was true–some of the first team offensive line was still in the game when he entered. But in reality Adams got the first 21 snaps and Scott got the final 41 (although I didn’t chart the final two kneel downs).

So how did Scott do? Pretty well. He did get to face second and third-teamers in general, but Scott did block Justin Tuck and other Giants starters early in his Saturday work. In general, he wasn’t always pretty but Scott got the job done. His worst blocks were much better than Adams, and his best blocks were better too. For more detail, here’s my notes from charting each snap for the two right tackles.

Play No. Flozell Adams’ results Successful block?
1 Adams gives punch to Tuck then slides off to block DT, helps Mendenhall to a nice gain, although Heath Miller actually seals the corner Yes
2 Adams blocks Tuck, slides to his right on bootleg left. Yes
3 Adams gives solid protection, walls off Justin Tuck Yes
4 Adams slow to get out of stance. Gives Tuck an ineffective shove No
5 Adams asked to block down (on DT) on a reverse. OK block Yes
6 Adams shoves Tuck to the ground. Excellent block Yes
7 Adams pulls to the left. Never finds anyone to block Yes
8 Adams slides too wide, leaves Tuck opening to duck inside almost untouched. Charged with pressure allowed on Roethlisberger INT No
9 Adams fires out quickly looking for a LB to block. Never really finds one. Yes
10 Adams helps out Essex on block, then slides off to give shove to LB Yes
11 Adams shadows Tuck at first, but Roethlisberger holds, ball which allows Tuck to look around inside of Essex for pressure Yes
12 Adams blocks inside gap. Poor effort, never blocks anyone No
13 Adams DTs Tuck with Miller, gives shove which drives Tuck back on successful run his way Yes
14 Adams takes two steps forward, unsure of who to block. Redman runs over his back, so essentially Adams tackles Redman No
15 Adams gives quick block to Joseph, but loses him to inside. No
16 Adams too high as Tuck goes low. Wraps up Tuck and throws him to ground for holding call. No
17 Adams again sets too wide, allowing gap between him and Essex. #94 takes advantage to flush Roethlisberger from pocket. Pressure allowed No
18 Adams does good job on DE. Sends him wide, stays between him and Roethlisberger. Yes
19 Adams fires out, but misses block on Keith Bulluck who records tackle No
20 Adams gives punch, then slides outside for screen pass, but Giants blow up the play Yes
21 Solid block on DE on three-step drop Yes
Play No. Jonathan Scott’s Results Successful block?
1 Fires off ball well gets a good block on OLB. Yes
2 Scott asked to block down. Finds a LB and gives decent push. Yes
3 Scott does good job with difficult read. Lets TE take DE lined up on him because he sees a blitzing LB. Picks up the blitzer and stops him cold. Yes
4 Scott locks up Tolleson, but DE slides off to make tackle No
5 Scott sees no one rushing from outside, so slides inside and locks up LB. Excellent block. Yes
6 Scott gets caught with slow feet. Has to lunge to hang on to push DE past Lefwtich. Not pretty but it worked. Yes
7 Excellent block as Scott stops DE in his tracks. Allows Leftwich to let lose with TD bomb to Wallace Yes
8 Scott goes to second level. Struggles to find someone to block, but ball is run other way, so it doesn’t matter. Yes
9 Scott again makes possibly wrong read. Sticks with DE who was lined up on him. DE slanted inside, where he could have been handed off to Legursky. LB comes unblocked off Scott’s outside shoulder, pressures Leftwich because Moore can’t get over from other side until late in blitz pickup. Scott’s man continues inside, slides off Legursky to force Leftwich to run. No
10 Plays a little high, but regathers his feet and stops DE. Yes
11 Not much to do on fake spike/QB sneak. Yes
12 Blocks down adequately on quick throw. Yes
13 Part of group of OL stood up at line as Moore stuffed on goalline play. No
14 Poor block on a LB, caught lunging as LB slides around him. No
15 No one really to block (asked to block down). Keeps looking for someone. Yes
16 Good job of using his hands to keep DE from every getting anymomentum. Yes
17 Does get driven back (his feet slide back while DE gives bull rush), but he keeps Dixon’s pocket clean. Yes
18 Scott misses on a cut block. His man gets into backfield to force a cutback. No
19 Quick drop and throw. Scott stands up, gives quick punch. Yes
20 Plays patty-cake with DT as neither tries really hard. Yes
21 Pushes on DT, but not enough as his man helps on tackle. No
22 Nice job giving seal on LB on Redman’s touchdown. Yes
23 Decent block at first, but doesn’t stay locked up. His man slides off to make tackle. No
24 Solid job on quick throw. Yes
25 Takes a nice step inside, then gets the seal on OLB to create hole for Vincent’s 18-yard run. Yes
26 Walls off DE on run the other way. Yes
27 DE doesn’t give much effort. Easy successful pass block for Scott. Yes
28 Puts his man on the ground then lays on him on Dixon run to outside. Yes
29 Gives nice push as Steelers right side of line caves in Giants DL. Yes
30 Poor block. Tries to cut his man, but it doesn’t work. LB meets Wright in hole, but Wright runs over him for TD. No
31 Drives his man back on run the other way. Yes
32 Helps Urbik/Johnson cave in Giants left side of line on run the other way. Yes
33 Drives DE off the screen with help from Johnson. Yes
34 Solid job. Helps Urbik with his man, slides off to catch quick reacting LB. Yes
35 No one to block on quick throw other way. Yes
36 Decent job protecting Dixon, but his man reaches up to knock down pass. No
37 Slow off snap, but teams with Johnson to again destroy DE. Yes
38 Puts OLB on the ground. Yes
39 Solid block on bootleg for first down. Yes
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  • Ted

    Good stuff. If you chart Tony Hills’ plays, particularly in the run game, they will look more impressive. Granted, they all came against reserves, but he looked much more athletic and was playing LT.

    At this point, the Steelers’ best lineup may be either Hills at LT with Starks at RT, or Starks at LT with Essek at RT, or Adams at LT and Starks at RT.

    We know Starks can play RT and he has plenty of experience at that spot. He is better at LT no doubt. However, he has volunteered to switch and it is now clear that Adams is slow and old, and having to learn a new scheme and new position is too much for him. I say we give him a try at the position he has been playing since Clinton was in the White House.

    Scott did play better on Saturday but is not a solution for the starting line-up. This offensive line, sad to say, will likely keep Pittsburgh out of the playoffs and get Leftwich destroyed in the first couple of games.

  • ToddInSyracuse

    Like the format JJ…

    How long do you think Adams will be given to straighten himself out? At the very least, Scott has earned himself more PT.

  • Bigswa

    The question of who the better player is isn’t a mystery. Adams is the better player. The question to be answered is if he can make the transition to RT and learn his assignments. Essex next to Scott would be terrible. Two Journeyman guys who wouldn’t start for at least 3/4 of the league.

  • Neal

    I agree with Ted, the story of this game was Tony Hills. I think he did a great job, but would like to see how he panned out in comparison to Starks.

    I’m not sure I would go as far as saying Hills should start, but I think he’s finally coming into his own. It’d be nice to see a middle ground in a third round pick; if he can’t be Mike Wallace, it’d be nice if he didn’t have to be Bruce Davis.

  • Neal

    Whoops…Hills was a fourth-round pick. My bad…I’m just used to labeling our third-rounders “busts.”

    And even then, it’s not too bad, I guess. Wallace, Essex and Ike vs. Davis, Willie Reid…call it a draw on Spaeth. Not a bad haul.

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