Did you fall off the Owen Schmitt wagon? Bite the anti-hype and ride the backlash? Poor you, but there's time yet!
Schmitt is a fantastic lead blocker, and, yes, a howitzer in Justin Forsett's arsenal. It's not just that Schmitt is effing-wow, but that Forsett thrives behind a lead blocker. It's that whole "+" second gear thing. Forsett is not as quick to the hole as a scat back. He's quick enough, sure, but not zoom, boom, Reggie Bush into his own guard quick. No, it's Forsett's speed exiting the hole, angling past his lead blocker, that makes him special.
Check it out:
Forsett w/ lead blocker
Yards to 1st Down/TD: 117%
Forsett w/o lead blocker
Yards to 1st Down/TD: 95%
Which isn't to say he's bad without a lead blocker, just that he's better with Schmitt (9 times) or David Kirtman (once) involved.
But let's get back to Schmitt.
Fifth play of Seattle's second drive of the fourth quarter. 2nd and 5, Chicago 16. Seattle breaks 3 WR, Split Backs. Bears in a base 4-3. At the snap, Floyd Womack, who had a very solid half, blocks in engaging Matt Toeaina. That frees Pat Murray to pull left. Ben Claxton pulls up and patiently sits between Rod Wilson and the offensive left, engaging Wilson when Wilson begins rushing towards Forsett. With Womack attacking in, Murray pulling out left and Claxton attacking the middle of the second level, defensive end Ervin Baldwin is unblocked until -- a screaming comes across the sky. Schmitt staggers Baldwin, jogs him downfield and picks Craig Steltz. Steltz, forced to flatten his pursuit angle and engage Forsett horizontally, compensates by facemasking Forsett.
If that were it, that'd be sweet, but that's not it, no that's not half of it.
Overtime, fourth play of Seattle's first drive. 1st and 10, Chicago 36. Seattle breaks 2 WR, TE, SB. Bears in a base 4-3. Seattle is running a sweep play left, with both guards, left guard Murray and right guard Mansfield Wrotto, pulling. At the snap, Schmitt again attacks the right defensive end, but this time strikes with such force that he levels both end Nick Osborn and tackle Toeaina. That pileup picks all three linebackers and Forsett sweeps untouched into the second level. (Wrotto, by the way, ran out of gas, falling before he could engage his block. Too bad too, because Wrotto's assignment, Rod Wilson, went on to tackle Forsett.) For all the hype justifiably surrounding Forsett, Schmitt deserves much love. His run blockin' got me wonderin' "Weaver who?"
It can't all be strawberries and concussive lead blocks. No, and you never want to take a man's livelihood, but Kyle Williams needs to drop 10 pounds of pads and get the hell off this roster. Yikes, what a showing. Six blown blocks in a half+ of play, utterly undoing his modest contributions in Minnesota; it wasn't just that Williams was frequently failing but that Williams was ever struggling. Sorry guy, even on the 80 there's better uses for your roster spot.
- Logan Payne is fun. He does these weird exaggerated cuts, once windmilling and another time doing something resembling a hamstring stretch before about-facing for the reception. He's a good support blocker on runs and had a good half matched mostly against Corey Graham. Graham looked lost. Watching the pocket and covering Payne as an afterthought.
- Wrotto, Wrotto, Wrotto, sometimes the bull, sometimes the matador. I love his potential - especially as a pull blocker - but his blitz awareness, a bugaboo in preseason, is a fatal flaw come fall. Get him on a man and he'll drive him into the tunnel, push him into the dirt and make orphans of his children, but overload his zone and Wrotto becomes the door to the clown car. In a year or two, Wrotto should be an excellent left guard.
- Lance Laury is not a smart pass defender. On his touchdown reception, Kellen Davis quickly passed Laury. Laury, defending a very shallow zone, was still in decent position, but broke towards the line of scrimmage, perhaps anticipating a crossing route, and allowed Davis good separation in the end zone. Caleb Hanie made it fun with a rocket-toss nearly over the 6'7" Davis, but the coverage was blown and the TD a near certainty. Oh you wacky Chicago quarterbacks and your suck-fest shenanigans.
- Speaking of which, how uninspired is Ron Turner's playbook. Kevin Hobbs caught the gift of the game when Turner cued up his 50 billionth curl, dig or out towards the sideline. Turner's play calling matched with the Bears quarterback crapacity could challenge the all-time interception record.
- I love Jamar Adams' range. Whatever his forty, he's football fast, with quick reactions and confident angles. In the second half, the Bears recorded one long reception, of only two deep pass attempts, and the blown coverage was indubitably Kelin Johnson's. Not that Johnson played poorly. Both players executed Seattle's preferred keep`em underneath secondary scheme, and combined with the pass rush and a swarming linebacker corps, stymied Chicago's offense.
- Baraka Atkins looked 100% livelier than he ever did last season and Jason Babin 100% more valuable. On the second play of Chicago's first drive, 2nd and 11 on the Chicago 46, Atkins and Babin put on a miniature pass rush clinic. Bears break 2 WR, TE, I. Seattle in a base 4-3. At the snap, Atkins sprints into an edge rush (!) eventually outpacing Kirk Barton and closing in on Hanie from behind. Meanwhile, Babin cuts through the left "B" gap and closes in on Hanie from the front. Hanie, surrounded by pressure, outlet-passes to Lousaka Polite. Josh Wilson, passes off Brandon Rideau (who missed the snap and stood spellbound for nearly a second before starting his route) and breaks on Polite, catching him in the backfield for a loss of 2.
- With eight seconds before the two minute warning, and Seattle 2nd and 2 on their own 40, who couldn't predict a draw to T.J. Duckett? Lovie Smith, that's who. It went for 10.
- Note to Warren Moon: It's tacky to complain about your job. Tackier to complain on television. I'm not going to hold you to an impossible standard, sure yours is a dream job for many, but work long enough and every career becomes a job. And I know you and Joe Buck were destined for the Sorbonne. Hard-scrabble days of furious typing between bumming for food and board, before cruel fate, cronyism, nepotism, back-slapped you into the easiest job on earth, but save your bitching for your LiveJournal, alright? Thx.
- Charlie Frye is not only slow to read, often slow to react, but also makes his own pressure by mismanaging the pocket. Send a nickelback or safety on a blitz and Frye will dash, overextend the pocket and cause collapse. Somebody, tell Charlie to step up where it's safe. Somebody? Somebody? Crazy legs looks awfully reminiscent of Aaron Brooks sometimes. Awful-ly.
- Nowhere to put this but worth saying, Pat Murray is an excellent lead blocker with an outside shot to make the roster.