Red Bryant finally took the field on Friday, playing all but 3 series. Over his 46 plays, one word could define Bryant: Bad. No. Awful. No. LazyAwfulBadShamefullyLazyBad. I think that's German. Let's take a look at the dimensions of Bryant's failure.
Bryant subbed in on Oakland's third offensive drive, replacing Craig Terrill. Excepting his occasional looks at the nose on goal-line five man fronts, Bryant played exclusively from the left defensive tackle position. In five of the six plays, Bryant was easily blocked out of the play, mostly by third string center (but playing right guard) Chris Morris. Morris, an organizational player on the bubble, must have thanked his lucky stars he pulled such an easy assignment in such a crucial game. Bryant's lone acceptable play, a read and react where he kept Morris out of his body and coasted left collapsing the hole, was noteworthy only because it broke the monotony of ineffectiveness. Bryant recorded the tackle, but really was but one in a sea of Seahawks defenders.
Bryant picked it up a bit in his second drive. On the first play he was lost in the pile. On the second, he was again easily blocked out by Morris. On the third, he effectively clogged the middle, holding the point and allowing his teammates to tackle Michael Bush after a rush of one yard. Then he showed some life, putting a good bull rush on Seth Wand and helping to disrupt the Raiders screen pass. On the fifth play, he again got a good jump off the line, but again was easily neutralized by Morris who put his hands high on Bryant's shoulders and stymied his pass rush.
The beat went on for Bryant, qualifying for notes of "lazy" (1), "slow" (1), "nada" (1), "blown off line" (1), "gives up" (1) and "lost" (2) before looking good on the final play. His performance on 3rd and 6, helping to stifle a run behind right guard, is how Bryant should look on every play and must look on the majority of plays. Exploding off the snap, Bryant discards Morris, but reading run, stays over his two gaps, free of a blocker and effectively controlling both. D.D. Lewis grabbed the tackle, but Bryant made the play.
With 1:11 left in the half, John Marshall reclined into self immolation mode. Bryant did his part, but looking okay on the first two plays: avoiding a cut block and gliding to the hole on the first and exploding off the snap and forcing Morris back on the second. On the third play, Bryant was blown off the ball and Bush ran up the middle for an easy nine and the first. Fourth and fifth, back to no impact, no effort: "nada". At that point, Bryant was benched and Kevin Brown substituted in. Seattle, playing prevent, allowed an easy three, employing a strategy I can already see will piss me off all season.
For two plays, Bryant showcased one of his better skills: staying off his blocker and picking his way to the ball. On this brief three play drive to start the second half, that's about as good or bad as it got for Bryant.
Bryant picked it up a bit in the second half, challenging my first assumption explaining his inadequacy: bad conditioning. After competently handling a double team, Bryant had one of his handful of good plays. At the snap, Bryant shows good burst, putting a grown man push on Morris, moving outside and forcing an uncalled hold before pressuring Andrew Walter. On the next play, Bryant again gets a good jump and forces a double team. From there it was more so-so, sometimes good play. Shedding a blocker but misreading a run. Forcing consecutive double teams but doing little against them. Getting a good jump, disrupting a pass but losing balance and falling out of the play.
A nothing drive started on Oakland's 3 and further backed up by two false starts, Bryant had a good play on 3rd and 12, getting off the snap well, into the backfield and forcing Louis Rankin outside right.
Here's the play of the day for Bryant, and in my steadfast goal to make the best out of even the poorest of outings, the one I'll highlight. Bryant plays a support role, but does so to perfection. First, let's look at how this play is supposed to work.
You see the left defensive tackle's role is to move the interior offensive line left, opening a pass rush lane for the MLB. Bryant does so, exploding off the snap, putting an excellent inside move on the right guard, stunting left and forcing the right guard and center hard towards the left interior. Baraka Atkins rushes straight ahead, occupying Wand. Hawthorne has the pass rush lane of a lifetime to blitz through, does and draws a roughing the pass penalty. So it goes. The penalty looked pretty ticky-tack to me, but otherwise the play was run to perfection and that execution had everything to do with Bryant.
On the very next play, Bryant was completely washed out by Wand and Rankin cruised to an easy 14. The rest doesn't really matter. Here's my count of simply, the good, bad and neutral for Bryant:
Bryant's play will factor into Seattle winning on Sunday. Right now, that's a little unsettling.