2009 Season Retrospective: Red Bryant

Red Bryant

2008

Highlights

Seahawks at 49ers

Raye then attacked Seattle's center, but this time Seattle stopped him. Red Bryant gave David Baas a hard push off the snap and Baas recoiled clear into Norris. Frank Gore adjusted, but the disruption made the route too long to the hole and unblocked Cory Redding closed from the left and tackled Gore after a gain of one.

...

  • Second play: Red Bryant stuffs the line and Curry wraps around left end to finish a staggering Frank Gore.
  • Seattle puts in its double over tackle package and Bryant's presence allows Cole to isolate left guard David Baas. Cole bullies Baas into the pocket and tips Shaun Hill's pass.

Bears at Seahawks

Lovie Smith's Garrett Wolfe package worked as well as one would expect a Garrett Wolfe package to work. Seattle forced a quick three and out punctuated by Red Bryant exploding into the backfield and tackling Wolfe for a loss. Seahawks ball.

Seahawks at Cowboys

Seattle overloads the right and Curry comes free around right end forcing Tony Romo up into the pocket. Seattle struggled with getting edge rush but failing to establish interior pressure, but this time Red Bryant plows through the right guard and forces an incomplete pass. Babineaux can be seen covering Jason Witten streaking up the right hash mark. However Seattle did it, the Seahawks shut down Witten.

Lowlights

Seahawks at 49ers

  • San Francisco drove 60 yards on it opening drive. The mechanics of how have all the excitement and complexity of a bull pushing around a stag. Seattle was badly overmatched at the point of attack. It wasn't Craig Terrill. It wasn't only Cole, Red Bryant was bad too. But it was mostly Seattle's newest free agent journeyman turned starter. As much as I love and praise Brandon Mebane, a team's interior run defense should not fall apart minus one man.
  • Bryant showed an interesting mix of good physicality and poor gap discipline. On the fourth play of the drive, following a encroachment penalty on Cory Redding, Bryant weathered a double team and got a body on Frank Gore. He was too deep for it to be a good play, but he held long enough to stop the first. San Francisco converted it on the next play. Cole tackled Gore after five yards. It was second and one.

...

  • That play was worse than it seemed. The 49ers were gouging Seattle's interior line. Bryant held against the Niners double teams, but dropped his gap, flowed too far offensive left and Gore cutback right for an easy six.
  • Bryant did it again on the next play. He attempted a spin but got caught halfway by Chilo Rachel. He was facing the wrong way when Gore blew past him.

...

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One Seahawk did his job, and Lawrence Jackson wasn't enough. Jackson was alone on the right, knocking back pulling left guard David Baas, chipping and disrupting fullback Moran Norris and narrowing Gore's hole to a sliver. The linebackers over-pursued and were out of position. Colin Cole was miles in the backfield after completely misreading the play. Red Bryant pursued hard left and abandoned his gap. Putting eight in the box left Seattle's defense thinned out and two dimensional. When Gore exploded out of the hole, he had only Jordan Babineaux to beat. Babineaux took a bad angle, but Gore does this. Give him a clean release into the second level and one to beat and Gore will. Babineaux was "posterized" so to speak, but he bears less blame than all but Deon Grant, Darryl Tapp, Josh Wilson, Ken Lucas and Jackson. The linebackers and line detonated Seattle's rush defense.

Outlook: Most of what I think about Bryant at end is covered below. One fact I haven't addressed but deserves attention: Dropping Bryant out of the defensive tackle rotation strengthens Colin Cole's hold on the starting one-tech and removes one of Seattle's best interior pass rushers. Bryant is not skilled or particularly good, but compared to Cole, Bryant is a pocket-collapsing demon. Week 2 was Bryant's big audition and he flunked out. I cringe when people attempt to apply sample size concepts from baseball to football, but it should be common sense that struggling in one, two or even six games does not damn a promising young player.

I want the kid to succeed. I can squint and pretend and talk myself into Bryant succeeding at end. But for him to truly succeed, it will take creative coaching. It's not inherently bad to play a tackle at end, but if you're going to punt that kind of pass rush for power, presence and run stopping ability, the rush needs to come from somewhere else. The true key to Bryant succeeding at end might be his interaction with Aaron Curry.

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