Coffee & Cigarettes: Ben Muth reads

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Some of these articles are old. You should still read them and learn about the game of football.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Stopping Pass-Rush Moves Part II
Welcome back to Word of Muth. Last week we looked at a couple of different pass rush moves and how they beat offensive linemen. Because that went so well, we’re doing the exact same thing this week. Let’s start with Von Miller.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Stopping Pass-Rush Moves
In the offseason I have a little more freedom to deviate from the standard game breakdowns you see here during the regular season. There aren’t new games to cover every week, so I have a chance to cover whatever interests me at the moment. So when I was looking at free agent tackles and saw Dwight Freeney beat Jake Long with a spin move, I thought that could make for the foundation of an interesting column. I wanted to look at a few different pass-rush moves and how they beat offensive linemen.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Super Bowl Review Part I
The 2012 football season is officially in the books and the Baltimore Ravens, with apologies to the Toronto Argonauts, are the World Champions. There’s a lot that could be written about their offensive line, and how they came together after a late season shuffle to allow Joe Flacco to play the best football of his career. But this column has focused on the 49ers offensive line this year, and I’m not one to change horses midstream. The next two weeks I’ll look at how San Francisco’s offensive line played in Super Bowl XLVII; this week I'm focusing on their play before the blackout.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Super Bowl Review Part II
On their first drive after the blackout, the 49ers marched right down the field and scored on a long pass to Michael Crabtree. The drive mainly consisted of long passes and Colin Kaepernick scrambles, two things that don’t really concern us for the time being. We’re going to skip ahead to their next touchdown drive.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: San Francisco Clinic
The Patriots had one of the greatest offensive performances in DVOA history on Sunday. I’ve been following them all year, and usually there would be no question that I would be writing about them after a game like that. But when Jim Harbaugh unleashes Colin Kaepernick on an unsuspecting public (or at least an unsuspecting Dom Capers), I feel that it requires at least 2000 words and a dozen pictures.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Toss Bunch Crunch
Since every team I’ve focused on this year either had a first-round bye (San Francisco and New England) or is officially on the clock (Kansas City), this week seemed like a nice opportunity to simply draw up some very popular NFL concepts that I haven’t had a chance to talk about this year. Both plays happened in the most interesting game of the weekend: the Seattle-Washington game from Sunday night.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Box Safeties
Watching the game back again on tape, two things in particular stood out. Colin Kaepernick started to panic when things didn't go well. Trying to escape the pocket the second your first read isn’t open or you feel like there might be pressure is not a recipe for success in the NFL. The second thing that stood out was how good Seattle’s secondary is. I’ll get into Seattle’s secondary in a little bit, but let’s start with the 49ers' big five up front, since that's what this column is supposed to be about.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Protection Adjustments
Having to catch up with some things after Thanksgiving break meant I wasn’t able to write a typical column this week. This week will be entirely devoted to one play from the Cowboys-Redskins game on Thanksgiving. The play itself was pretty unremarkable (it set up a third-and-long), but FOX’s microphones picked up Tony Romo’s protection adjustments before the snap.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Tied Up
A lot has been made of Jeff Fisher’s aggressiveness against the 49ers on Sunday. Most of the attention has rightfully gone to the two fake punts, but the Rams were just as aggressive on defense. In addition to constantly stacking the box to stop the 49ers running game, St. Louis used frequent stunts and slants from the defensive line to penetrate gaps and blow plays up in the backfield. Their activeness caused a lot of problems for San Francisco’s front five throughout the game.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Crashing the Nickel
After one quarter of the 49ers-Jets game on Sunday I was already getting excited about breaking down San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick package. But as the early games on Sunday developed, another story piqued my interest as well: the Patriots were running all over the Bills’ vaunted defensive line. By the time the game was over, New England had gained 247 yards rushing and 19 first downs on the ground, which is the same number of first downs Buffalo had for the whole game.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Release
Well, one week after I praised the Houston Texans offensive line, they came out against Carolina (one of the worst defenses in the league) and ... played a nice game. Did you see what I did there? I made it seem like the Texans line played poorly because they lost, but then I went a different way. I’m so witty.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Houston's Zone Stretch
The votes are in, and the Houston Texans edged out the Denver Broncos in last week’s poll for which team I'll add to coverage in Word of Muth. Since I’m playing catchup with the Texans, I’ll probably write about them two weeks in a row. For this first Houston column, I watched the Texans’ last two games (against Cincinnati and Atlanta) as well as Matt Schaub’s final game (versus Tampa Bay) to see how much the Texans have changed their protections with T.J. Yates under center. Not much changed, actually, though they are using max protect a little more often. After three games, it is safe to say that I am a fan of Houston’s offensive line.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Flawless Interior
Well, the bar has officially been raised here at Word of Muth. New Orleans’ offensive line performance on Monday night was the best game I’ve seen any of the units I’ve covered play since I started this column. The Giants defensive line came in with a very good (and earned) reputation, but from the kickoff to the final whistle, New Orleans owned the game between the trenches.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Off the Counter
For three quarters of Sunday’s game against Carolina, it remained Groundhog Day for Tennessee’s offensive linemen. They were very solid in pass protection, allowing Matt Hasselbeck plenty of time to throw. In the running game they were engaged with defenders, but not getting a ton of movement, and they probably looked worse than they should have because of who was the running the ball behind them. It was pretty much like every other Titans game this year. In fact, I was getting ready to make this my final column about Tennessee because they just weren’t very interesting. But early in the second half they started doing some different things, and in the fourth quarter they ran a nice series of plays that showed a team identity for the first time all year.

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