Mandatory minicamp kicks off today, meaning that there should be a plethora of reports from media and the team regarding how players look on the field with still just over six weeks to go before training camp. However, as we all wait for those updates, pictures and videos to make their way to the internet and social media, we can take a few minutes to review some on-field performances with the help of Paul Alexander.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with who Mr. Alexander is, he was the offensive line coach for the Cincinnati Bengals for 23 consecutive seasons from 1994 through 2017. In December of last year he joined Twitter, where he now often offers advice on blocking technique for offensive linemen.
Specifically, one of the things he does is to follow Willie Cashmore (@WillieCashmore), who is the Defensive Line Coach at Drake University, and who often posts a Pass Rush of the Day video or a Block Destruction video to Twitter in which he demonstrates successful defensive line and pass rushing techniques. When Cashmore tweets out one of his Pass Rush of the Day clips or Block Destruction clips, Alexander then quote tweets with an explanation of what the offensive lineman could have done better or differently on the play.
Thus, don’t think of this as me critiquing the offensive line with these clips, as obviously any videos in a series entitled Pass Rush of the Day or Block Destruction are not going to be positive for the offensive linemen featured. However, for those who want to learn a little bit more about the intricacies of offensive line play, following Coach Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) is a great way to do so. In any case, let’s jump into some of the critiques of the offensive line play for the Seattle Seahawks that he’s proffered on Twitter.
We’ll start with a clip of George Fant taking on Rodney Gunter of the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 of the 2018 season.
RT set with your hands on the RUSHER. On run and pass, so often blockers make the mistake of putting their hands on the own line-mate. It’s a feeling of security but it’s very rarely appropriate. Put your hands on the defender https://t.co/g20R5gD8t9— Paul Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) June 11, 2019
Here’s the other end of the season, Week 1, with Germain Ifedi getting worked by Von Miller.
JUMP TECH protect yourself with a high outside hand and a low inside hand on the corner of his pads (Rt Hand high on shoulder, LT hand low under clamping chest plate) https://t.co/B7DUECLGW4— Paul Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) May 10, 2019
Here is a look at Justin Britt getting beaten by Akiem Hicks when the Hawks took on the Chicago Bears in Week 2.
CENTER GAP BLOCK. It looks easy but it’s probably the hardest block in football. DOWN BLOCKS must cover half of the distance staying square before deciding to turn or push upfield based on the defenders reaction. Only aim in front or for V of neck vs a penetration stance tip https://t.co/BaSGyJWapc— Paul Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) May 10, 2019
Moving on, we have a clip of J.R. Sweezy initially handling Aaron Donald, only for Donald to keep fighting and eventually shake the block. Alexander actually makes two posts about this specific clip.
I watched this play over about 25 times Need to be perfect vs Aaron Donald. Shorter 2nd step, tighter right elbow and lower left chest. Blockers must protect their chest. Vs most the LG wins this block as his tech is not far off. But great players require flawless execution. https://t.co/8c18Q70YDS— Paul Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) May 31, 2019
This play also illustrates the importance of making contact after the second step is stable on the ground, taking short quick steps and and maintaining foot drive and acceleration through contact. https://t.co/8c18Q70YDS— Paul Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) May 31, 2019
Now, for those who think I might be simply picking on the Mike Solari line, keep in mind that Coach Alexander has only been on Twitter since December, so his reviews are recent. However, for those longing for some offensive line critiques of a Tom Cable coached Luke Joeckel, well today is your lucky day. This next clip is obviously from the Week 14 2017 showdown between the Seahawks and the Jacksonville Jaguars, a revenge game in which Joeckel did not get much revenge. At least not on this play. (Author’s note: It is not exactly easy to exact revenge when attempting to block Calais Campbell.)
LG your feet must be set before you put your hands on him. Always https://t.co/I6wYSFxL87— Paul Alexander (@CoachPaulAlex) April 23, 2019
In any case, hopefully at least some readers enjoyed learning a little bit more about the intracacies of offensive line play today. For those who are intrigued, following Alexander on Twitter is a great way to learn. I’ve only pulled the clips he has reviewed of Seattle offensive linemen, however, it appears he does the same kind of reviews for nearly every team based on his timeline.