I watched the short cuts version of the Packers/Jaguars game from week 15 of last season. First, let me say that it was almost certainly his worst game of the season, and I knew that going in. I didn’t have video for Moll’s other 2008 start at RT, and since that’s the spot the Ravens need him to fill in, this game was the logical choice for analysis. Profootballfocus.com scored it as his worst game of 2008, although he had several that were nearly as bad. In this game he allowed a pair of sacks and missed a number of other blocks. I wanted to see if the scoring was an accurate reflection of his play.
Moll started the first 3 games of 2008 at RG for the Packers as they reshuffled their line with Jason Spitz moving to right guard and Wells taking over at center. Moll did not start again (at any position) until week 15 vs. the Jags. He had a fairly tough draw, going up against Reggie Hayward and Derrick Harvey for most of the snaps. Again per profootballfocus.com, each of the Jags had a game among his best of the season.
As a pass blocker, Moll had a very disturbing tendency in this game. He gives far too much ground in the pocket, particularly to the inside. Several times, he stayed with his man all the way across the pocket, with the blocking effort ending up near LT. The additional big bodies in the pocket did not help Rodgers, who did not have much time to throw, but they also caused problems when the other linemen gave ground. On the very first play of the game he got backed up easily by a bull rush.
Paradoxically, both of his sacks allowed were on speed rushes, and each time Reggie Hayward beat him cleanly and quickly. On the latter of those, Moll recovered Rodgers fumble and advanced it 3 yards before taking a brutal hit to the chin. Oddly, both as a pass blocker or run blocker, Moll attempted to cut block perhaps 4 times on the game. Willie Anderson did that some in 2008 (I might estimate 1.5 per game), but the remainder of the offensive line had a very low aggregate total of such blocks for the entire season.
As a run blocker, I’d say he likes to block at arm’s length, rather than get to the body and lean on his opponent. This led to several plays where he pushed his man a few yards, but then let him slip off. Not that either is incapable of using his arms, but both Gaither and Oher have displayed an on-the-body run blocking style which has resulted in many more block-to-the-whistle results. For the season, PFF rates his pass blocking as average with his run blocking below average. He was used to pull once and threw a nice low block that keyed a 9-yard gain. He had 3 blocks in level 2.
Here’s the scoring as I saw it from 12/11/08. The Packers ran 63 offensive snaps without a penalty, but the video I had was missing 1. Of the 62 plays, Moll had 49 successful blocks, 10 missed, 1 pocket pressure, and 2 sacks. That’s 36 points on 62 plays (.58 per play). By comparison, the 2008 Ravens starters had just 3 games under .70, Anderson vs. the Colts in week 6 (.69), Chester vs. the Titans in the divisional playoff game (.69), and Grubbs vs. the Browns in week 10 (.58).
I expected to see a very bad game, but it was, in fact, worse.
Derrick Martin is a 4th-year player who the Ravens apparently decided can’t play corner on the outside, or he certainly would have been kept given the Ravens lack of depth there. It’s unreasonable to believe the Ravens would have received much for him, but I have to think the Ravens’ front office liked something specific about Moll. He’ll have a chance to work with a new offensive line coach and hone his craft. Since all 3 are allegedly swingmen who can play tackle, it may be some measure of relative learning speed to see who, among Cousins, Hale, and Moll is active each week.