Eugene Monroe should start his first game for the Ravens against the Packers this weekend. I went back to score his first 4 games with the Jaguars. While he played reasonably well in 3 of the 4 games, he cratered in week 2 against the Raiders. Here is a week-by-week analysis followed by a chart that provides a snapshot of Monroe’s body of work to-date in 2013.
KC (week 1): Eugene’s primary assignment was Tamba Hali. Hali is a quick, long pass rusher who should give a short-armed player like Monroe trouble. Monroe was beaten outside for a QH as Hali shed his arms (Q1, 11:15). Hali bulled Monroe into Gabbert for a QH (Q4, 2:56). On the very next play, Hali would again beat him inside for a pressure. In a game where Gabbert was sacked 6 times, however, Eugene was not party to any sacks despite his top-shelf opponent.
Oakland (week 2): Monroe was taken to the woodshed by Oakland DE Lamarr Houston. Rarely have I ever seen a tackle beaten so consistently inside. Just in case you feel the need to temper your expectations of the Ravens’ new LT:
• (Q1, 2:16) Houston beat him inside to flatten Henne as he threw incomplete
• (Q2, 4:09) Houston beat him outside for a QH on a slow-developing throw left
• (Q2, 3:37) On the very next snap, Houston beat Monroe inside (where he picked up a block from the RB) then outside where he threw down Henne with a horse-collar. The play was a slow-developing incomplete, but Monroe was effectively beaten twice.
• (Q2, 3:29) For the 3rd straight play, Houston generated pressure by beating the TE to flush the pocket to the left. Once there, Bilukidi slipped off Monroe for the sack. I charged Monroe only with a miss on that play, since the sack charge goes to the player who allowed the flush.
• (Q3, 4:10) Houston lined up very wide and executed a spin move to test Monroe inside. Eugene appeared to neutralize the Raiders’ DE, but was flagged for illegal use of hands.
• (Q4, 12:40) The Raiders lined up looking to overload the OLS. Monroe tried to pick up the inside rush from Burnett, but was beaten for pressure as Henne threw incomplete.
• (Q4, 5:21) Monroe failed to pick up a delayed blitz from Usama Young instead sticking with a double team that was squarely picked up by the LG. Young sacked Henne for a loss of 7.
• (Q4, 4:47) Monroe lost inside leverage to Houston again who made initial contact with Henne. Hunter cleaned up by beating the RB. I split the sack with Monroe getting half.
• (Q4, 3:35) Monroe was again beaten inside by the fast hands of Houston for pressure. However, the Raiders rushed only 3 which allowed Henne to step up in the pocket and deliver a 30-yard completion.
• (Q4, 0:56) Houston bulled through a double team from Monroe and the LG Rackley for another QH.
The score (.29 per play) is the worst I have ever recorded for a tackle. Previously Oniel Cousins recorded a .31 at Pittsburgh in 2009. Despite this performance, and in part due to local familiarity, I intend to keep using the adjective “Cousinsian” to describe an exceptionally poor performance at tackle.
I don’t know what predictive value to ascribe to this performance. Monroe seemed to figure it out in the following 2 games.
Seattle (week 3): Monroe found his feet with a solid performance against one of the best teams in football. I noted 3 attempted cut blocks from Monroe in this game. These 3 occurred on running plays to the middle or right. He’s good at finding a way to contribute on the backside of a run play. This could be a Jacksonville practice or personal decision, but Monroe will occasionally attempt a cut block against an opponent on a passing play as well. That can send an effective message against a pass rusher by letting him know his legs aren’t safe.
Indianapolis (week 4): Monroe faced Robert Mathis, the current NFL sack leader (9.5) and again played well. He allowed a slow-developing sack (Q3, 14:50) when he held his block for approximately 3 seconds then appeared to throw his arms up to avoid a holding call as Mathis reached the corner. Eugene otherwise played well with just a single pressure allowed.
For other qualitative notes on Monroe CLICK HERE