Left tackle Eugene Monroe’s arrival offered the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive line a much-needed fresh start.
Heading into the Green Bay game on Sunday, the Ravens had possibly the worst offensive line in the NFL. Unfortunately, that didn’t change after playing the Packers.
But in the long run, Monroe’s arrival on the left side figures to offer the Ravens stability and reliability, two things they didn’t have with Bryant McKinnie.
Let’s take a look at how Monroe fared in his debut with the Ravens.
On this play, Monroe has to handle a crossing blitz that the Packers perform on the right side of their defense.
Monroe faces a stacked look on his side, with the outside linebacker lined up wide and the defensive end over left guard Kelechi Osemele.
Off the snap, Monroe engages with outside linebacker Nick Perry, who puts an inside move on Monroe that fails, sending him directly into Osemele.
This allows the defensive end to break around Monroe, hoping to catch him still in the act of blocking Perry.
Monroe is not fazed by the switch in his assignment, and he easily engages with the defensive end, preventing him from coming near quarterback Joe Flacco.
For a lineman playing in his first game with a new team, his awareness of his blocking assignments in pass protection was noticeable.
That’s not to say Monroe’s pass protection was flawless, as a severe lapse in protection on his part proved to be one of the deciding factors in the game.
With just 12 seconds remaining until halftime, the Ravens opted to try a passing play to possibly get into field goal range, but things didn’t go as planned.
Monroe is isolated on his side with Perry as the lone outside rusher.
Off the snap, Monroe makes a costly mistake. He drops his head when he engages with Perry, which gives the defender the green light to speed right past Monroe’s subpar block attempt.
Perry motors right by Monroe and comes up with the easy strip sack of Flacco.
Overall, Monroe’s day in pass protection was fairly pedestrian. Given the circumstances, Monroe performed as expected. But one thing is certain: Nick Perry is no slouch as a pass rusher. He may be one of the most dynamic edge rushers Monroe will face this season.
Pass protection was Monroe’s strength on Sunday; his run blocking wasn’t as solid. Still, Monroe’s athleticism – something that McKinnie lacked – was on display in the run game with his ability to get to the second level.
He was also overmatched on many plays, though, leading to disruptions of developing running lanes for running backs Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice.
Let’s take a look at one good and one bad run blocking play on Monroe’s part.
The good comes when Monroe’s athleticism is on display.
On this play, it is an obvious run to the left, as both Vonta Leach and Ed Dickson are lined up on the strong side.
Monroe uses his speed off the line to quickly open up a hole for Pierce before the ball is even handed off.
Monroe is able to turn his man away from the running lane, giving Pierce ample space to pick up a large chunk of yardage on the play.
Now let’s take a look at how Monroe struggled as a run blocker.
Remember the blown block on Perry that resulted in a fumble before halftime? Monroe was the culprit on another crucial play of the game.
Facing 4th and goal, the Ravens opted to try for a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal early in the game. The end result was a turnover, partially due to Monroe’s poor blocking on the play.
Monroe is on the side of the line that the run play is designed for.
Monroe engages with the defensive end, but his poor leverage gives the defender the advantage as the play develops toward his side.
Monroe gets whipped around by the defender, who throws him to the side, causing a disruption of the designed run, which ultimately fails.
If it’s possible to say a left tackle wasn’t “clutch” during a game, that would be the description for Monroe on Sunday.
On the two most crucial plays of the game – one a run and one a pass – Monroe failed miserably, overshadowing a fairly passable debut.
Moving forward, Monroe showed why he is an upgrade over McKinnie; however, he can’t continue to crumble during the most important situations of the game.