Bobbie Williams was signed as an unrestricted free agent this off season and is among the options to play left guard for the Ravens in 2012. In 2011, Williams played in parts of 8 games from weeks 5-14. He played every snap for 8 straight games before he broke his ankle in week 14 versus the Texans. He’ll be 36 years old in September.
Per PFF grading, I took 1 good game and 1 bad game from his 2011 season with an aggregate score that represented his season as a whole. I scored his blocking by my system for those 2 games. The 2 games I selected were the week 10 loss to the Steelers and the week 12 win over the Browns.
Subjective observations about Williams:
· He’s a massive man, 6’4” 340 lbs. who uses his size to get excellent push on run plays
· He stays with his blocks well
· Whatever foot speed he had is gone. He pulled only once in the 2 games I scored. As one might expect, this also impacted his screen blocking. He left much too early on one play which I think may have been a function of the time it would take to get in position in level 2.
· He patrols a spot well in pass protection and avoided unnecessary engagement that might have left space for a delayed rush
· He did well with double teams, particularly when the Bengals attempted to lean on an individual defender (as opposed to pinning and releasing into L2)
Week 10 vs. Pit
The Bengals played their first big game of the season and lost a thriller to the Steelers 24-17. Despite just 56 offensive snaps, the Bengals ran the ball effectively (26 for 109) and often behind the blocks of Williams and RT Andre Smith. The Bengals employed a 6-man line with Dennis Roland inserted for 16 snaps. Williams’ primary assignments were Ziggy Hood (who played every snap) and Casey Hampton (37 snaps). Hood played approximately 84% of Pittsburgh’s snaps in 2011, but was clearly tired by Williams’ physical play peppered with some double teams from Cook and Smith. He was pushed backwards several yards on quite a few plays. Williams also blocked Farrior in level 2 on 3 separate occasions. He had a pancake of Hood on a run right and flattened Polamalu while pulling right on the Bengals next-to-last offensive play (Q4, 3:17).
As a pass blocker, Williams had a near-perfect day, primarily against Hood. He had a pancake of Harrison when he attempted to block a pass (Q2, 8:22). He surrendered a QH to Worilds (Q4,14:20), which was his only non-scoring play of the day.
That play capped an interesting 2-play sequence early in Q4. On the first play (Q4, 14:54), Williams and Cook doubled Keisel. Farrior then came delayed to Cook’s side and pressured Dalton. The reverse angle shows Williams motioning for Cook to pick up the stunt. On the very next play, Williams was similarly beaten to his right when he and Cook doubled Harrison and Worilds found the opening in the right B gap. Despite that blip, it was a dominating effort that I am sure Steelers fans would blame on the absence of Lamar Woodley. Scoring: 55 blocks, 0 missed, 1 QH, 52 points (.93 points per play).
Week 12 vs. Cle
Following their loss to Pittsburgh, the Bengals lost 31-24 at Baltimore before returning home to play the Browns.
The Browns presented Williams with a more challenging set of assignments. Rookie Jabaal Sheard had a sack and 2 pressures (including 1 shared by Williams) and Ahtyba Rubin would also have one of his best games as a pass rusher. Rubin bulled Williams then beat him outside for a QH (Q4, 1:08). Ahtyba would twice flush Dalton from the pocket on runs of 3 and 7 yards by beating Williams. In each case, I score that as simply a missed block given the positive yardage, but other systems would assign a lower subjective score.
On 2 pass blocks, he gave ground in the pocket while maintaining his block. On the first occasion, Rubin pushed him to the inside and Williams slid with him backwards and to his left (Q2, 4:51). He had a very similar play (Q4, 12:15) when he slid left and 3-4 yards backwards with the rush of Paxson. While Williams maintained his block on both of those, I count them as misses. It’s not good to lose pocket integrity both for the result of the play and the additional risk of injury.
The Bengals rolled up 132 rushing yards on 32 runs. While Williams did not allow any negative plays, he missed 4 blocks on those plays (not including the scrambles by Dalton).
He missed several blocks in L2, including a very poor effort on D’Qwell Jackson (Q1, 9:25) where he had Jackson square, but allowed him to move by uncontested for the tackle. He would again miss Jackson (Q2, 8:30) in level 2 when Young shot into the backfield to take down Scott for a loss of 7.
Scoring: 51 blocks, 10 missed, 1 QH, ½ pressure, 47 points (.75 per play). Had I counted Dalton’s 2 short scrambles as pressures, his score would have been .68.
What will be Williams role and impact on the Ravens:
· He has the inside track on the starting LG position
· I expect he will work effectively on double teams with Matt Birk
· If McKinnie is the starting LT, he should provide some relief to Bryant’s indifferent run blocking on runs to the right
· The Ravens will probably run more sweeps left than right this season to take advantage of Yanda’s superior pulling ability
· He is a player who has stayed in the league much longer than is typical based on technique, so he’d be a candidate to teach some of the Ravens young interior line depth (Osemele, Boren, Gradkowski) whether overtly or by example.