Dennis Daley was the Pro Football Focus left tackle of the week following his Week 6 performance against the Bucs, receiving a grade of 82.3 with an excellent run blocking grade of 86.0; this was the highest run blocking grade of the five offensive linemen in the team of the week, and it’s hard not to start using terms like “elite” when discussing grades like this. Of course, it is always important not to get too far ahead of oneself when judging the performance of the first couple of games of a player’s career, but what did Daley himself say about his performance against the Bucs – did he think he played as well as his grade suggests?
“I did not,” Daley told reporters last week before the team went on their bye. “That surprised me.”
With Greg Little still in the concussion protocol and Trai Turner appearing set to return, Daley will likely be the starter at left tackle again – and facing off against a team with a dominant defensive line that uses it’s stout run defense to keep teams behind the chains, it’s worth examining how Daley held up in the run game in London, a game in which they had their second-lowest rush output of the season. More importantly, in a ‘beg, borrow and steal’ league, did Tampa Bay put out a blueprint to stop the Panthers run game – the Panthers have averaged 169.7 yards per game in their four games against other teams in 2019 and managed less than 100 total against the Bucs in two games.
The Good Stuff
If you haven’t already guessed by Daley’s reaction, the run blocking grade assigned was maybe a little… generous. However, it is important to note that Daley did do a lot of good things as a run blocker and for a sixth round rookie making his second NFL start, he was excellent. So, before we get on to the meat of this piece, here is all the stuff that Daley did really well on Sunday,
He showed nice power to move his man on a double team (Daley wears #65):
He also did a nice job of kicking out the defender as a pulling blocker:
He did a nice job of expanding the inside gap when tasked with kicking the edge defender:
He was effective when sealing off inside rushing lanes:
And was competent at doubling with the guard before working to the second level:
Oh, and he also made this cut-off reach block on Vita Vea which, while he did get some help from Vea’s outside initial step, is still about as good as blocks of this type get:
All of the plays shown above illustrate that Daley really is a good run blocker, and the Panthers appear to have found a real gem in Daley. However, there were also some plays that maybe weren’t as impressive, and these are the areas that Daley needs to continue to work on going forward. Fortunately, based on what he has said following the game, he is all too aware that there is still work to be done. So, what are these issues?
Up Next: How He Can Improve