Lorig Lacking “Running Back Eyes”September 27th, 2012
Greg Schiano talked about failures and evolution on the Bucs offensive line contributing to this season’s running game struggles.
But what about Erik Lorigs’ role in that?
Well, former Bucs defensive end Steve White (1996-2001), who breaks down Bucs games like no other, is confident Lorig isn’t a plus for the Bucs offense. In an in-depth coaches-film look at the Bucs offense against Dallas, (you must click through and check it out) White isolates a mistake of Lorig’s and goes deep into it, among similar studies of Doug Martin, Carl Nicks, Josh Freeman and more.
Now most people know that I have said plenty of times in the past that Bucs need to get a real fullback if they want to get better at running the ball. Nothing against Lorig, and he tries his best, but he just doesn’t have “running back eyes”. What I mean by that is the best fullbacks in the NFL run through the line as if they have the ball in their hands. They pick the route they would go to get the most amount of yardage and then they find a linebacker to tee off on.
Lorig hasn’t shown the ability to do that. Instead he just tries to block the way the play is drawn up on a black board. Thing is the tailback is taught to follow his fullback to daylight so if Lorig takes a bad track that likely means whomever is running the ball will too.
Case in point.
This is a still shot from the endzone of a running play where Lorig is leading up through the hole and Doug Martin is following him. I have two arrows extending from Lorig’s picture because I stopped the film at the point where he had to make the decision of which way to go. If he runs to the left everyone is blocked up and Clark is ready to block the defensive back inside out. If he goes right there is an unblocked Cowboy’s linebacker just waiting for him and an outside linebacker coming down the line to blow up the play.
Now which track do you think Lorig picked?
Again, Joe advises you to score yourself a huge sandwich and a cold beverage and study White’s breakdowns.
An interesting stat as it relates to fullback play, LeGarrette Blount’s four 100+ yard efforts in 2010 were all when Earnest Graham was playing fullback. Blount did not run for 100 yards during any of the six games Graham missed.
Sure, Joe knows Blount ran plenty of times from a single-back set, but the numbers don’t lie.