Cleveland Browns: Can Austin Pasztor be fixed?
Play Inside-Out on the Defender or Dictate Terms
The third rule of pass protection is to play inside-out on the defender, thereby dictating to the defender where he will go. The ability to dictate terms is what separates good linemen from bad linemen. The ability to out think the defender is key. The offensive lineman must be a mastermind who can reposition defenders with their feet and stance. Here is where the real fun of playing offensive line emerges.
The reality of football is the offense dictates to the defense. For the defense to win, it must find a way to take the power of dictation away from the offense. As a result, football has become primarily a mental game. That is why the most important trait of a quarterback is not arm strength. Instead, it is the ability to read defenses and deliver a pass accurately under pressure. Cody Kessler does this well and is why he has a good chance of succeeding in the NFL despite his limitations. But I digress.
An offensive lineman must dictate terms to a defender on pass protection by how they initially set up before engagement. In the slide step protection, a tackle must play inside out. This keeps the inside protected and opens the outside door. The effect of opening the door is that the defensive linemen sees an easy victory around the tackle. However, the route around the tackle is longer, creating more time for the quarterback to throw the ball.
Let’s look once again at Austin Pasztor giving up the sack.
On this play, Pasztor actually sets up in correct inside-out leverage. He forces the defender outside taking the longest route to the quarterback. This route actually makes the Pasztor’s job easy. All he has to do it run the defender behind and around the quarterback who should either throw the ball or step up in the pocket.
In this particular play, the tight end is unable to get in position to receive the screen pass. The delay forces Kessler to hold on to the ball too long. The result is the defender beating Pasztor who failed to both stay low thereby gaining leverage and to beat the defender to the point of engagement. Nonetheless, had the screen play effectively materialized, Kessler gets rid of the ball on time and avoids the hit and fumble.
Can this be fixed? Austin Pasztor consistently gets inside-out position on defenders. This is not a major area of concern for him.
Should the Browns decide to continue with Pasztor at tackle, they must recognize his weaknesses and address them. They must be addressed by improving technique but also schematically by providing help. Right now teams are showing overloading blitzes causing the Browns to slide protect away from Pasztor leaving him one-on-one with defenders. The Browns must find new ways to block the left side overload look thereby preventing Austin Pasztor from being on an island.
As Browns quarterbacks know, Pasztor island is long way from paradise.