The Washington Football Team defensive line is a tough day at the office for any offensive linemen but especially for centers who are usually charged with making line calls and snapping the ball before being crashed into by kamikaze defensive linemen.
Add to that difficulty learning the entire offensive playbook in two weeks and becoming comfortable in new surroundings with new teammates.
Then imagine being told a couple of days before the game that you will start on a short week because they are moving the starting center to guard.
Compound that with the former starting center, moved to guard, getting injured early in the game, and you now find yourself in the shoes of new Giants starting center Billy Price.
For so much change and uncertainty, it is difficult to say he played poorly. Were there issues? Yes.
Was it assumed there would be issues? Of course. Under the circumstances, what Price was able to do was impressive, especially when considering the opponent.
Let’s check out some of the good, great, and ugly from Price’s first start for New York.
The Good: Second-level blocking.
Price showed a nice ability to work to the second level. There were several plays where you could see him getting to linebackers to get a body on them. Even if the block isn’t devastating, the ability to be in the way allows a ball carrier to pick up more yards.
In this first clip, Price has a defensive tackle lined up on the inside eye of the right guard (a 2i-technique).
The Giants are running a split zone to the right. He snaps the ball and assists the guard with the tackle before climbing to the second level to block the inside linebacker. That allows the running back to punch it on his initial track and get a few yards. This play shows his footwork as a run blocker.
In this second clip, the Giants are in the shotgun. The play is a delayed handoff or draw. Price has a defensive tackle lined up on his right shoulder (1-technique). At the snap of the ball, the defensive tackle attacks the right guard.
Price is able to use his leverage to force the tackle over further where the right guard can take him over completely. He then squares his shoulders and lines up the inside linebacker for a block.
This allows the running back to get an extra four to five yards on the run even though he did not run through the lane open to him because he saw defenders jump into it.
The Great: Point of Attack Blocking
Price was great at the point of attack. He has a great initial burst off the line of scrimmage, so it allows him to get on to a defender quicker before that defender can anchor down or get his momentum going forward. There were a few quality runs that came right behind Price.
This first clip is the first play of the game and inside zone run for the running back. Price has a nose guard lined up on his left shoulder. He snaps the ball and explodes into the defender.
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He gets underneath his pads and drives him back two yards before the tackle can anchor down and stop Price’s forward momentum. That amount of line movement allows the running back to burst through the line for extra yards off his block.
In the next clip, the Giants are in the shotgun running “insert,” where the tight end or up-back goes into the interior line of scrimmage on the snap of the ball to block a purposely free defender. It is a delayed handoff to the running back. There’s a 2-I technique lined up on the left guard.
Price snaps the ball and gives a punch block to the 2-I to help the left guard take over the block. He then identifies a blitzing linebacker that he picks up and washes right, which helps spring the back for a long run off his block. His ability to be solid at the point of attack seems to be his best attribute, and it was on full display during this play.
The Ugly: One-on-One Pass Protection
Once again, blocking these Washington defensive linemen is a handful, but it is challenging in pass protection. They are big, strong, and athletic; that’s a lot to handle for an offensive lineman.
Unfortunately, this is where Price struggled the most. He seemed to find it difficult handling defensive linemen when they used his initial aggression against him. He was unable to sit down and keep the defenders from leveraging him out of position. This resulted in several times where his man was either around the quarterback or sacking him in the backfield.
The Giants are in the shotgun in this first clip, and Price has a nose guard lined upon him.
When he snaps the ball, the nose tries to go left, but Price stops his initial rush, but the defender catches Price leaning left and quickly flips to the other gap and explodes past Price and directly for the quarterback who is forced to step up and avoid the rush. Unfortunately, he steps up into a sack for another defender.
This next clip finds the Giants in the shotgun, and Price has a defensive tackle lined up to his left on his outside shoulder.
When Price snaps it, he shuffles to his left to address the rusher, but he is not sitting down in his pass set. So when he absorbs the initial contact from the defender, he leans into it to try and stop the defender's momentum. The defender executes a push-pull move which propels his by Price, and in a second, he is taking the quarterback down for a sack.
This is a fairly basic move, and most times at the professional level is does not work this well, but when you get caught off guard with your weight displaced in the wrong places, this happens.
It was overall a decent outing by Price, but just like everything else on the Giants, he still needs to clean up his technique in the passing game and work on his consistency overall, but now with Nick Gates out, Price will be given a chance to hang on to the starting job.
He should improve now that he knows he will be relied on regularly, and fortunately for him and the Giants offense, they don’t have to face the Washington Football Team every week.
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