Steelers Film Room: Can You Hear The “Whimper” Of Big Ben?

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Part 1: Run Blocking

As an offensive lineman, run blocking is supposed to be where they enjoy themselves because this is where they can go after a guy, instead of sitting back in pass blocking and waiting for the defender to come to them. While you can’t say one is neccesarily easier than the other, it’s much easier for a guy over 300 pounds to go forward then it is to try to kick slide backwards. That is a lot of body to move backwards. For Guy Whimper, run blocking is anything but fun. The biggest thing I saw from Whimper is just his overall slowness. He was slow off of the ball, leading to him getting pushed back often. With this slowness came the inability to push people off the ball. This also plays into his lack of strength which showed quite often. Whimper also had poor hand placement, because often he let the defender get inside his frame. With lack of hand placement came the inability to lock on to his man whether it is was a linebacker or a defensive lineman.

On the occasion that he did have solid hand placement, Whimper didn’t use his hips well to get them under him to drive his man out. A lot of this came from poor leverage, since everyone knows, it’s the low man that always wins. The one positive I did take out of Guy Whimper’s film is that he does fine when asked to go out in space and block. While he does a decent job of getting to where he needs to be, he can’t latch on to the defenders as he often has heavy feet. This lead to him not being able to kick out defenders when asked to pull. Below, I have broken down a play where Whimper fails to execute his block last season.

Coaches Film from NFL Game Rewind

With the defensive end lined up to his outside shoulder, Whimper prepares to push the defender to the outside, creating a lane for running back Maurice Jones-Drew. JJ. Watt will end up shooting the gap between Whimper and the guard as Watt sees the play develop.

Coaches Film from NFL Game Rewind

Right away, Whimper puts himself in a bad position as he steps too wide of Watt. While it is important that Whimper creates a lane, it is also important that he seals Watt to the outside. By Whimper lunging out like this, he makes himself off balance. By putting himself in a position like this, with Watt now on his inside shoulder, it is important now that Whimper brings his left hand up, which he is now unable to do.

Coaches Film from NFL Game Rewind

At this point, Whimpers momentum is coming forward, and since he was unable to bring his left hand, Watt has a clear lane to the running back when the ball hasn’t even been handed off yet.

Coaches Film from NFL Game Rewind

Finally, Whimper is at the point of no return because he either was going to have to hold Watt, or Watt was going to make the play. Watt swallows up the running back, resulting in a one-yard loss.

Additional Notes:

Even with such a dominant player such as JJ. Watt, with just a few technique fixes, Whimper could have kept him off of the runner for at least a few more seconds. If Whimper had better hand placement, this play could have been totally different. Due to his inability to lock on to Watt, as well as stopping his feet, this play was doomed from the start. While I don’t expect most tackles to come out and dominate Watt, Whimper couldn’t have made Watt’s job any easier. Watt did nothing fancy other than side stepping Whimper and making the tackle.

With the Steelers wanting to solidify the run game with Todd Haley, Guy Whimper is cleary not the best person for the job, shown by his film due to lack of technique.