After six seasons of playing a vast majority of his snaps at left guard, big Todd has been moved to right tackle. A lot of people (including me) speculated the move but I honestly didn't think Mudd would go through with it. On the bright side, it allows him to put his most athletic and arguably most talented front five on the field together. It also comes at a price of breaking up the best LT/LG combination in the NFL. Evan Mathis has been called upon to take his place and I’m confident he will do very well there. That’s his natural position and he did a good job whenever called upon. According to Pro Football Focus, Mathis played a total of 762 snaps(648 of them in ‘09) at LG the last two seasons which included 7 starts. In that period, he gave up just 5 QB hits, 4 pressures, and 0 sacks. He graded even better at run blocking. The Bengals are one of the worst run organizations in football so not surprised that they didn’t see the potential in him. Now, we know Mathis can play at guard but the question is can Herremans play a full season at right tackle?
First off, if you’ve ever seen Todd in person or even in games, you’ll wonder why he hasn’t been a tackle. This past training camp, I stood about 20 feet away from him when he came over to meet some of his family in a tent in front of me. Dude is built like a thick 6’6 tight end. He has the frame, arms and athletic ability of a tackle. His last two experiences at tackle were against the Chargers where he started in place of an injured Peters and against the Falcons when he slid to LT for an injured Peters mid-game. I was originally going to do a film breakdown of the entire Chargers game but then decided to just edit the first half due to time constraints. FYI, if you’ve never tried cutting a two hour video into a 10 minute clip, it’s a bitch! I do however, talk about his performance in the second half and the Falcons game as well. Just a reminder that this is a small sample size and it’s just to show that Herremans has the ability to play tackle. Whether or not he can do it on the right side and for a full season is still pretty much unknown.
Film and snap-by-snap analysis after the jump...
Eagles vs Chargers (Week 10, 2009)
Todd Herremans vs Chargers (2009) (via Route36BGN)
1st & 10 – Mcnabb in the shotgun, draw play to Westbrook, Todd goes against Jacque Cesaire who is the RDE. Drives him to the left and pushes him backwards. Win: Herremans.
2nd & 8 – Inside handoff to Westbrook. Herremans vs OLB Shaun Phillips. Todd gets out and secures Philips but didn’t have to do much due to the lack of effort from Phillips. Win: Herremans
3rd & 4 – Screen to Celek. Burnett quickly read it and tackles Celek behind the LOS before Todd could get to the second level.
1st & 10 – Empty backfield. Todd back pedals and looks for his man. It’s Merriman, he is first met by a receiver(can’t tell who) who gives him a push then goes towards Todd and he keeps Shawne in front of him. Mcnabb rolled right and completes a pass to Jackson. I want to note here that in Mudd’s scheme, the tackles will not back pedal that far like Todd did there. They are taught to be more aggressive and to engage the linemen right away before he makes his move. Win: Herremans
2nd& 4 – Shotgun. He goes against Larry English. Todd slaps him on the chest and English recedes like 5 feet. Excellent hand placement and a nice jolt in the push. Win: Herremans
3rd &4 – Empty backfield versus Merriman. Gets driven back a bit towards Mcnabb but gives him at least three seconds to release the ball. As a lineman, if you keep your opponent in front for at least three seconds, you did your job. First down. Some people might call this a QB hurry but I believe it was a win for Herremans.
1st & 10 – Eagles were trying a reverse or double reverse here that was a failure from the start.
2nd & 16 – Play action. Shaun Phillips tries to get around Todd but he keeps his feet moving and blocks him out of the play, three yards behind Mcnabb. Good stuff. Todd’s been looking like a seasoned LT up to this point. Win: Herremans
3rd & 16 – Shotgun. This time Merriman bull rushes and drives Todd back almost into Mcnabb. It would have been a sack if Mcnabb didn’t release it that quick. Loss: Herremans (QB hurry).
1st & 10 – Inside handoff to Weaver. Todd initially blocks Travis Johnson along with Alex Smith, then gets also gets a push at Stephen Cooper. He did his job. Win: Herremans.
2nd & 8 – The Wild Eagle/Cat/Vick formation. Herremans vs Travis Johnson. Blocks him for 4.5 seconds and probably could have gone 10. Vick had all day and Jackson drops the ball which was a bit behind him. Win: Herremans
3rd & 8 – Empty backfield versus Merriman. 2 seconds after engagement, Merrimans jumps in an effort to deflect a Mcnabb bomb that was a good 6 feet out of reach. Win: Herremans.
1st &10 – Shotgun – Larry English uses his speed to get around Herremans fairly quickly. He would’ve had the sack if Mcnabb didn’t quickly checkdown. Loss: Herremans(QB hurry)
2nd & 6 – Shotgun – Todd owns his man who was rushing with his hand in the dirt. Win: Herremans.
1st & 10 – Shotgun – Good protection again. Kept him in front. Win: Herremans.
2nd & 10 – Shotgun. Zone blitz here. Merriman fakes the rush and drops into coverage. Todd looks around and picks up Larry English. Love it. Complete to Avant for a first down. Win: Herremans
1st & 10 – Shotgun. Herremans handles Phillips and another 1st down to Avant. Win: Herremans
1st & 10 – Play action. Excellent protection by the entire line. Jammer called on a hold on Maclin. Win: Herremans
1st & Goal – Entire line couldn’t get a push. Herremans has his man on the ground and then jumps forward. Win: Chargers defense.
2nd & Goal – Play action. Todd and MJG double Alfonso Boone. I don’t know if Herremans was supposed to pick up Merriman here or not because Dunlap(eligible receiver) went out to run a route. MJG didn’t do him any favors by just falling to the ground and leaving Boone with Todd. Merriman gets the hurry and Mcnabb throws an incompletion to Celek. Since I don’t know what his assignment was, I won’t give him a win or a loss.
3rd & Goal – Sorry, don’t know what happened to this clip but the Eagles tried an inside handoff with Buckley to no avail. Todd took care of his man but there was no push from the middle. Win for the Chargers D. Field goal.
1st & 10 – 4 man rush. 6 blockers. Nobody for Todd to block. Mcnabb rolls right and completes to Maclin.
1st & 10 – Excellent protection from the line. Herremans handles Cesaire. Mcnabb had all day but good coverage by the Chargers. Incomplete. Win: Herremans
2nd & 10 – Handoff to Westbrook. HUGE hole on the left side. Todd with a massive pancake on Philips. 7 yard gain. Win: Herremans
3rd & 3 – Shotgun. Good job by Herremans again. Quick throw and a first down to Jackson. Win: Herremans.
1st & 10 – Todd takes care of Phillips again. Quick throw again. Incomplete. Win: Herremans
2nd & 10 – Screen to Westbrook. Herremans was beat pretty bad and even though it was a screen he was still supposed to continue blocking. Mcnabb was very close to getting sacked. Loss: Herremans(QB Hurry) Successful play though.
1st & 10 – Shotgun. Todd is beaten badly again. Phillips tries on the outside then quickly goes inside to deliver a hit to Mcnabb, causing the inaccurate throw and incompletion. Loss: Herremans(QB hit).
2nd and 10 – Shotgun. Bullrush by Merriman, I think. Drives Todd back into Mcnabb in about two seconds. Luckily, Maclin was open on the crossing route otherwise it might have been a sack. Loss: Herremans(QB hurry). Three straight losses.
1st and 10 – Shotgun. Chargers run a stunt here. Todd sees Merriman going inside, quickly looks to his right to pick up the tackle. Todd’s awareness is top notch. Well done. Win: Herremans.
1st and 10 – Shotgun. Chargers send 5. Westbrook stays in to block. Merriman stunts to the inside and Phillips flies by Westbrook to deliver a massive hit on Mcnabb. I’m pretty sure Todd’s job there was to pick up Phillips. Instead him and Cole both doubled Cesaire. Bad read there. Great completed pass though by Donny who took a lick. Loss: Herremans
1st and Goal - Fantastic job on Merriman. Todd was in front of him the entire time. Counted 5 seconds before the incompletion pass. Win: Herremans
2nd and Goal – Outside handoff Westbrook. Not a good job here by Todd. Instead of driving Merriman back, he allowed him to run Westbrook out of bounds. Loss: Herremans
3rd and Goal – Shotgun. Stood his ground vs Merriman. Set his feet, bend his knees and held off the pressure. Nicely done. Unfortunately, no touchdown and the Eagles had to settle for another field goal. Win: Herremans. End of half.
Total first half snaps – 31 – Wins – 21 – Losses – 7 (4 Hurries/Pressures, 1 QB hit, 1 bad read, 1 bad run block) – 4 N/A
I re-watched the rest of the game and Herremans played significantly better in the second half. Added another nasty pancake. He had 1 hold at the 10 minute mark in the 4th. The announcers at this time mention how well he has done so far. He also allowed 1 more hurry/pressure at the goal line during our last touchdown drive. That’s it. Total for the game by my count: 74 snaps, 5 hurries, 1 QB hit, 1 penalty, 2 pancakes. Prior to the game, the Chargers had 5 sacks or more in their three previous games. None were allowed by the offensive line in this game and specifically Herremans. That’s even with the Eagles passing 56 times in the matchup.
PFF stats for the game – 74 snaps, 4 pressures, 1 QB hit, 1 penalty.
Eagles: Pass attempts – 56 – Rushes – 13
For his first start at tackle in five years, I’d say he did a fantastic job especially with the Eagles passing that many times.
Eagles vs Falcons (2009, Week 13)
Re-watched this game as well. Jason Peters hurts his ankle and leaves the game at the 10:56 mark of the 2nd quarter. Herremans shifts to left tackle. He generally played a good game at LT without practicing there during the week. He allowed a sack to Kroy Biermann in the first play of the 4th. He was bull rushed back towards Mcnabb and Biermann wrapped his arm around Mcnabb’s neck. He allowed two other pressures. He pushed the pile forward for Buckley who ran behind him for a big 4th and 1 conversion. He did have one awful dive at the feet of a defensive end and completely whiffed. Other than that, in 34 snaps he allowed 1 sack and a couple of pressures. PFF has him for 1 sack and 1 pressure. Not too shabby but room for improvement.
What the game tape shows us
- Todd has the body and athletic ability to play tackle.
- He has the quickness to move with speed rushers.
- He has the strength to hold off bull rushers
- His hand placement is excellent and he knows how to use them
- His field awareness is top notch and he is smart
- He maintains leverage and stays low
- Rarely misses blocking assignments
- He’s good in the run game as we already know from his guard play
- He plays with an oomph in his game
- He is a better option than King Dunlap and a Winston Justice who’s not 100%.
I would like to reiterate that the sample size is small. It’s only 108 snaps but he has stepped up when given the opportunity. I believe with reps against Cole, Babin, Tapp, and Hunt will only make him better for the upcoming season.