My First Attempt to Break Down an OL Player: Rookie Jonathan Martin

Growing up I was often chosen last for sports teams. Sometimes, the fat kid was chosen after me. And sometimes the other weird skinny kid was chosen. But, I loved watching football and playing two hand touch as a kid even though I sucked. Over the years I have watched the game, slowly picking up an understanding of how it works. Than, I found the world of sports bloggers and fansites and I discovered I was ignorant compared to many fans. I also discovered I was in very very very good company. I have neither played the game on any significant level (even HS) nor have I spent the time to truly learn the game like so many sports nerds out there.

That being said,I decided to give my hand at breaking down the play of a rookie who intrigues me this year. Not our QB, but our 2nd round pick Jonathan Martin. I was obsessed with the notion of him getting killed this game by guys like Dunlap. What I found was that he faced Dunlap only a few times on obvious passing down and didn't give up a sack or any significant pressure that broke up a play. I also learned that Tannehill can really sense the pressure coming at him well, and that this helped all of his OL, including Martin in their stats. Finally, I learned that Geno Atkins is a beast.

Below I have included almost every snap that Martin played except for most running plays where he wasn't at all part of the play. I also include some side observations like my thoughts on the Javorskie Lane fumble and the preceding dead play. These I try to put in brackets and italics to mark them off. I do not include game time, field position or yards to go because I was too lazy to go back and do it. I know that changes the perspective a bit and I am sorry. I may re-edit this post once the coaches film comes out on Rewind, and add it then if I am granted the time.

I do not include a grade for Jonathan Martin. I do not believe I have enough understanding of what makes for good line play to judge. For example, he seems to have a hard time keeping defenders, especially LBs, from shedding his run blocks and he seemed to fall down often rather than actually stop anyone when he goes to the 2nd level. That seems bad to me, but I don't know how easy a thing it is for a 312 lb man to run and keep his feet against more nifty but strong LBs. Hopefully, I will have time to learn more and figure things like that out. [EDIT: It looks like he is making attempts to cut block, but they aren't very good ones.]

Summation: For the sake of those who do not want to read a huge list of plays with rambling comments I will provide my bottom line thoughts. He seems much better in pass protection than run protection. I think he made a few mental errors in the run game, including one where he tripped John Jerry. And blockers shed him a bit too easily when he is run blocking. In pass protection, he is susceptible to the bull rush and was against Dunlap a couple of times, although it didn't result in anything bad and, indeed, opened up the big play to Hartline. He let the defender get their hands inside and punch him a couple of times (mostly Geathers), but Tannehill had another huge play to Bess breaking outside when it happened once.


Please feel free to correct or comment on anything here. It is a long read.

1st Drive

1st Down – Run LG- Geathers, sheds block and gets in on the tackle after 2 yds (2 yd gain)

2nd Drive

1st down – Run right guard - Martin shoots down field to pickup Burfict, who sheds his block fairly quickly and gets in on the tackle after a 7 yard gain. Fasano gets more credit than Martin for opening the hole by blocking Geathers. I think if Martin can keep Burfict occupied, Bush breaks this. (7 yd gain)

2nd down – pass - Doubles Geno Atkins (a complete beast) with John Jerry (Fasano and Clay in for blocking) (16 yards)

2nd down – pass – On Geathers and keeps him out of the play. Incidentally, Johnson did a nice move on Long and even a split second would have disrupted the pass if not outright sacked him. (21 Yards to Bush)

1st down – pass – he was working on Gilberry #95, and he handles him fine. Incidentally, Atkins is doubled by Jerry and Pouncey. They obviously respect him and for good reason. (Hartline for 6 yds)

2nd down – run left – I have to give Jerry props on this play he really paves the way for Bush to get the hard yards for the 1st . Martin works on Stills and pushes him enough to make the hole. Stills is able to turn around and make the tackle, but it was after the 1st down. (5 yards -- 1st down)

1st down – screen left – Martin works on Stills and takes him out of the play. Clay 6 yards (Pouncey gets down field.)

[As an aside, the next play didn’t happen because the Bengals called a time out. They were clearly bothered by the really interesting formation with what looks like Fasano split out wide left, Tannehill in shotgun with Lane, and three receivers including Bush (for those who want to see him split out!) bunched to the right. Tannehill throws the quick pass to bush behind the line as the play is whistled dead. I think one of the reasons they handed the ball to lane on the next play was to keep the D honest as we shall see. Sadly he fumbled.]

2nd down – run right – Martin shoots out to hit Burfict, but hardly touches the guy who runs by. Part of that might have been on Pouncey who pushes him from behind making them both fall past the linebacker. While it doesn’t influence the play, Burfict would have been in position to recover the fumble had another defender not gotten there first. [Fasano again takes on the DE, in this case Dunlap (mismatch I think), who stands him up at the line. Lane tries to run through/around Fasano and Clements dives in behind and forces the fumble. Bush was lined up in the slot and swept back for a fake hand off (ala Ricky in the Wildcat). This type of play worked last season, where bush got the hand off coming back from the slot and ran in two TDs. Clements was not fooled by the play at all and was free to try for the ball].- (Fumble)

3rd Drive

1st Down, pass – Martin on Gilberry. If Gilberry’s pressure at all influenced the incomplete pass, it may have been more where Tannehill stepped, than on Martin. (incomplete to Hartline)

[2nd QTR]

3rd down - pass left – Martin on Dunlap (finally). Dunlap tries to get around him with speed, but Martin forces him outside, up and past the pocket out of the play completely. Sadly, Leon Hall bats the ball down. (Incomplete to Bess).

4th Drive

1st down – run right – Martin shoots past Geathers and goes to cut block Lawson, not sure how effectively though. [I am not sure if this run was a designed counter, or if the Reggie saw the blitzer and decided to put his ankle in the ground beat the guy. In either case, nice play by Reggie on the blitzer. The announcers thought he should have kept running. He took the riskier route, but I am not sure it was the worse route.] (5 yds Bush)

2nd down – pass – Nice Play action that draws the Bengals D to Reggie. Martin forms a wall of blockers to the right. He does his job. (15 yards to Lane)

1st down – run – Martin ends up alone on Geno Atkins (mismatch). Atkins is nifty for man his size. He does a quick spin move and gets around Martin and meets Bush back at the line of scrimmage for the tackle. (0 yards Bush)

2nd down – pass – Martin pushes back Geathers and is ready for Atkins. [Unfortunately, the pressure came from the left and Tannehill had to throw it away. Incidentally, Long and Incognito went to double Johnson, which allowed a few blitzers past to their left. Long immediately tries to recover, but is too late]. (Incomplete to someone)

3rd down – Pass – Martin takes on Dunlap, who again tries to run around him and he is pushed behind the QB. This was the highlight to Clay play. [Blitzers again try and overwhelm the left. I am not sure what happened with Long on this play. Two Blitzer try to get by him, and he tries to take on both with his big wingspan, letting one through. The problem is that DT was there to get the one farther upfield. If Long just took on the other one, it would have been totally fine. It looks like he and DT were unclear about their assignments, despite trying to communicate about it before the snap. Either way, Tannehill gets the pass off beautifully]. (Clay 24 yards).

1st down run middle – Martin takes on Still and pushes him back a couple of yards, but the line is not able to make much of a lane. (Thomas 2 yds)

2nd down pass – Martin on Geathers. Does a fine job keeping him off Tannehill, who makes a nice pass to Fasano. (13 yds)

2nd down run right – Martin shoots to block the MLB, leaving Geathers. Thomas leaves Geathers in his dust through the hole and gets the TD. Coaches respected DT more than Geathers. (2 Yd TD)

5th Drive

3rd down run Takes Geathers out of the play, but not enough.

4th down run middle – Martin and Fasano both take on Geathers, while Jerry gets beaten by Atkins for the stop on Lane. Martin doesn’t help anything by getting no push and basically falling on his face. (0 yds, turn over on downs)

[End of Half]

7th Drive (following Starks INT)

1st Down pass – Geathers, keeps him out of the play. Ball gets thrown quickly. (incomplete to Fasano)

2nd Down pass – following a penalty – Geathers and Martin are battling, and Geathers gets his hands inside Martin pushing him and forces Tannehill (along with another defender) to step up and out a bit. Fortunately, Tannehill is good on the move and hits Bess for a big gain with some YAC. (28 Yards to bess).

1st down – run left – Martin runs out to put a hit on Lawson. Again attempts to cut block him. Not sure it mattered or held him out just enough. But Bush runs to the left sideline and down for the TD. (13 Yds and TD)

8th Drive

1st down – pass – Geathers gets his hands inside on Martin again bit and pushes him back closing in, but he holds him at bay. Tannehill tries to force it down field to Bess and it falls incomplete. (incomplete to Bess)

2nd down – run left – runs out to meet Lawson – again gets no push but he gives a second effort to cut him. Probably didn’t impact the play too much other than keep him busy. (Bush 6 Yds)

3rd and 4 – pass – Dunlap – he turns him out past the pocket, but Dunlap does get past and around him reaching back. Tannehill had just gotten it off in a rifle to Hartline for a first down. Tannehill seems to have that knack of getting the ball out just in time. (7 yds to Hartline)

1st down run middle – he and Jerry take on Atkins. Jerry pushes Atkins about a yard to the left and Martin doesn’t really get a chance to get involved. He gets knocked down from a DL-man being pushed onto him from behind. Bush has no running room and gets hit by the DB (0 yds Bush)

2nd down run left – clearly the line is planning to push to the left. It looks to me like Martin messed this play up in part by missing his assignment. Jerry clearly pushes left not expecting Martin to do the same. Martin actually trips Jerry and takes both of them more or less out of the play. By taking Jerry out of the play, he helps open up the gap for the LB to come up. By not picking up Atkins, he allows him to help make the play from behind. I wasn't going to give grades, but this play gets an F (1 yd run Bush).

3rd down – pass - He picks up the blitzing Burfict, while Dunlap runs right at Tannehill. Screen to DT gets off, and he but can't make the first down as Atkins runs him down from behind. (8 Yds but it puts it closer for DC to actually make a FG)

9th Drive

1st down – run right – Jerry takes the DT and Fasano takes Geathers at DE, while Martin pushes through the hole, but doesn’t see Burfict to his left until it’s too late. If he sees him, this run goes for a respectable few more yards. (Bush 2 yds).

2nd down – pass – On Geathers keeps him out (Fasano 4 yards).

3rd down pass – this is a nice play by Tannehill and Hartline and it involves Martin. Martin gets bullrushed by dunlap right into Tannehill, who steps up and out breaking containment (Dunlap barely gets a hand on the QB). [Hartline takes advantage of the Clements, who I think was seeing if Tannehill was going to run, and gets open for the big play]. (Hartline 30 yds)

1st down Pass – Takes on Geathers and keeps him out of the play. [Tannehill goes for Bess deep double covered. I don’t think this is a good decision by him]. (Incomplete to Bess)

2nd down Pass – Martin plays Dunlap very well strength for strength. This was a good sign for one of his weaknesses, i.e., weakness :) [Unfortunately, Jerry can’t take Atkins one on one and gives up the sack. Atkins is a beast though]. (Sack; loss of 9 yds)

3rd down pass – Dunlap with Thomas chipping him. Pass to Fasano (12 yds)

[4th QTR]

10th Drive

1st down pass – Dunlap bull rushes him back, but he keeps Tannehill clean. [That Clay has worse ADD than I do was the problem on that play. CATCH THE F’ING BALL!!!!] (Incomplete to the goat of the week)

2nd down tries to cut Lawson, who bounces off of him relatively unfazed. Doesn’t matter because the run gets stuffed for -2 anyway (Bush loss of 2 yds)

3rd down pass – Martin leaves Dunlap to take on the MLB. [The plan possibly was to pitch it to Bush, and Dunlap reads it perfectly. I wonder though if Tannehill could have made a better choice to Bess at the sideline? Not sure. A 100% Bush might have avoided Dunlap]. (3 Yds to Bush)

11th Drive

1st down pass – (backed up at the 3) – Martin fights off Geathers, but Geathers does a 2nd bull rush and pushes Martin into Tannehill, but doesn’t seem to influence the play. Pass to Lane for 5 yds. Gets some breathing room (5 yds)

2nd down run middle – nice push on geathers (the whole line got really nice push actually) for 4 yards by DT (4 Yds)

3rd down run right – Works on Geathers and keeps him out of the play. [Proud of DT on this play, as the Bengals were clearly trying to knock the ball out, even with a helmet. He protected the ball and got the first] (Thomas 3 Yd run for 1st)

2nd down pass – On Geathers; keeps him from Tannehill (penalty on defense holding Bush in the pass: 1st down)

1st down run – gets some push on Gilberry. [DT gets knocked out this play]. (2 yds)

3rd down pass – on dunlap, fine – quick out to Bess who gets clocked and drops the ball

12th Drive

2nd Down pass – picks up the DE (can’t see who). (incomplete to Clay, but was a high ball and he was covered)

3rd Down pass – Fasano is lined up in the back field and he and Martin take on Dunlap. (Hartline draws the PI for 16 Yds)

1st down run right – slips by to get after Lawson who has no impact on the play – 3 yds bush

2nd Down run right – line can’t get push – eventually Martin loses Geathers who makes the play on the far left. (loss of 1 by bush)

3rd Down pass – the infamous screen to Clay – Martin pops out front. No impact on play (if Clay cut in though, who knows. He could have helped. (I don't care how many yards, we punted)

Final Drive

Jones had just intercepted the ball and Tannehill took a knee twice to close out the game!!! Yay!!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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