During the Philadelphia game on Sunday, the NFL’s Sound FX caught a conversation between Eagles defensive end, Chris Long, and Broncos right tackle, Menelik Watson.
This is great, #Eagles DE Chris Long is telling his opponent, #Broncos Menelik Watson that he's a good player while Watson is arguing otherwise pic.twitter.com/0VvxYtSqcN— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 9, 2017
The clip starts with Long encouraging Watson that “not all the sacks were on him”, to which Watson replied that his “technique is terrible right now”.
Chris: "I know a lot of those sacks aren't on you."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 9, 2017
Menelik: "My technique is terrible right now."
Chris: "No it's not."
(Remember Kyle Long was the one who convinced Menelik to transfer from Marist College to Saddleback College to play football.)https://t.co/T8yLOkVT3k
Watson, who was put on IR this week due to a calf injury, has struggled in pass protection all year as he has allowed 9 sacks (most in the league) and 26 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
And he’s obviously been playing hurt. IR’d. Good guy, went to JUCO with my brother.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) November 9, 2017
The biggest cause of his issues, as he admits, is poor technique in pass protection.
I pointed this out a few weeks ago in one of my film breakdowns.
Look at the difference between Bolles and Watson here. Bolles is rolling his hips into the block which creates a strong base, while Watson’s center of gravity is completely off and due to his poor footwork.
Offensive line guru and scout, Brandon Thorn digs deeper into Watson’s issues in this video.
Watson will bring tenacity, good strength, and toughness to the OL but will struggle in pass pro. Nothing new but my attempt at showing why pic.twitter.com/J5a1pvmP53— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) August 31, 2017
However, Chris Long has a point. Not only has Watson been playing hurt, but the quarterbacks have not been helping him out much. Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler’s pocket presence is just as much to blame for the pass protection as the offensive line.
It’s true that most of his sacks given up are not on him.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) November 9, 2017
What's more telling than Watson admitting his technique is bad, which we all knew, is that opposing defenses recognize it's not just the Oline to blame for poor protection. Neither Brock or Siemian navigate the pocket well. https://t.co/Jj6JqUxXJL— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) November 9, 2017
Unfortunately, even with his technique issues, Watson was the best Denver had at the right tackle position, especially in the running game. It will be interesting to see who eventually replaces him moving forward this season and, perhaps more important, if Denver’s quarterbacks continue to put more pressure on the offensive line due to their lack of pocket awareness.