It is a well-known fact that Quinn Meinerz is one of the best, if not the best, offensive guards in the league. He is a physical presence that strikes fear into the hearts of both defensive linemen and linebackers. So, it seems like it should be no surprise that PFF has him as the highest-graded run-blocker since Week 10 with a grade of 90.1.
Also, I know that I did a breakdown on Meinerz just a couple of weeks ago, but I love watching him so I wanted to do another one this week as well.
The big picture
Quinn Meinerz only played the first half of the game before being taken to a hospital at halftime due to an irregular heartbeat. For those that don’t know, he was back in Denver by Monday and is on track to play on Saturday against the Lions.
Before leaving the game, Meinerz managed to play 32 offensive snaps for the Broncos. 21 of those were passes and the other 11 were run plays.
As usual, Meinerz was extremely clean in the pass-blocking department. Now, the Chargers aren’t necessarily known as a team that has a great interior pass rush, but their defensive lineman was next to useless when lined up against Meinerz. They tried a handful of DE/ DT stunts and some A-gap blitzes as well, but nothing got passed Meinerz. He did give up one pressure though, but even that was not an egregious one.
When it came to the run game, I have to say that this was not one of his better performances. Now, he was super clean and did a solid job up front, but he just wasn't able to get the same amount of vertical displacement that we have grown used to this season. But while he didn’t drive people downfield as much, he did a great job with his positional blocking and securing running lanes. And, as usual, he was a menace to linebackers and didn’t miss a block at the second level.
Let’s take a look at the numbers now. In the passing game, Meinerz played 21 snaps and gave up one pressure, zero QB hits, and zero sacks. He received 20 “good” blocking grades and one “meh” tally, which, according to the RGS, is a massive 20.5 points or 98%. In the running game, I gave him two “great” plays, seven “good” plays, and two “meh” plays. This would come out to 10.5 points or 95%. His combined grade for the game was 31 points or 97%.
These are some great numbers. Now it’s time to look at a few plays in depth.
First off, we’ll be taking a look at the first touchdown they scored.
This is a simple inside run (looks like inside zone right to me) that is designed to be run through either the A or B gap. Meinerz has a deuce block up to backer with McGlinchey. Essentially it’s that they have to block the defensive tackle and strong-side linebacker, and who ends up blocking the linebacker depends on which gap that backer shoots. In this play, he ends up shooting A gap so Meinerz picks him up. And he does that very well.
The first thing that Meinerz does a good job with is doing a good job keeping his left hand free so that he can pick up the backer when he shows. Next, he has great leverage by having his head on the right side of the backer and his butt in the rushing lane. He even shoves the first linebacker inside and then manages to block the safety. Any play you block two guys on one play is a great block.
This next play is the best man-on-man block he had this week.
This also seems to be another inside zone play, but this time Meinerz is working a deuce-to-backer block with Lloyd Cushenberry rather than McGlinchey. This time it is Meinerz who ends up being tasked with taking care of the defensive tackle.
Now if I am being nitpicky, his pad level could have been better and he brought his feet too close together and took too big of steps while he was engaged in the drive block. Everything is supposed to be done with short, choppy steps and a wide base (about as wide as your feet are while in your stance). But even though his technique wasn’t great, he still managed to drive a 310-pound man four yards downfield. That’s power.
Typically I teach my players that is a cardinal sin to engage your outside hand on a double-team block while in pass protection. This play is an exception to that rule.
When you are in pass protection and don’t have a direct threat over the top of you, it is then your job to find work. And this is a great example of a guard finding someone to hit. You can see Meinerz come over and give a nice shove to the NT that Cushenberry is locked up with. And you can see that it doesn’t have to be a hard shove for it to be an effective one. A key to this block is proper hand placement. You can see Meinerz land his hands on the ribs and hip of the NT. Striking the hip is a great place to hit as that is the point on someone’s body where it is easiest to knock them off balance laterally.
Meinerz’s blocking is textbook. And I love to use him as an example to the players I coach.
While there weren’t a bunch of plays that really jumped out of the screen at you, Meinerz had yet another dominant game and executed at a high level in all facets of the game. He continues to prove his worth and his worthiness of an All-Pro nod.