A few weeks back when it was obvious the Saints weren’t going anywhere this year, I hinted that I would be looking at the young talent already on the Saints roster. To my amazement there are already mock drafts out there (rolls eyes) the draft is roughly five months away so there is plenty of time to dissect the college talent coming out. Right now with four games left is the perfect time to dig into the players that are going to shape this team for years to come.

This week I’m going to look at rookie offensive lineman Andrus Peat. Yes, the Saints drafted him to be right tackle Zach Strife’s replacement (which could happen as early as next year) but because of a failure at the guard position the Saints decided to plug Peat in there starting a couple of weeks ago in Houston.

This past week Peat had the daunting task of going up against a very good Carolina interior line with the likes of Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. All in all I thought he held up pretty well considering he’s learning a new position on the fly. Peat uses his arms and hands well getting good extension at times to keep the opponent at bay and even when he holds, he holds the correct way – grabbing the jersey between the pads which hardly ever gets called.

I found his run blocking was really good in this game but his pass blocking, while not bad, could use some fundamental work, most notably the use of his lower body for leverage. While he is used to playing tackle where his footwork is of the utmost importance to fend off the explosive edge rushers, at the guard position he’s dealing with mammoth bull rushers and at times seems to play too upright and is pushed back.

This is something that only time on the field and coaching will correct but it is very correctable.

The first half of the game was very uneventful for Peat which is a good thing for a lineman, if you don’t hear his name called or see Brees running for his life because his man was beat–so let’s start with a couple of plays from the 1st half.

The Grind Factor Andrus Peat Edition

The Saints have the ball 2nd & 6 from the Panthers 14 yard line with 8:46 to go in the 1st quarter.

This is the the Benjamin Watson touchdown play. I choose this play not so much as to what he did on the play but how they used him to fool and sell a run play, this is just a great play call.

Peat is going to pull to his right as if it’s a running play but is in fact going to block defensive end Charles Johnson while Mark Ingram also comes across in what looks like a hand-off and helps with the block, below is a pre-snap look at the personnel and alignment.

Watson TD

What this does is freeze is Thomas Davis as he locks in on the play fake as seen below.

Watson TD 3It’s really a bang-bang play, Brees has the match-up he wants but if Davis reads it correctly and rushes the passer Brees can just throw it out the back of the endzone, instead he reads run and Watson easily splits the defenders as seen below.

Watson TD 2

The Saints have the ball 1st & 10 at their 24 yard line with 9:19 to go in the second quarter

This is the Mark Ingram 14 yard run were he fumbles the ball and Peat recovers it. This is just a great job of blocking up front, Peat, Max Unger and Senio Kelemente all have good blocks. Ingram probably thought he was back at Alabama when this monster hole opened up.

Fumble 1

Fumble 2

Kelemete gets just enough of LB Luke Kuechly to knock him off his spot and then basically tackles him from behind as Ingram is running by – I’m surprised a flag wasn’t thrown.

Fumble 4Sometimes you have to be aware and lucky at the same time because when the ball was jarred loose there was nothing but Panthers players around the ball and Peat came up with it as seen below.

Fumble 3The second half gets underway in the worst possible way – a three and out.

The Saints have the ball 3rd and 10 at their 20 yard line with 10:13 left in the 3rd quarter

Really a tough situation here for the Saints facing a 3rd and long deep in their own territory, especially against this defense.

The Panthers are going to show that they are rushing six but what they do is drop the linebackers back into coverage and stunt defensive end Jared Allen who slips behind nose tackle Kawann Short. Below is a pre-snap look.

Sack 1Andrus Peat will probably get credited with giving up the sack to Kawann Short but I think he did the right thing. When the play gets going Peat initially has Short but then recognizes the stunt and peels off his block to pick up Jared Allen who had cut behind Short.

Terron Armstead who originally was supposed to block Allen but was late picking up Short when Peat released him, below is the end result – a nine yard sack of Brees forcing a punt deep in their own territory.

Sack 2Sack 3Sack 4Sack 5

The Saints have the ball 1st & 10 at their 48 yard line with 7:42 to go in the game

This play is a simple toss sweep to Mark Ingram that went for 13 yards down the sideline. I used this play because Payton loves to get his guards out front on screens and sweeps (this year he has used Armstead a lot more in that role than in the past)

Peat’s job is to get to the second level and take out the linebacker – in this case, all world Luke Kuechly. Not an easy task by any means but Peat pulls it off going low and taking Kuechly’s legs out from under him. The screen shots that follow are pretty self explanatory.

Luke 1Luke 2Luke 3

Peat looks like a different player than the one during training camp that was out of shape and had trouble finishing the gassers. I guess you could say he’s learning on the fly with his new position and sometimes he looks awkward doing it  – there was a screen play where he was 15 yards in front of the runner and tried to take out the safety but whiffed bad, he’ll learn that sometimes going all out full at times is not for the best, a screen play is predicated on patience and block reading.

Well that’s a wrap for this weeks Grind Factor, I know it’s late but better late than never I guess.

WDW is going to host a game chat this Sunday starting at 11AM central time and continuing until….so I hope to see you there and as always – WHO DAT!!!