Clady Earns Recognition

This is definitely a SunnySide kind of article – Doug Farrar analyzes Clady’s work on the first TD drive against the Saints. The full article also deals with the Wildcat formations that the Miami Dolphins employed against the Pats – I recommend it highly. Here is the Clady excerpt:

Ryan Clady -- Better than Long in the Long Term?

New Orleans Saints 32 at Denver Broncos 34

While the direct snap is obviously the focus of this article (I recommend that you read the entire article – excellent work), I also wanted to study the second left tackle taken in the 2008 draft behind Long: Boise State's Ryan Clady, who's been very impressive for the Broncos. Time constraints prevented me from making Clady more of a story this week, but I'll have a more in-depth focus later this season. For now, here's Denver's first touchdown drive against the Saints, and Clady's involvement in it.

On Denver's first run play of the game, a second-and-10 from the New Orleans 45 and 1:30 elapsed in the first quarter, Clady took Saints end Will Smith to the left as guard Ben Hamilton did the same with tackle Sedrick Ellis. This gave Selvin Young enough of a lane for a 9-yard gain. On the third-and-1 that followed, New Orleans moved nose tackle Kendrick Clancy over Hamilton as Broncos went I-formation. Tight end Tony Scheffler motioned left outside Clady. At the snap, Clady rode Smith outside and sealed him out as Michael Pittman ran inside for 2 yards and the first down.

First-and-10 from the New Orleans 34. Smith showed Clady something on this play, almost getting to Cutler and powering the rookie back from the snap. Nice straightforward drive by Smith here, but Cutler completed a 4-yard pass to Eddie Royal. Clady held Smith up at the point on the next play, showing great power to take all Smith had as Selvin Young came around left on a sweep. Smith tried to get around Clady to his right so that he could tackle Young, but Clady engaged him just long enough for Young to scoot by and gain 7 yards before being forced out of bounds by safety Roman Harper. Clady also got away with a pretty blatant face mask on this play. At this point, I'm giving the power advantage to Smith.

Two plays later, the Broncos had a second-and-7 at the Saints' 20. Nice protection here from Clady on a tight four-wide set, as he took Smith straight on with no threat to Cutler on an incomplete quick pass to Brandon Marshall. The incompletion was more about Mike McKenzie's coverage -- and judging by Jay Cutler's sign language, a blown out route as well.

Third-and-7, and Denver went three-wide from the shotgun. This is where I saw what Clady is capable of. Smith made an outside move and played right into Clady's hands. Smith was fanned out of the play with the kind of technique you don't expect to see from a rookie tackle. He's not quite Joe Thomas -- imagine the perfect arc of an opening door and you'll have an idea of Thomas' technique -- but Clady knew how long to keep Smith outside before pushing him completely out of the play back inside. Ellis almost had Hamilton beat inside, but Cutler stepped up in the pocket and hit Brandon Stokley for a 17-yard gain. The Broncos keep their drive going.

First-and-goal from the Saints' 3, and another good play for Clady. He handfought Smith at the line, only to head up to the second level to chip Randall Gay as Michael Pittman went up the middle for two yards and just short of a touchdown. Cutler hit Nate Jackson on the next play for a 1-yard score, and I was impressed that Clady didn't get lost in the aggression at the line, understood his read responsibility, and made that second block.

I'll definitely be keeping an eye on Clady, and doing a more thorough article later in the year. I like what I've seen in run- and pass-blocking. Clady is as agile as he is aggressive, making him a perfect fit for the Denver zone scheme. There are those who believe that Clady has the most potential of any of the tackles taken in the first round of this draft. We'll put him under the microscope as he gets more familiar with the NFL.

 Posted by: Doug Farrar on 24 Sep 2008

Originally posted at MHR

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