The gem of the offseason for the Titans is left guard Andy Levitre who is known around the league as a premier pass blocker. One of the things fail to see how ever is that he has proven to be a very effective run blocker.
Since 2009 Levitre has steadily improved his run blocking, and it has shown in his running back's YPC numbers through his gap. Behind Levitre runners have rushed 2009: 4.5, 2010: 4.5, 2011: 6.0, 2012: 8.2 according to the fine folks at ProFootballFocus.com .
For an even better look at Levitre, I will examine the tape from the 2012 Titans @ Bills game snap by snap. Then I will explain who won each snap, and I will keep score next to the summaries. THIS IS JUST A LIST OF CLEAR ONE-ON-ONE MATCHUPS WHERE THE DEFENDER COULD HAVE BEATEN LEVITRE TO MAKE A PLAY. HE PLAYED MORE THAN 34 SNAPS, BUT THOSE WERE THE ONES WHERE THERE WAS A CLEAR WINNER AND LOSER.
V.S. Jurrell Casey (seven snaps)
- Andy Levitre walls off Casey on the screen. (1-0 A.L.)
-Nice punch from Casey, good pressure. (1-1 tie)
-Casey tries and inside swim move, but gets caught and beaten. (2-1 A.L.)
-Casey was a load, but he is unable to get off of a block as A.L. drives him 5-yards off the ball (3-1 A.L.)
-Double-team knocks Casey off-balance, other guy moves up to LB and Levitre finishes with a pancake. (4-1 A.L.)
-Stone-walled again. (5-1 A.L.)
-Casey finally wins another one with a nice bull-rush. (5-2 A.L.)
V.S. Akeem Ayers (five snaps)
-A.L. pulls and creates a running lane on on a power play. (1-0 A.L.)
-Double-team with center leads to Levitre locking onto Ayers and neutralizing him. (2-0 A.L.)
-Screen pass, Levitre knocks Ayers off his feet with a cut. (3-0 A.L)
-Neither seems interested, A.L. walls Ayers off but the play had already been made because of a bad center block. Tie. (still 3-0 A.L.)
-Digs out Ayers on another power play (4-0 A.L.)
V.S. Sen'Derrick Marks (11 snaps)
- Pass play, bootleg away. No contest (0-0)
-Solid pass-pro. No pressure allowed. (1-0 A.L.)
-Not close. Marks goes wrong way and A.L. makes him pay. (2-0 A.L.)
-Forces Marks inside on 2&4 RB runs for a 1st in B-gap. (3-0 A.L.)
-It happens again. (4-0 A.L.)
-This is getting sad...(5-0 A.L.)
-Ends up blocking Derrick Morgan WITH Marks (6-0 A.L.)
-Knocks Marks out of his rush lane. Marks goes to opposite A-gap. (7-0 A.L.)
-Marks cannot anchor against Levitre (8-0 A.L.)
-And right on cue, PANCAKE! (9-0 A.L.)
-Dropped him to his knees (10-0 A.L.)
V.S. Mike Martin (nine snaps)
-Double-team to LB, ends up on Martin. Drives him nine yards back.(1-0 A.L.)
-Driven three yards back before he Levitre releases to go to the next level. (2-0 A.L.)
-Pass play. Stops initial surge, quick pass completed. (3-0 A.L.)
-X-Stunt. Smoothly hands off Martin and picks up Kam Wimbley. (4-0 A.L.)
-Quick pass. Stone walls Martin. (5-0 A.L.)
-Good push, but doesn't get deep enough to affect Fitz in any obvious way. (6-0 A.L.)
-HARD punch sends Martin reeling. Doesn't recover in time. (7-0 A.L.)
-Neutralizes rush. (8-0 A.L.)
-Digs and drives Martin out of his gap. (9-0 A.L.)
-Caves DaJohn in (who had C-gap duty) leading to a 16-yard Fitz run (1-0 A.L.)
-Misses Jordan Babineaux on a delayed blitz. Disrupts passer, no sack. (1-1 A.L.)
-Beat Klug with a driving block. (2-1 A.L.)
-Washes Klug down creating a big hole. (3-1 A.L.)
Final count: (31-3 A.L.)
What does it all mean?
It means that our DL (who has proven they can beat inferior talent) was dominated when it came to matching up one-on-one with Levitre. This guy is going to be a force with consistent and competent help from an offensive line and coaching staff that understand what it takes to be great.
Comment and let me know your thoughts. Sorry if it was a little lengthy.