In a Glinch: Breaking Down Jaylon Moore's Move to Right Tackle
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The lye dumped on the open wound left from the San Francisco 49ers' Week 9 loss to the Arizona Cardinals was learning that right tackle Mike McGlinchey tore his quadriceps.
McGlinchey's injury forced head coach Kyle Shanahan to play veteran Tom Compton at the right tackle spot. Compton's play was that of a man who does not belong in the NFL.
Therefore, some of the chatter coming into the Week 10 contest against the Los Angeles Rams was who might start at right tackle: Compton or rookie Jaylon Moore.
Jaylon Moore was a left tackle in college. He played 22 snaps in Week 4 against Seattle at left tackle and started there in Week 7 against Indianapolis. Making a switch from the left to the right is not an easy transition. The movement, footwork, and hand placement are all reversed.
Moore must have had a good week of practice because he made his second NFL start at right tackle against the Los Angeles Rams.
Unfortunately, Moore hurt his knee after the first series and did not see the field again.
While Moore did not allow a sack, pressure, or hit in pass protection, some of his run blocking was below average.
Below is a breakdown of Moore's first and only series against the Rams. All plays were in the first quarter.
1st and 10 at the SF 7 (12:57)
Shanahan decided to test his rookie right away, calling "Toss 18 Zorro Cat" for the game's first offensive play.
"Zorro" is an outside zone run that attacks the edge of the formation. The back aims for the outside leg of the Y receiver. In this case, the F receiver Deebo Samuel protects the inside of the tight end.
Shanahan used "Zorro" a handful of times in the opening series.
Moore was uncovered, so he could shoot immediately to the second level to clear out any defenders. With nobody there, he continued to flow with the play looking for someone to smash.
Running back Elijah Mitchell gained four yards on the play.
2nd and 6 at the SF 11 (12:20)
Shanahan's "Deadpool" package for Deebo Samuel is perfect for a highly versatile athlete. The opening run for Samuel, another "Toss 18 Zorro Cat," gained seven yards. Samuel finished the game with 36 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
With a bit of help from right guard Daniel Brunskill, Moore kept defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson sealed off and away from Samuel.
1st and 10 at the SF 18 (11:43)
Running back Jeff Wilson made his 2021 debut on Monday night and opened his season with a 5-yard run off left guard.
I believe the play was "Wizz" with Samuel executing the sift block. "Wizz" attacks weak and has the running back take an outside zone course toward the play-side tackle. However, he can make a "bang" cut after reading his gaps from outside-in.
Moore's job on the play was to protect the backside, which turned out to be a problem for him throughout the series. Fortunately, he had no issue on the play.
It wasn't a pretty block, but Moore stayed in front of Donald long enough to be effective.
3rd and 6 at the SF 22 (10:28)
I wonder if Moore was thinking about Aaron Donald last week as the 49ers prepared for the Rams. The task of blocking Donald one-on-one in pass protection must have crossed his mind a few times, so I am curious what the mental and physical strategy might have been to take on one of the NFL's most ferocious defenders.
On the fifth play of the possession, Shanahan called a pass to Kittle using "Jet" pass protection. Jet slides four linemen to the two widest defenders, leaving the back and tackle to pick up the opposite edge.
In this case, fullback Kyle Juszczyk picked up linebacker Troy Reeder coming through the B-gap, and left tackle Trent Williams secured the edge against outside linebacker Von Miller. The remainder of the line slid to the right.
At the snap, Moore's eyes darted immediately to outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. Once Floyd dropped, Moore was one-on-one with Donald.
Moore had good footwork and kept Donald off his body, forcing him around the pocket and away from Garoppolo.
1st and 10 at the SF 40 (9:59)
Shanahan called another "Zorro Cat" toss to the right, which gained onlyone yard. Moore had an average block against Robinson, almost trying to manhandle him rather than flip his hips to gain position.
However, the paltry gain was not all on Moore. Kittle lost contact with Floyd, and Mitchell tried to spin out of trouble but ended up in Robinson's lap.
2nd and 9 at the SF 41 (9:41)
Shanahan called another run from the "Deadpool" package, asking Samuel to take a handoff and run up the gut.
Samuel gained nine yards, and Moore was able to keep Donald away from the gap despite slipping off Donald. However, there are zero reasons to complain about a 9-yard gain.
1st and 10 at the 50 (8:30)
Here's where some of Moore's backside blocks started to come into play. Shanahan called what looked like an inside zone run with a run-pass option on the right side of the formation.
Wilson started left, meaning Moore was executing a "man" block – his only job was to secure the backside of the formation.
Once Wilson read his gaps, he made a "bang" cut to open space. Unfortunately, Moore was not able to keep defensive tackle Marquise Copeland away from Wilson.
In Moore's defense, that's not an easy block to make. He must flip his hips around and then re-anchor to keep the lineman away or use a Trent Williams-type move to smash the defender into the turf.
Maybe Moore makes this type of block when he's playing his natural left tackle position, as he struggled with it for the remainder of the series.
1st and 10 at the LA 39 (6:27)
After another no-issue pass block and a quarterback sneak, Shanahan called in a "Zorro" run again, but this time to the left side.
Again, Moore's job here was to secure the backside edge, and again he failed to do so. He was never in any powerful position, never flipped his hips, and blocked the entire play laterally.
Copeland must have realized Moore had no position and ripped through to help assist on the tackle, holding Mitchell to no gain.
The following five plays included two passes and three runs – two to the left and one up the middle. Moore had no issues with these plays.
2nd and 5 at the LA 7 (2:37)
Much like I want to know what Moore was thinking during his preparation, I would love to be a fly on the offensive line's film room wall when this play hits the screen.
Aaron Donald probably had his fill of the 49ers' first possession and decided to take matters into his own hands.
At the snap, Moore moved to the inside, which Donald read and performed a dainty swim move to enter the backfield unblocked.
Moore looked off-balance, as if he was expecting to hit Donald, and ended up at the second level with nothing to do. He played it off well, looking around for someone to hit, but the damage had been done. Donald dropped Mitchell for a 1-yard loss.
3rd and 6 at the LA 8 (2:01)
Garoppolo found Kittle in the endzone to cap off an 18-play, 11-minute drive. There were no issues for Moore in protection on the play.
Moore did well with runs to his side but struggled as a backside lineman. Again, I wonder if that's just him playing a new position at the highest level of football, or maybe he hurt his knee early in the drive and had trouble moving to the left.
Regardless, he was excellent in pass protection and helped 49er running backs gain 12 yards on runs in his direction.
On Tuesday, the good news was that Moore's knee didn't have any structural damage, and I am hopeful that he starts again this week in Jacksonville.
Images and video courtesy of NFL.com.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference unless noted.
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