General Manager Brandon Beane entered the offseason flush with money and draft assets, and through this free agency period, Beane hasn’t wasted any time or resources. The second-year GM added 17 (including WR Duke Williams) new pieces to the team, which includes six hogs for new offensive line coach Bobby Johnson to work with. Beane’s most recent addition was former Titans starting left guard Quinton Spain.
We’ve agreed to terms on a one-year deal with G Quinton Spain. #GoBills
Details: https://t.co/4Dr3tDfPUV pic.twitter.com/u3olkxiMXN
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) April 3, 2019
Spain was an undrafted free agent signed by the Titans in 2015 who has appeared in 50 games, 48 of which were starts. He’s another lineman that offers some versatility after having played left tackle in college, but he is a full time left guard now, in my opinion. Spain is what Beane’s former mentor, Dave Gettleman, would refer to as a “hog molly.” He is a large human, standing at 6-foot-4 and in the 330-pound range, Spain is a presence that should help the Bills win the line of scrimmage battle on Sundays.
In the run game, Spain has the road grader mentality that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will love. He will bring the attitude this offense hasn’t seen since the departure of Richie Incognito. Spain’s wide body and long arms envelop defenders. He excels on run concepts that put him on track to attack defensive linemen on an angle. LeSean McCoy will have more entry points at the line of scrimmage thanks to Spain and his ability to create horizontal displacement.
His strength at the point of attack will be an asset to the offense. In 2018, the Bills’ offense was horrendous in the run game. According to Football Outsiders, they were the third-worst team in adjusted line yards, dead last at springing their running backs into the second level, and third worst at getting them into the open field.
Given Bobby Johnson’s schematic history and the talent of McCoy and Frank Gore, the Bills won’t be afraid to run the ball up the middle with Spain at the point of attack. Spain works well with his teammates at securing defensive linemen with combination or feed blocks before moving to the second level, but he has also shown a high level of efficiency at executing reach blocks play-side. He flashes some athleticism that you wouldn’t expect from a man of his size.
In the passing game, Spain’s size, length, and awareness are his strengths. The Bills will likely be transitioning to more aggressive sets, and this will play right into Spain’s wheelhouse, allowing him to ‘jump’ defenders. Meeting them at the line of scrimmage will allow Spain to get his meathooks on rushers and overwhelm them with his size and length. The pop in his hands and wide frame will allow Spain to displace rushers out of passing lanes — lanes that will give Allen a clean view of the field, especially over the middle, where he needs to continue to improve.
With more angle and vertical sets planned for the offensive line, you can expect defensive coordinators to run more two- and three-man games.
Love Howard Mudd's pass pro philosophies. I'm sick of vertical sets.
Set shorter, go get him
Aggressive, passive, aggressive (Not passive, aggressive, passive (vert sets)
Shake hands, start at the endpoint
All passes are play action, go hit em pic.twitter.com/tRW1BXDxRm
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) October 6, 2018
Teams will use this strategy because on the snap the tackles gain width to meet the edge rushers out wide as close to the line of scrimmage as possible to create what is referred to as a ‘dish.’
This can essentially make a guard responsible for holding the edge, almost as a quasi-tackle so teams will attack that with stunts.
That’s why typically in practice the interior offensive linemen work together in drills; the success of the passing game relies on those three players working together to maintain the depth of the pocket and eliminate any sort of stunt or delayed blitz from the second level. When the guards struggle with this, as Vladimir Ducasse does, it can draw the QB off the spot.
Spain’s experience and awareness have helped him recognize when a defense has something up their sleeve, and he has the tools to eliminate these sorts of strategies. This should help Allen keep his eyes downfield longer and not see ‘ghosts’ like he did at times in 2018.