Isaiah Buggs only got a cup of coffee in the regular season finale versus Baltimore, logging just seven snaps, but managed to impress with that scarce playing time. Quick look at three of those reps today.
Twice, Buggs showed how linemen are supposed to take on double-team/combo blocks. It’s easy to get washed out when 600+ pounds of linemen are trying to push you upfield and into your linebackers. To counter that, you want to turn your hips and at worst, collapse the hole. That at least creates a pile and one gap the back has to work around.
Here’s a coaching point of it. 2014 footage of the Miami Dolphins’ practicing this concept. Check out the video and then we’ll see how it translates to Sunday’s.
So that’s what Buggs does here. On this play, he turns when he feels the double-team by LT James Hurst (#74). Just as impressively, he’s able to stay on his feet, find the ball, work off the block, and make the tackle. When the tackle can’t knock you down a gap, the guard can’t secure the block, and if the back bounces off the LG’s hip, which Justice Hill does here, Buggs is in position to make the play.
And he does.
Same idea here later in the game. Double-team/combo block. Buggs feels it, turns his body to reduce surface area so he doesn’t get washed down/pushed upfield, then turns again as the LT climbs to disengage from the block and help in on the tackle.
Just a great job to secure his gap and then defeat the block and the effort to get in on the stop.
One final play. Different concept. Not looking at a double-team block. Just like the strength and hand use at the point of attack against the LG. Powerful initial strike by Buggs with proper placement. In the GIF below, you’ll see his punch soften the guard’s inside shoulder.
On this rep, he shows a good pad level, hand placement, and is able to control the block from start to finish. Watch his hands vs the Ravens’ player. Buggs has them high, inside the chest, while the guard has his outside hand low and on Buggs’ hip.
He’s able to secure his gap and the back ends up cutting away, though penetration by Tyson Alualu (who was unblocked, Ravens running midline option here) factored in.
Kinda wish Buggs would’ve played more in the finale. He finishes the year with just 75 total snaps. But he had a solid preseason and flashed the traits that got him drafted. Hand use, strength, and overall solid technique. Sticking with the same DL coach in college and the NFL, Karl Dunbar, has surely only accelerated that development.
He’ll be one of those “second year risers” sure to be talked about come training camp. Won’t be Javon Hargrave, can’t fill that role entirely, but Buggs is another rotational piece that will offer solid depth to couple with Stephon Tuitt’s return.