Crowdsourcing: The Colon Consensus

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

It’s always difficult to evaluate interior line play, as you often don’t notice the contributions being made between the tackles unless you’re paying close attention. An interior lineman might stand out because they’ve made an obvious mistake or because the announcer specifically made note of their contributions on a particular play, but this doesn’t always give an accurate reflection of how they’ve performed over the course of the game as a whole.

Willie Colon is an interesting case and evaluations of how he performed during the 2013 season seem to cover a wide spectrum. Since Colon was so media-accessible all year, could this influence how the media portrays his performance as we suspect may have been the case for some outspoken offensive linemen in previous years? Also, now that there are detailed analytics widely available, will some people use these as a crutch or temper their own pre-conceived notions so they don’t differ too dramatically from those ratings or will they place his performance within the correct context?

The Jets face a decision on Colon, who started every game at right guard, but suffered a torn right biceps in the final game of the season, an injury with an estimated recovery time of four months. He was only on a one-year deal with the team, so will be an unrestricted free agent who is likely to still be injured when the 2014 league year gets underway. However, he did express a strong desire for Rex Ryan to return as coach in December that would suggest he too was anticipating being back.

After the jump, a collection of quotes from bloggers and beat writers analyzing Colon’s performance during the 2013 season. For context, Pro Football Focus ranked him 36th out of 81 NFL guards. He was 4th in terms of pass protection but just 59th in terms of run blocking. Colon was also among the league leaders in terms of penalties.

The Jets have issues at both guard positions: Willie Colon, who was mediocre at right guard, is a free agent, and tore his biceps at the end of the year. – Seth Walder, NY Daily News

Colon wasn’t perfect but was effective. Would be wise to re-up the veteran and perhaps draft his replacement this season. – Kristian Dyer, Metro

Colon was fine for the Jets in 2013 and while the Jets might bring him back as camp insurance in 2014, between him and rookie Brian Winters it was a rough go for the Jets. – Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog

…already asserted himself as a leader in the Jets locker room after spending just one year with the team. He’s also been solid this season, and I’m sure the Jets have appreciated his experience and excellent pass protection. Colon has done a great job of keeping Geno Smith’s pocket clean, even though fellow guard Vladimir Ducasse and Brian Winters have struggled mightily in that regard this season. – NFLSpinZone

Four of the five main offensive linemen—D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Willie Colon, Austin Howard—all graded out around the league average, according to Pro Football Focus’s cumulative grades. – Dom Cosentino, Star Ledger

Colon was signed to a one year contract this offseason to fill the right guard position, and he proved to be a very solid pickup. Colon has become a leader in the locker room, and he was a very good run blocker all year. He had his typical struggles with penalties, but overall the Jets were very pleased with his performance. – Greg Sulik, Rant Sports

Colon had a good year for the Jets – John B, GangGreenNation

Considering the contract they got him on, a productive, consistent season for Colon who brings a needed attitude to the Jets offensive line. – Joe Caporoso, Turn on the Jets

Colon had a decent season for the Jets, but he came to the team with injury concerns – Brian Costello, New York Post

Colon, who signed a one-year contract last offseason, was a solid pick-up for the Jets. He started 16 games and graded out well, especially as a run blocker. – Rich Cimini, ESPN

How would you summarize Colon’s performance this year and would you like the Jets to bring him back? Let us know in the comments.




34 comments
Joseph Imperial
Joseph Imperial

Bottom line, the O line has been crappy this past few yrs. You need to improve the line if you are a ground and pound team. There were too many games this yr that the O line couldn't protect or block for nothing!

Fartrell Cluggins
Fartrell Cluggins

Pass blocking will be essential going forward with Marty and an increase in firepower at WR/TE. We already have one guard spot completely in flux with Winters. I don't see the benefit of opening up the other one too -- as opposed to re-signing a cheap, solid veteran who knows the system and is a positive locker room presence. Plus, he was very vocal in support of Rex, so I think Rex will lobby to bring him back. If he's healthy I think he'll be the starter at RG in 2014.

a57se
a57se

In order to answer the Colon question properly, we need to answer the questions about Schlauderaff, Aboushi, Winters, Campbell and Vlad first.

If we don't think we have two starters and a solid back-up out of that group for R and LG, then we need to being someone in. Are we going to use more draft resources on the O'line? Can a Gabe Jackson step in and contribute more then Winters did last season? Do we really want to use a 1st or 2nd rounder on a Guard with all the talent in this draft?

Since Colon knows the system already and performed reasonably well, he would be the likely candidate from free agency and since he won't be fully recovered until draft time at the earliest, we can hedge our bets a little and wait to make a decision on him..


privatejet
privatejet

Regardless of whether they bring Colon back or not, they still need to shore up the OL. Bring in at least one FA and draft someone in the first 3 rounds. You can't play physical ground and pound football with a mere "serviceable" O line.

SackDance99
SackDance99

The subjective part of evaluating Colon is that he was also a vocal team leader that could flash a SB ring and try to instill the "Steeler Way" into the locker room.  The Jets are a young team and need that type of veteran leadership.


As for his play, I think the OL was held back by a rookie LG and QB.  So, there was a lot of stunting in the A gaps and that likely made it much harder to block.  Assuming he can come back healthy and won't want much more than the vet minimum, I'd bring back Colon.

nesboogie
nesboogie

Thoughts on signing Jairus Byrd?

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

Assuming he's back to form at season's start, resign him. Although no longer great, the line performed better last year than the year before. Also, with lots of low key guys on the OL, his attitude helped.


The biggest question is now that the Tanny-Rex drafting braintrust is gone, is Idzik better at drafting OL talent? The jury is still out on the OL rooks drafted last year, but we need help. Every time I hear Vlad's name, I still wince. After 3 years, he's never blossomed into the player you'd expect from a 2nd round pick.

machoking
machoking

I would keep him because we have other holes to fill. I would love to see the Jets take a ton of offense this year in the draft so that we can me a more explosive team. However, they will most likely pick the best player available (Which is smart).  With that being sad, you would have to keep guys like Willie.... Good attitude, plays above average, just worried about injuries...

Bernard Mclaughlin
Bernard Mclaughlin

Gota bring him back, but with that said le Vlad walk and get the best available FA Guard y can. I'm also hoping that the other two kids wedrafted with winters ill progree to be viable backups this year and maybe step up in the next couple of years.


BDarc23
BDarc23

If Colon isn't resigned then I think you are likely to have a downgrade at that spot next year.  You will have the Winters situation again.

Bent
Bent

For what it's worth, my own take is that he was well above average.  I don't see him as a downgrade from Brandon Moore at all and I would see it as a mistake to let him walk.  I expect him back.

johnnyl65
johnnyl65

Although Colons play may have been below avg. his leadership was vital to the confidence of this Offense this year. Now that's not that I'm saying he needs to be resigned just that I wouldn't mind if he was.

r_in_ct
r_in_ct

It doesn't help the discussion that in one breath, citing PFF, you say "He was 4th in terms of pass protection but just 59th in terms of run blocking" while then another source that some people tend to believe as reputable [*cough cough ESPN cough*] says, "He started 16 games and graded out well, especially as a run blocker."

a57se
a57se

@privatejet 

You actually make a very good point. What type of offense are we going to run next year and what is the long term goal?

MM's WCO has different requirements for the OL then the offense we ran at the end of the season in order to maximize production and minimize turnovers.

 If we are building a run first offense centered around a mobile QB who needs simple reads in the passing game and maximum protection so he has time to get through progressions a la Seattle and SF then we need to draft top notch O'line talent, Solid blocking TE's who can catch

and WR who are tough over the middle and good at blocking as well as hard nosed power RB's. That isn't the type of Offense MM has built elsewhere but was closer to what the Jets were doing the last few games in 2013.

Mateen Kemet
Mateen Kemet

@frustjetfn Get over it, ish happens.  The draft is a crap shoot, sometimes you hit gold ( kerley in 5th) and sometime you get bupkiss ( Vlad in the 2nd).   How many wash outs have other teams had?   Hell e have Detroits 2nd rd CB and Indy's 2nd rd Tackle on our squad right now.   We can't roast the GM for a bad pick.  Vlad clearly has talent and everyone agrees he's the most athletic OL we have in tearms of strength / speed / agility / ratio.  Maybe we could have wited 1 more round to draft him but he was definitely a 2nd-3rd pick in terms of talent.  He actually showed that this year ( remember him manhandling Vince Wilfork?   The problem is his understanding of the game.  He doesn;t have the head for it as a foreigner.  He just doesn't get a lot of the mental part and thats too bad.  He may get it one day, but prob not with US.


MOVIN on.  Get Asoamah from the chiefs if he cost > 5M and resign Colon and let them battle it out at RG.  Loser is a Back up and that gives us good depth.  In fact Colon can also play RT if needed.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@Bent

How do the penalties impact his PFF grading? ...if at all

Bent
Bent

@r_in_ct That does kind of make my point about how widely the opinions vary though.

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

@Mateen Kemet @frustjetfn Interesting Question:  Why do Jets draft OL out-of-position and in Vlad's case, out-of-country.  Yes, drafting is a crap shoot but there are ways of improving and hurting odds.  

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

@Mateen Kemet@frustjetfnIt's not a matter of getting over it, I didn't draft him. It just explains why the OL is in the shape it is. Fact is that players drafted in Rounds 1-3 are supposed to be the backbone of your franchise going forward. And when a team misses, it does have a cost.


That said, I've always commented that the draft is a crapshoot and that's why you want the best crapshooting GM in the game. Hopefully, Idzik will roll a lot of 7's for us. :)

johnnyl65
johnnyl65

@a57se @Bernard Mclaughlin Since they haven't played poorly and they know our scheme intimately and are not likely to be highly paid.

I would say they start at the top of veteran FA to be considered.

Bent
Bent

@BDarc23 Significantly.  Most penalties are a -1.0 and if his overall rating was 12 points higher he'd be ranked about 15th.  They do have a "penalties" column, but if you commit a holding penalty or whatever that goes down in the run blocking or pass blocking column, depending on what you were doing at the time.

joemustgo
joemustgo

@Bent@r_in_ct Was Colon's performance compromised in any way by helping out Howard, as is widely believed about Mangold re Winters? In any case, I hope he is re-signed. If Mangold is the OL's heart, Willie is their balls.

bob
bob

@Bent@r_in_ct


Colon has a history of injury's however on the cheep I say bring him back and let him compete . I still think the jets should draft a guard in the 2nd round or snag if they could from the Bills they have a good one who is a free agent this year that graded out well.

a57se
a57se

@jaygo

Football Outsiders is more of an attempt to apply Baseball's 'moneyball concepts' to Football, not PFF.

Bent
Bent

@BDarc23 @Bent They go against his penalty grade which is -3.7 (the worst among all guards).  You get positive credit for how many snaps you play without any penalties to offset against that.

djf1
djf1

@Bent@BDarc23 the false starts are the least excusable in my opinion.  h

he's got to get that together.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@Bent @BDarc23

Ok so 5 false start doesn't impact his pass or run rating but would impact his overall..is that right?

Bent
Bent

@jaygo @Bent @BDarc23  


Everything you need to know is here, JayGo: https://www.profootballfocus.com/about/grading/


I can tell you that they independently grade each game 2-3 times and then compare and debate any discrepancies to arrive at a consensus.


In terms of not knowing people's assignments, they never guess, but obviously you can sometimes tell, especially when you become familiar with a team's system by watching so much footage.


I've been to their premises and two guys were actually demonstrating the process of downfield blocking while everyone else debated what would constitute a negative or positive grade for either player in that scenario.


Most importantly, they get guidance from teams, many of whom use the PFF analysis to check up on their own in-house analysts and then feed back to PFF about where they can improve.

Bent
Bent

@BDarc23 


He had:


5 false starts

1 DQ for knocking the official over at the end of a play

4 holding

1 illegal use of the hands

1 illegal block below the waist


Looks like just 2 of the holding penalties were commited while run blocking, the other two and both other illegal block penalties were while pass blocking.

BDarc23
BDarc23

Does that mean most of his penalties went against his run blocking or that he was "that good" in pass protection?

Bent
Bent

@juunit @Bent @r_in_ct Not at all.  In fact, if he thinks Colon graded out well as a run blocker then maybe he's been told that by someone on the team and at least he's not taking the PFF grades at face value (which if you do, all the linemen are average, when in reality they only graded out so poorly because of the failings as a unit created by Winters' struggles).

Bent
Bent

@joemustgo @Bent @r_in_ct 


I'd say no.  Howard is on an island more than most tackles are.  If anything, Colon's performance was hurt by Winters because there were so many plays blown up by Winters' man that would otherwise have worked, so Colon would often make a great block but it doesn't pay off and he therefore gets no credit for it.


In the running game Howard and Colon work in tandem a lot and that's something which developed over the course of the season, so the chemistry was something that slowed that down, but it was definitely trending upwards by the end.