Trevor Penning and Cesar Ruiz take a big step forward. Possible sleeper on the offensive line?

The Saints offensive line took a big step in the right direction in Friday’s game against the Packers. A week prior, the Saints offensive line gave up five sacks and what felt like a pressure every play in Houston.

Preseason week one showcased that Trevor Penning wasn’t ready to start in the NFL and that’s okay. Rookie mistakes were made by a rookie who experienced their first NFL action. The improvements, however from game one and game two were astonishing for Penning.

The rookie left tackle looked more comfortable with his technique and aggressive nature. This allowed him to showcase his abilities better than his debut in Houston.

Keep an eye on Ruiz as well on that play. He does a good job of getting to the second level making contact, driving his feet and putting the defender on his back.

At the top of your screen you see the physicality and aggressiveness of Penning. That’s what you want, especially in the run game. In the passing game not so much.

A total of 45 snaps were played by Penning, 20 of which were runs, 23 were passes, and the other two snaps was a spike and a fumbled snap. 

When watching the game again I accounted for the reps he won, lost, and which reps were neutral. 

Based on my viewing, Penning only gave up two pressures and only lost four reps. Both of the pressures were due to poor footwork and speed from the edge rusher. 

Penning didn’t have a perfect game in Green Bay but that’s not important right now. Right now the important thing is that Penning develops and gets better each week. 

It’s very important that Penning continues to develop, but it’s more critical that we see improvement from Cesar Ruiz.

I’m not here to give hope, but Ruiz has had a good camp and a good showcase so far this preseason. 

This is the first full offseason that Ruiz has had. The OTA’s and mini camp is where players get the fundamentals down and Ruiz finally got that opportunity. 

On film the thing that pops the most from Ruiz is his hands. The initial punch and point of attack looks better.

His hands have become more violent and I think a big reason for that is having Jahri Evans as a coach. 

Having violent hands and making contact first makes the lineman’s job significantly easier. 

One of Ruiz’ flaws is picking up stunts. In the video above he picks it up and does a good job of recognizing who his man was. 

Ruiz does get beat, but at least he got beat forcing his guy outside. He did great recognizing his man, now he needs to have a better reaction and get his hands in the chest plate.

I’d like to note that Penning did a great job of picking up a stunt as well on that play. 

Ruiz played 31 snaps, 17 passing plays, 12 rushing plays, and a spike and a fumbled snap being the remaining two. 

I only accounted for three for sure bad reps from Ruiz, with 13 solid reps. 

On the bubble

Someone who I believe is on the bubble of making this roster is Lewis Kidd. 

Watching the games again he stood out at times but also had his struggles. The upside looks promising though.

Being a versatile player who can play guard and tackle is a huge bonus for him. The Saints love players who have that kind of versatility (Will Clapp, Calvin Throckmorton, Ruiz, James Hurst). 

What stands out to me from Kidd is he’s a smart player. He does the assignments, gets to the second level, anticipates what the rusher is going to do. That’s something that also messed him up at times. 

Kidd is expecting the rusher to take an outside approach and he gives leverage and space inside. The defender hits him with a spin move and wins the rep.

Later in the game the defender tried getting outside leverage on Kidd. The right tackle knew he could attack the inside shoulder and throw him off balance and put the defender on the ground.

There’s still a lot of development and work for Kidd. Based on the film, Kidd is a better pass blocker, but does a good job of getting to the second level as a run blocker. 

Pancake served 

One final video, watch Lewis Kidd and Cesar Ruiz double team the defender, drive him back and put him on his ass. 

Here are the numbers I have for reps. Neutral are reps that were screens, quick passes, or just not really enough to evaluate.

Good repsBad repsNeutral
Kidd 121127

Written by Kadin Janisch 

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