Between The Lines: Alan Faneca Takes Glenn Dorsey to School

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When Glenn Dorsey came out of college last year, he was considered the best interior defensive line in the draft, a havoc-creating defensive tackle who would not only create plays of his own, but also require enough attention to help make everyone else on the defensive line better.

The scouting reports were effusive in their praise:

Dorsey's dominance should go a long way toward helping Kansas City rebuild its defense. He should command double-teams and the Chiefs become better up the middle instantly. There were some concerns about problems with Dorsey's tibia stress fracture, which may have been the reason he was still on the board at this point. His best traits are outstanding agility and a great motor.

The Chiefs picked Dorsey with the No. 5 pick. Since many expected Dorsey to go even higher, the Chiefs were hailed for getting a steal. While that was the scouting report coming out of Louisiana State, it's hard to see much of that when you watch Dorsey against the Jets. Dorsey was facing a tough matchup, as Jets left guard Alan Faneca is one of the best guards in the league. But if this was a heavyweight fight between Dorsey and Faenca, it would have been called early in the first quarter.
Dorsey finished with one tackle, which came downfield on a pass play. Dorsey got one hit on Jets quarterback Brett Favre, which came on a play where Favre held the ball too long. But generally, Dorsey was completely dominated by Faneca, and he never soaked up the double-teams that the Chiefs hope he will receive as he develops--Faneca didn't need any help.

Dorsey played 48 of the 66 snaps for the Chiefs defense. He did show the motor that he showed at LSU. I only saw one instance in those 48 snaps where Dorsey gave up on a play before the play was over, and that was on an end around that was to the other side of the field. On passes to the flats or over the middle, Dorsey would consistently chase the ball, even when he was 10 yards away from the play.

That was the best attribute he showed, what was disconcerting was his complete lack of pass rushing moves. Dorsey was not quick enough to beat Faneca off the snap, and when Faneca locked him up, Dorsey didn't have a large arsenal of moves to try to get free. In 32 pass plays, Dorsey never tried a spin move, and he rarely tried a swim move or a rip to disengage from Faneca. Usually, he tried to simply bull rush Faneca, which never worked. In fact, Dorsey didn't show the power to even move Faneca off the line of scrimmage. Defensive tackles aren't expected to get a lot of sacks, but they are asked to push the pocket into the quarterback, which prevents the quarterback from stepping up into the pocket if he's avoiding outside pressure.

On play after play, Dorsey was left churning his legs at the line while the rest of the Chiefs front four fired upfield. Dorsey's lack of push stood out, although it actually resulted in Dorsey's only tackle of the game. On a dumpoff pass to Leon Washington over the middle of the field, Dorsey was in position to make the tackle because he had gotten no penetration. So when Washington caught the pass three yards past the line of scrimmage, Dorsey only had to turn around and caught up to Washington as he tried to dodge a tackler.

I counted only one running plays (in 16 attempts) where Dorsey made any impact at all. On an end around to Brad Smith, Faneca was asked to pull. That left a gap for Dorsey to shoot through and he read the play nicely, almost getting a hand on Smith as he ran by.

The bad plays by Dorsey were more numerous. A couple of times, Faneca took advantage of Dorsey's aggresiveness, allowing him to shoot the outside or inside gap on running plays designed to hit another gap. Dorsey would aggressively fire upfield, but Faneca would allow him a step, then used his hands to turn Dorsey and drove him out of the play by using Dorsey's momentum against him.

Dorsey was also suckered on an 18-yard screen pass for a touchdown in the first quarter. Faneca gave a quick shove to Dorsey, then pulled out to set up for the screen. Dorsey should have realized that something was up, as it was the only time he had gotten free to rush the passer all day, but he fired into the backfield anyway, opening up a big gap that helped allow Washington to easily gallop into the end zone. To Dorsey's credit, he learned from the mistake and properly read the next screen the Jets ran.

But as the game went on, you could see Dorsey realizing he was completely outclassed. In the second half, Faneca put Dorsey on the ground on two plays. On the first one, Dorsey fired out too low, which meant he wasn't fully balanced. Faneca took advantage using his left hand to shove Dorsey to the ground before kneeling on top of him. As Dorsey laid on the ground like a beaten wrestler, Thomas Jones ran for 17 yards through the gap Faneca had created.

I went back and watched some of last week's game against the Titans to see if this was an aberration for Dorsey. Unfortunately it wasn't. Dorsey showed some better pass rush moves against the Titans, but he was a liability in the running game, as the Titans ran at him successfully. On several different occasions, Dorsey was tossed to the ground to create massive holes for the Titans running game.

The Chiefs defensive scheme isn't doing Dorsey much favors--I counted only one stunt that the Chiefs ran with Dorsey in 32 pass plays. When defensive linemen aren't generating pressure by physically beating their man (and the Chiefs had only one sack), stunts and line twists can help get someone a free shot at the quarterback. In the Chiefs case, that isn't happening.

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Between The Lines: Alan Faneca Takes Glenn Dorsey to School originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on 2008-10-30T10:30:00+00:00. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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