News & Analysis

5 things you need to know for Wednesday

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ENGLEWOOD, CO - JULY 31: Denver Broncos offensive tackle Garett Bolles (72) watches drills during training camp on July 31, 2017 in Englewood, Colorado at Dove Valley. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Hey there football fans! Here are five pieces of news you need to know to start off your Wednesdays:

The Eagles expect LeGarrette Blount to have a big role in the offense. Blount has excelled at breaking tackles and running after contact this preseason.

On 11 touches Blount has shown ability to create extra yards, forcing four missed tackles and earning 3.78 yards after contact per carry. In the Eagles preseason game versus Green Bay, Blount played 13 snaps and earned a 43.8 overall grade and against the Bills, Blount played 17 snaps earning a 45.7 overall grade.

Last season Blount earned his worst grade since 2012 at 52.4 overall, despite having a career year in raw statistics. His grade ranked 50th out of 61 qualifying running backs. Blount ranked 29th in yards after contact per carry at 2.48.

Washington C Spencer Long is expected to miss the next two weeks. His backup, Chase Roullier, has had a good preseason thus far.

Long finished 2016 ranked 29th out of 72 qualified centers with a 69.6 overall grade. He struggled as a run blocker last year, earning a run blocking grade of just 54.0 (the 11th lowest in the league); however, he performed well in pass protection, ranking ninth with an 82.6 pass blocking grade. Long has been clean in pass protection so far this preseason but run blocking continues to be an issue, evident by his 41.7 run blocking grade against the Green Bay Packers.

Long’s absence will likely make way for sixth round rookie Chase Roullier, who has been impressive in preseason action. Roullier has played 56 snaps in two preseason games, and has achieved PFF overall grades of 73.8 and 81.7, ranking eighth and third among all centers in the league, respectively. His run blocking grade of 85.1 against Green Bay was the highest among all centers in the league.

The 49ers offensive line is showing improvement this preseason. The entire line leads the league in pass blocking efficiency.

The 49ers have allowed just eight quarterback pressures on sixty two passing plays with particularly strong play from presumptive starting offensive tackles Joe Staley and Trenton Brown and center Daniel Kilgore, all of which have a PBE of 100.0.

The 49ers will also be encouraged by the performances of undrafted free agent J.P. Flynn from Montana State. Flynn has allowed just one pressure in forty four pass blocking snaps, and his PBE of 98.3 ranks 6th among guards that have participated in at least forty one passing snaps.

The Broncos’ Shaquil Barrett has been activated from the NFI list. Barrett has been a key part of the edge rotation of the Broncos these last few years.

He ranked 16th of all edge defenders in 2016 with a run defense grade of 83.1. His overall rating of 80.4 ranked 31st in the league and third-highest on the Denver Broncos in terms of edge defenders.

After going undrafted and spending the 2014 season on the Denver Broncos’ practice squad, Barrett has recorded 43 stops and just four missed tackles the last two seasons. He will be heavily relied on at the beginning of the season opposite Von Miller while Shane Ray recovers from a torn ligament in his wrist.

Garett Bolles has won the starting left tackle job. The Broncos’ first-round selection will be protecting their quarterback’s blindside.

Bolles struggled against San Francisco this past week, committing four penalties and posting a PFF grade of 39.1 that ranked 113th of 125 offensive tackles that qualified. He’s allowed three hurries in 27 pass block attempts this preseason, ranking 73rd out of 100 offensive tackles with 25 or more pass block snaps in PFF’s pass blocking efficiency.

Last season at Utah, Bolles allowed three sacks and 20 total pressures in 441 pass block snaps. He ranked 60th of 139 offensive tackles with 400 or more pass block snaps with a PFF pass blocking efficiency of 96.4 (pressure allowed on a per-snap basis with weighting toward sacks).

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