The Buffalo Bills will head to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Jets for the first of two contests against their division rival. The Bills will look to lean on their defense for a victory with the offense sputtering this season. A healthy pass rush will go a long way toward a win, so we turn our sights towards a man who should see a healthy dose of Shaq Lawson and Lorenzo Alexander come Sunday. That’s right, offensive linemen week continues as we preview right tackle Brandon Shell.
Cut blocks make a somewhat regular appearance by the Jets’ linemen—Brandon Shell in particular. Initially, the block on this play is effective as the defender skitters sideways to move around Shell. However, the second wave of defense is fast enough to reach the play before Shell can get back up and continue blocking. When timed right, these can be quite effective. A miscue runs the risk of dooming a play.
In the first play, Brandon Shell is cutting in a crowd, which causes the defense to move around the lineman. Shell will sometimes execute a cut block when faced with a single opponent such as with this play. The timing is more critical, but Shell hits this one nicely on a defender in a Wide-9 alignment. This block gives ample time for the rest of the team to execute.
Similarly, Shell will occasionally be asked to block on the move where a quick-impact style of blocking is effective. This play goes horribly wrong. The angles taken by the lineman suggest this catch shouldn’t have been made behind the line of scrimmage as it was. Making it worse, the receiver has to jump to catch the ball and loses most of his momentum. As Shell tries to make the block there’s no way physics allow him to change his angle as much as is necessary.
Here’s another pinball play. As Brandon Shell tries to shove Andre Branch to the interior, he starts to rotate toward the backfield. Despite being knocked around in the trenches, he’s able to subtly get his shoulder where it need to be to hit Bobby McCain. The Miami Dolphins overload the play and make a nice stop, but Shell’s awareness is a positive.
One-on-one, Brandon Shell likes to try to get quick contact and keep defenders at an arm’s length. He’s successful initially and is able to hold the ball long enough for the pass to get off. Defenders who use hesitation moves are able to set Shell up on a fairly regular basis. As he extends, a delayed movement means he misses contact and the defender can slip around. The back-and-forth contact on this play is part of the reason Shell loses the block at the end.
Shell sets up the quick contact and Stephen Weatherly doesn’t back off. The result plays into Shell’s strengths as he maintains good position to negate the rip move and follow on the spin.
Here’s that hesitation move I was talking about. Danielle Hunter does a small stutter step and a compact swim motion to prevent Shell’s left hand from properly trailing. As a result, Shell is little more than a speed-bump.
Shell really does shine with quick impacts almost like a tight end blocking on the move. Akeem Spence is going toe-to-toe with Shell. As the contest continues and extends beyond power vs. power, Spence’s swat combines with Shell leaning too far into the block to make this happen.
The Buffalo Bills use a lot of Wide 9 alignment from the defensive ends which should lead to a good number of one-on-one match-ups against Brandon Shell. Shaq Lawson and Lorenzo Alexander will have the ability to come out on top with a few finesse techniques. Both edge players for the Bills will have to be careful not to be put on the ground with a cut block, however. After reviewing the film on Shell, it’s clear there will be opportunities to be had on the right side of the Jets’ offensive line.