Originally Posted by fortdick
I see that you have given up on Free. You say you need to replace Bernadeau to help Parnell. Free had three very good years then a couple down years. During his good years, he was playing next to Kosier. I think getting an experienced guard next to Free would help him as well. Changing positions and changing coaches prolly didn't help Free this year either.
I've watched every snap that Free has played over the last 3 seasons at least 10 times each. This year, that includes the 2 additional camera angles provided by the All-22 video.
Free's problem is not related to the OG playing next to him. He knows what to do, he just can't do it (consistently). Free has a fundamental problem with his upper body (hand/arm/shoulder) strength. He just can't use proper technique with his hands.
As Couchscout pointed out in a thread earlier this season, Justin Smith was the 1st defender to really expose Free's weakness in the 2nd game of the 2011 season. Now, defenders know that all they have to do is get their arms under his and thrust upwards. Free has almost no ability to resist this move. As a result of this weakness, Free has made multiple changes to his technique in an attempt to compensate. Holding his hands lower, etc.. Some defenders are better at exposing his weakness than others.
Free's foot quickness and size are the only reason that he hasn't played even worse. Most NFL OTs can reach out and slow down defenders if their getting beat or because their out of position. Free can't. He must get his body in position in order to have a chance to make a good block. The problem is that even the most athletic NFL OTs can't get their body in perfect position at all time.
If I have not described it in enough detail yet, just envision an OT trying to block with both of this hands tied behind his back. If he is big and quick enough, he can make a lot of blocks by just slamming his chest or shoulder pads into the defender and by staying between the defender and the QB.
The reason that Free can run block ok, it that he can just lean his body or shoulder pads into the defender.
Parnell is the opposite of Free. He does not always know exactly what to do, especially in terms of working with the OG. There is a lot a split-second timing involved in handing-off a defender from one blocker to the other and then getting out to make a 2nd block. Too quick and the initial defender wins. Too slow and the 2nd defender wins.
Parnell has elite foot quickness and very good size; however, it's his upper body strength that will allow him to become a much superior player to Free. It is very refreshing to see Parnell doing hand-battle with the defenders in comparison to watching Free.