This morning on ESPN radio's Mike and Mike show they were talking to Jeff Saturday, former center from the Colts. The topic was the obviously injured Peyton Manning and what Saturday would do to keep him healthy since he is the only reason the Broncos are a super bowl contender. As Saturday spoke, I immediately thought of our situation with Devin Gardner - his health, his unproven back-up, and the fourteen recent sacks.
Saturday's first comment was that he would absolutely not max-protect. In his opinion that causes more "trash" around the QB because every TE and RB that stays in to block brings a defender who will read their tendencies and add another blitzing body to the mess around your QB. He said he would spread the field, spread the D, and thus give the QB plenty of options to get rid of the ball faster.
Obviously Denver's OL is far more competent than whatever we're throwing out there, but this is a strategy I'd like to see us use more. I'm guessing you won't see any covered WR in Denver's next game.
The other comment he said was that if he were the OL coach he would tell the guys that if they got beat by their man to hold, grab, or tackle the guy so he didn't hit Manning. He said they'd rather see a penalty or bad play than get their QB hurt. That made me realize that for all the lousy protection lately, we haven't had hardly any penalties for holding. Why not tell the guys to push the limits a little more until the refs call it?