Taylor Moton isn’t the player most are talking about following Carolina’s preseason debut, but he arguably is the one player the Panthers needed to impress the most--and he didn’t disappoint.
Carolina’s offensive line has been decimated by injury this preseason. With Andrew Norwell’s free agency departure, offensive line continuity was already in question. After losing starter Daryl Williams to a torn MCL and a dislocated kneecap and leading replacement for left guard, Amini Silatolu, to a torn ACL, Carolina needed guys to step up. Second round draft pick Taylor Moton did just that. Playing the entire first half at right tackle, Moton didn’t allow any pressures and had one play where he fell that allowed for a batted pass. This wasn’t even a bad play, just the only play where you see the defensive end win against him in the slightest.
Moton wasn’t playing against chumps either. He played for the first half against Shaq Lawson, a former first round draft pick, who is playing with a little fire in his belly because of recent comments by General Manager Brandon Bean who said “it's no secret he hasn't lived up” to his draft stock. Lawson is well aware that he is at risk of either losing the starting position or being traded.
Moton didn’t let his motivated opponent win in the slightest, however. He showed power and sound technique throughout the night. Moton kept his feet under him and looked pretty comfortable in both pass protection and run blocking.
Look at the choppy steps as Moton comes out of his break. Lawson looks like he may get around Moton, but the player is going the other way and the rip move fails to break Moton’s hold.
Here Moton lost his footing, but he had a strong hands on Lawson long enough and it was really rookie tight end Ian Thomas who can’t get to his spot fast enough that causes problems.
Moton looks to have momentarily lost his balance as he leans inside, but he is able to recover quickly enough and have enough strength to keep Lawson from getting around the outside.
This may be Moton’s worst play where it looks like he tries a scramble block aiming at Lawson’s hip. Lawson keeps his footing and uses his long arms to bat down the receiver screen.
Below, Moton shows his quickness in a combo block where he is able to get a strong enough push with his right hand to prevent from being called for either a block in the back or holding.
In this play, Lawson length again shows as he’s able to fend off Moton’s drive block but Moton keeps his footing and stays square.
Lawson keeps trying to beat Moton outside, but he’s able to kick out quickly and get both hands on him in a deep drop where he is then helped by the guard.
Next week Moton will face Cameron Wake, a more experienced player who notched 10.5 sacks last season. If Lawson was motivated, Wake will be the more savvy vet who may challenge Moton with a more heady strategy. Lawson didn’t show many moves to the inside, opting more for outside moves. Hopefully, Moton will continue to impress as Carolina tries to figure out how to improve the left side of the line.
Note: I'm just a fan who likes watching football. If you have a more technical understanding of this film, please do not hesitate to comment below.
By Tony Dunn
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