What about McKivitz?

I took advantage of a rainy day to review the Steeler game in All-22 format. I focused on Colton McKivitz. I happen to be one of those guys who enjoys film review. I did it often while coaching and continued afterwards for fun to evaluate talent prior to the NFL draft. A few years ago, I concentrated on offensive linemen because I thought the Niners were in the market. It forced me to study technique. I am no expert but I understand a few things about the tackle position. The following is a summary of what I gleaned from McKivitz’s play last Sunday.

1. I watched Colton a total of 74 plays (others may have a different count, but the all-22 shows penalty plays). Overall, he played well and a lot better than one would expect. He had one awful mistake, a few poor plays, and several inconsequential errors. On the other hand, he was effective against his target the vast majority of times.

2. He went up against one of the top-five pass rushers in the league and neutralized him most of the encounters. He definitely lost three times. The worst was the 3rd quarter strip sack that led to a turnover. It was a speed mismatch and he got beat. For the first strip sack in the 2nd quarter, I’m sure Kyle and Brock will agree the ball was held too long. That particular play was odd as McKivitz was in a three-point stance, something he rarely does. He was beat on speed but contact was across the field. I mark 3 seconds before the hit; Brock should have thrown the ball by then. The other Watt sack was aided by other factors. It appears that Williams was knocked back on his side as well. Brock, with Watt bearing down, had no room to roll left and was bottled up. McKivitz was overpowered on the play but it was a combination of factors that led to the sack. On the other hand, I saw eight plays where he clearly beat Watt. My favorite was Purdy’s roll and run to the right in the fourth quarter; McKivitz won that Watt exchange and it led to a big gainer.

3. Kyle admitted they could have helped McKivitz more. I agree. The help McKivitz had was in the form of play selection as most plays went to the left or middle of the field. From a blocking support perspective, McKivitz had little support. There may have been 2-3 plays where Colton was aided by the TE. I did not see Juszczyk used for pass blocking to the right. On a whole, McKivitz was left to block Watt or the DE/OLB solo throughout the game. While McKivitz may have benefitted from the majority of plays going to the middle or left side of the field, he was trusted to pass block alone nearly the entire game.

4. It’s difficult to evaluate McKivitz’s athleticism. Compared to Watt, Colton appears slower and weaker. On the first play of the game, Watt knocks him down. He seems a step behind on several drop backs. Then again, one needs to remember it’s Watt he is encountering. In isolation, McKivitz shows good technique and adequate footwork. He gets off balance on occasion and doesn’t overpower his opponent. His run support was effective although most plays went to his left.

5. I ‘ll probably draw some criticism for this, but McKivitz needed Bosa around this off season. It certainly helps to have the best OT in the league as a teammate, but nothing could have prepared him more against Watt than multiple reps against the best speed, strength, and technique edge in the game. I expect McKivitz to improve as the season progresses. I expect additional blocking help on occasion and offensive schemes to take advantage of his strengths.

6. In summary, I’m good with McKivitz.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.