Denver Broncos Film Room: Breaking OG Rookie Quinn Meinerz’s First Career Start
Due to the injuries of Graham Glasgow and Dalton Risner, the Denver Broncos had to hire their two reserve goalkeepers, including rookie Quinn Meinerz. While Meinerz played the second half against the New York Jets, Week 5 was his first career start.
Throughout the game and a half Meinerz was far from perfect, but he showed the potential that led to him being drafted in the third round. It’s no exaggeration to say that his game has been Denver’s best at left guard since the 2019 season.
Despite the significant leap in competition and not playing in 2020 due to the pandemic, Meinerz is holding on with strength and conscience. His technique needs to be improved overall, but he has enough groundwork not to be dominated.
Let’s take a look at his performance in week 5.
Play 1: First quarter | 14:28
Situation: 1st – & – 10
Calais Campbell facing RG Netane Muti and Meinerz was one of the Ravens’ important assets in this game. It was the second game of the game, and Meinerz faced Campbell and the rookie held on, using his opponent’s strength against him.
Campbell gets under Meinerz’s pads from the snap, but Meinerz’s strength keeps him from being pushed back. Lt. Garett Bolles arrives with a chip to help Meinerz before embarking on his own block. Meinerz cedes the B-gap to Campbell but uses it to open the A-gap.
Melvin Gordon can get small through the hole and dodge an attempt to grab Campbell with Meinerz controlling his movement and picking up a fair amount of yards. Center Lloyd Cushenberry III also did a great job on this game handling Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams from start to finish.
While this isn’t Meinerz’s most technical game, it shows his strength. In the first two and a half games, it was common to see Risner backing down on current games, resulting in inefficient production. Meinerz has more raw power to prevent this from happening.
Play 2: First quarter | 4:57
Situation: 1st – & – 10
While it wasn’t on purpose, a brief moment ago Meinerz was blocking two defenders on this game. It’s a shame that the blocks from Muti, TE Noah Fant and WR Tim Patrick all failed on this piece because to pretty much everyone did a good job. Muti and Patrick’s failure led to the tackle, while Fant’s poor attempt forced Gordon to keep him inside.
Meinerz cuts inside to take the nose tackle with help from Cushenberry’s departure. Meinerz not only generates a push against Williams, but also seals the lane to prevent the defender from clogging the running lane. With positioning, Meinerz uses Williams’ body to block the path allowing the defensive tackle to come out, creating a traffic jam.
There are a lot of assumptions about this piece, but none from Meinerz. Bolles also did a good job as the run didn’t go all the way to the B gap, so he used the defender’s momentum to let him in and seal the way with body positioning. Again, several blockers have had a great game, but it only takes one to fail.
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Play 3: Second quarter | 3:00 p.m.
Situation: 2nd – & – Goal
The best Meinerz rep of the day might be this despite the issues surrounding him. He initially sets up pass protection as Teddy Bridgewater pretends to turn for the transfer. Then, with good timing, Meinerz climbs up and connects with one of the Ravens linebackers.
Fant almost immediately finds himself on the ground, forcing Gordon to dodge a defender right after collecting the ball. As a result, Gordon cannot touch the hole that was created, which would likely lead to a touchdown. Added to this was a slight delay in the ability to hit the hole at high speed due to Cushenberry’s loss of positioning and the gap plugging.
There’s such a huge hole opened up by Bolles and Meinerz that if Gordon can pass cleanly, the Broncos are in the end zone. The failure of this play started with Fant, then dominoes in Cushenberry. Meinerz’s patience and technique when climbing and connecting with the linebacker was pretty much a manual.
Play 4: Second quarter | 10:11
Situation: 2nd – & – 10
Now let’s move on to some bad reps from Meinerz that show that he still has some technical aspects to work on. While he’s been the top blocker against the Ravens and gave the Broncos their best guard play of the year so far, he still needs to improve. He’s heading there but still needs time, but if Denver definitely moves to Meinerz, it would be easy to see why.
Meinerz’s hands are all over this rep and can never reach the defensive lineman’s body. It was a great technique from the defender’s hand and Meinerz just wasn’t ready for it. The defender then puts him under the pads and puts Meinerz on his heels. From there it was easy for the defender to plug the lane to throw and get their hands on the pass.
Coming from Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, Meinerz isn’t used to seeing reps like this. Even in the pre-season, the hand technique he faced wasn’t that good, and he managed to pull through a few times.
O-line coach Mike Munchak needs to work with Meinerz to improve his combative hand techniques in the future, especially if he ends up starting over on the road.
Play 5: Second quarter | 5:17
Situation: 2nd – & – 6
Campbell just bulldozed Meinerz and knocked him down. He converts all of his forward momentum into his first contact that Meinerz wasn’t ready for and pushes his way out of the line of scrimmage. From there, Campbell hammers his advantage as he continues to cross.
Meinerz must be more ready for that kind of power than he was here. It’s not so much the technique that hurt him here, it’s just a lack of experience. It’s a good learning time for Meinerz, so let’s hope Munchak can help him see it and improve.
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