I am becoming entirely too sick of seeing Vikes' fans say that Phil Loadholt should be given one more year to prove himself.
I know the DN already covered this in their Project 2012 entry, but I really feel this needs to be stated again considering most fans voted he should be our starting RT next season.
More after the jump.
Firstly, I'll get this out of the way -- Loadholt is great on running plays.
But that is about the extent of his usefulness.
Loadholt is dreadful in pass protection and manufactures penalties at an alarming rate. Let's take a look at his career stats, including this season so far:
|Year||Team||G||GS||Pen||Yds||False Start||Holding||Sacks Allwd||Yds|
I made sure to emphasize the most startling points for this season -- but as you can see, Loadholt is nearly on pace to match his Penalty and False Start totals from last year (even as they stand now, it's atrocious).
Most importantly, he has set a career high in Holding calls, and has allowed 9 sacks so far this season.
I think that bears repeating, with emphasis:
Phil Loadholt has allowed 9 sacks this season.
The main point here, is that Loadholt has not developed in pass protection. In fact, one could argue he has actually regressed on that front. Could that have something to do with the switch in blocking schemes?? Perhaps -- but is that honestly a valid excuse for being consistently beat on the edge??
For all the hell people have been giving Charlie Johnson (and rightfully so), there is far less criticism for Loadholt. Why is that?? Because we drafted him?? Because he's "still young" and there is a chance (slim as it may be) that he could improve?? What is the difference??
I'll go so far as to compare Charlie Johnson's 2011 stats with Loadholt's:
|Player||Team||G||GS||Pen||Yds||False Start||Holding||Sacks Allwd||Yds|
No, people -- your eyes do not deceive you. Save for yardage lost via sacks, Loadholt has had a worse season than Charlie Johnson.
So, I ask again -- what is the difference between both of our OT's?? Is it situational?? Is Loadholt's ability on running plays really enough to offset being worse than Charlie Johnson in pass protection??
I realize the entire OLine needs re-tooling (save for the C position with Sully getting an extension), but IMHO there is no justifiable defense to arguing that Loadholt deserves one more years to prove himself.
There are an awful lot of questions to answer, but the biggest question we really need to ask is -- can Loadholt show enough improvement next year to be offered an extension as our long-term RT??
My answer -- he hasn't really shown a whole lot of anything to justify offering him an extension thus far (3 yrs as a starter), and I have a really hard time believing he'll develop enough in the next year as a pass protector to be a viable option.
The main problem is, there is little value in flat out releasing him, other than to say we are gaining a fresh start and building an identity under this coaching staff. Perhaps Loadholt has some value in a trade scenario -- either for a mid-rd pick, or, packaged with one of our mid-rd picks to move up the board early on or gain an additional 2nd rounder. But if we can't trade him, can somebody step up enough to move Loadholt to a backup role??
I believe DeMarcus Love should be given reps on the field these final two games. Frazier clearly has no qualms with benching players for sub-par play -- it would be nice if he would do the same with Loadholt and give Love a look at RT.
(I'll also address this before I finish, because I know it undoubtedly come up -- at 6'8", Loadholt is too tall to move inside at OG.)
I won't re-post a vote pertaining to Loadholt's future in purple, I just needed to get that off my chest. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.