Bengals Player Report Card: Nate Livings vs. Lions

This week, our Player Report Cards assignment was to review the play of the offensive guards battling for (what we hope is open) the open LG position. I carefully watched every single snap that Nate Livings, Clint Boling and Max Jean Gilles took against the Lions and handed out grades for each play. First up is the incumbent starter at LG.

Nate Livings

Total Snaps: 27
Run Plays: 8
Pass Plays: 19
Neutral Plays: 18
Positive Plays: 6
Negative Plays: 3

Run Blocking Grade: +1.5
Pass Blocking Grade: -0.5
Total Grade: +1.0

Best Play:

Time: 6:48 - First Quarter
Yard: Own 31
Down: First and 10
Player Lined up at: Left Guard
Offensive Formation: Single-back; 2 WR (WRs in tight); 2 TE (TE on each side of line)
Defensive Formation: 4-3; off coverage

Play Description: This was the third straight run play of the Bengals second possession of the night. The run was to go between RG-RT. The Bengals let the RDE (Vanden Bosch) go unblocked and slid the blocking to the right. Andrew Whitworth took the DT (Williams), Cook and Bobbie Williams took the other DT (Suh), and Andre Smith took the LDE (Avril). Nate Livings sprinted forward into the second level and dove to cut-block the MLB (Tulloch) and taking him out of the play. Cedric Benson gained 15 yards on the run.

Grade: +0.5

Worst Play:

Time: 2:28 - First Quarter
Yard: Own 49
Down: 1st & 10
Player Lined up at: Left Guard
Offensive Formation: Single-back; 2-TEs (split out into slot)
Defensive Formation: 4-3; off coverage

Play Description: This was the first pass play where Dalton was sacked. While Dalton was still dropping back, Nate Livings over-extends trying to reach for the DT (Corey Williams). Williams swats his hands down and quickly rushes between Livings and Kyle Cook. It was an easy sack for Detroit and a fundamental mistake by Nate Livings.

Grade: -1.0

Overall Game Analysis:

I thought Nate Livings played much better when I focused on his game alone. When I originally watched the game, I too thought he was to blame for the offensive line failures. He graded positively in this game, and could have been even better if he wasn't called for a holding penalty in the second quarter. In that play, he made two key blocks that allowed Brian Leonard to fight for the first down. The call was bogus and could have easily not been called. That lowered his grade by -1.0. Livings is a good run blocker but is very inconsistent as a pass protector. He plays with good power in both the run game and passing game, but if he misses with his hands or steps out of place, it's hard for him to recover. For these reasons, I think it was easier for Nate Livings to hide during the 2009 season when the Bengals ran the ball more. He was exposed during the 2010 campaign when the team morphed into a pass-heavy team. 

For a complete breakdown of every snap Nate Livings took vs. The Lions, Click here.

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