It sure seems like Grimm is getting a ton of heat from the fans over the offensive line. I guess that makes sense since the line is the worst in the NFL. But is it all his fault? If it isn't, how much belongs to him? Let's take a look at him.
Grimm is a Hog. He played in an era where linemen were built for mauling not finesse. I think his coaching style reflects that. Oh sure, he'll coach guys to block in complex patterns, but I think in his heart of hearts he wants BIG linemen who can clear a path. He wants a run heavy offense that likes to pound the ball. Three yards and a cloud of dust kinda stuff.
Whiz on the other hand was a tight end. You know, the guy that is supposed to block but hates it because he'd rather be catching the ball downfield. I think his offensive philosophy reflects that too. He says he wants to run, but in his heart he wants to pass.
Here in lies the problem. Grimm wants to run. Whiz wants to pass. This is where I see the problem starting.
In 2007, Whiz and Grimm took what would end up being their only offensive linemen in the first three rounds four 6 consecutive drafts. They took him over Adrian Peterson, which I surmise is an unfair way of looking at the guy. Levi Brown came out of Penn State as a mauler. He's big and strong. He is a star run blocker. However, he is a terrible pass blocker in the NFL. Levi epitomizes the problem of what I call grimmwhiz. That is, a player who is designed to have one strength, but is told to do the complete opposite of that very strength.
Levi is exactly what Grimm is looking for. He's the prototype for a right tackle. Grimm probably talked Whiz into getting him under the false assumption that Whiz would actually commit to the run. It makes sense if they ran the ball 55% of the time. Levi Brown is the perfect right tackle in a run oriented system. And even when he played there with Kurt Warner in that pass heavy system he performed rather well. No one was labelling him a complete bust yet.
Then Warner left. Levi gets moved to left tackle. That created three major problems for Levi. 1) He was now guarding the best pass rusher. 2) Derek Anderson had a much slower delivery than Kurt so Levi had to guard his man for much longer. 3) Whiz called for pass plays 64% of the time. So now he had to guard the best player for much longer for most of the game. A true recipe for disaster. Let's just say he didn't do so well.
I'm not sure what Grimm said during all this. I'm not even sure what he's been saying for 3 years. And that's the rub. What has been Grimm's position during all this? I can only see three plausible positions. 1) He has been crying out that they are using Brown in the wrong position and needed to draft a better left tackle or 2) He's the mastermind behind it and continues to preach to Whiz that you can give him whoever and he'll make them work. 3) Some kind of combination of the two.
I'd be shocked if he's the one saying Brown is fit to play left tackle. I mean Brown is really really bad at pass protection. But let's just say Grimm is. Is Brown at left tackle Grimm's fault? Well, my follow up question is what is Whiz doing about it? Why isn't he in Grimm's face? Is he? Does Whiz cower to Grimm? Somehow I don't think so. But if he is, then I say Whiz is a terrible head coach. He should be the Man. The buck stops with him. So why hasn't he overruled Grimm? He should have gone in and said, "look, I know you like Levi and all, but he ain't cutting it at left tackle. We need to go a different direction." The problem is he didn't. So that leads us to believe, in this scenario, that Whiz agrees with Grimm on Levi. They both believe he's a good left tackle. In which case, both of them should be fired for sheer stupidity.
He also could have been telling Whiz that Brown is not a good left tackle. In which case Whiz is ignoring his lead assistant coach. That isn't much good either. It shows that he has hired someone that he has little regard for his opinion on the very thing that he's hired to do.
The truth probably lies in the middle. That is that Whiz listened to Grimm about Levi, but constructed an offense that plays against his strengths. Whiz blows a lot of smoke that they are going to run the ball, only to totally betray that statement by running 5 times in the first half against Washington in 2011. I think Grimm trusts Whiz to help him out and Whiz trusts Grimm to "coach up" the line. However, neither have addressed the true problem: Whiz's offense.
And this is the true heart of Grimm's problem. This is where the real blame lies. If Whiz was honest with himself he'd say that his offense is pass oriented. They throw more than 60% of the time. I don't know why he wouldn't. What I've never understood is why he continues to draft guys that don't match his offense. Levi is a perfect example. Why draft/resign a guy into a pass heavy offense that belongs in a run heavy offense? The answer: Whiz doesn't know what he wants. He has no clear vision as to what his offense should be. He has a bunch of guys that are built for the run, but then proceeds to follow the mantra that "it's a passing league". The result is a bunch of guys like Levi, Wells, and Skelton who don't fit into the system.
So how is this Grimm's fault? It isn't.
If Grimm is saying that he doesn't need top picks for the line, then Whiz should either tell him he's stupid or fire him. Result: Whiz's fault.
If Grimm is asking for line help and Whiz is ignoring him then Whiz is stupid. Result: Whiz's fault.
This all rests on Whiz's shoulders. And for all the people crying for Grimm to be fired, I actually agree. But NOT because he isn't doing his job. Rather Whiz is making his job impossible. Grimm is a run oriented guy with run oriented players in a pass oriented offensive system. And, I might add, who never gets prime picks for the line. Grimm needs to go for his own good. He needs to go to a system where the run game thrives. Where maulers are actually used to maul. He needs to get away from Whiz who has languished him to years of confusion. Because right now Grimm is... well, grimmwhizzed.