Grinding The Tape: Bucs RG Mason Edition

Beforehand in our “Grinding the Tape” collection we appeared on the Bucs’ draft additions. This week we will likely be transitioning to the remainder of the Bucs’ low season additions beginning with new proper guard Shaq Mason. Mason was acquired in a commerce with New England for a fifth-round draft choose. He’ll step in instantly to fill the void left by departing free agent Alex Cappa. So how will Mason influence Tampa Bay’s offensive line? What are the strengths and weaknesses of his recreation? Properly, as you have got hopefully come to seek out with this collection, we’re going to dive into the tape to seek out out!

Who Is Shaq Mason?

However earlier than we get to the clips let’s speak just a little about who we expect the Bucs are getting in Mason. He wasn’t at all times the highly-regarded offensive lineman he’s now. Initially drafted late within the fourth spherical of the 2015 draft, Mason definitely had professionals popping out of Georgia Tech. Nonetheless, there have been some main pink flags to his recreation as properly. The 2 largest considerations centered round his lack of supreme measurement and his lack of cross safety expertise in Georgia Tech’s run-heavy system.

Bucs G Shaq Mason – Picture by: USA At the moment

Coming into his eighth season within the NFL, Mason has definitely proven the flexibility to beat these query marks. At 6-foot-1, Mason’s peak will at all times require him to make use of elite approach to deal with greater, longer defenders. Moreover, after hundreds of reps on the NFL stage he has confirmed he can deal with skilled cross rushers.

As a blocker on the pro-level Mason continues to hold his hat on his skills within the run recreation. Based on Professional Soccer Focus, Mason has registered a better run-blocking grade than pass-blocking in all however one season since coming into the NFL. This contains elite run-blocking grades above 80 in 5 of the final six seasons. Now as a cross blocker, Mason’s rookie season was tough, logging a pass-blocking grade of 37.7. Since then, he has improved that quantity to frequently coming in above 70.

Now let’s check out the traits Mason exhibits that assist him produce such favorable grades from PFF all through the remainder of this text. I watched six video games from Mason’s 2021 season. They included Indianapolis, Miami, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Carolina, and New York (Jets). These accounted for 3 of his top-graded and three of his bottom-graded performances final 12 months in response to PFF. What did the Bucs see particularly in Mason’s recreation that made them so excited so as to add him to the roster?

Run Blocking

Mason made his bones in school as a run blocker, and it continues to be his calling card. It is smart for us to start there, proper? As a smaller guard, Mason doesn’t win with overwhelming measurement and power. However he does win in such a enjoyable means.

I dare you to seek out somebody within the NFL who fires off the snap faster than Mason. That is one space of Mason’s recreation that Scott Reynolds and I each love watching. His explosiveness jumps off the display and it was evident in his athletic testing when he logged a 32-inch vertical leap and 9-foot-2 broad leap. Check out a couple of of those run block reps and inform me you and the Bucs aren’t excited to see this in pink and pewter subsequent 12 months.

I attempted to go tremendous slow-motion on this one to indicate simply how rapidly Mason shoots off the road in comparison with Buffalo’s defenders. He is ready to get to the lineman’s inside shoulder to chip him for proper deal with Trent Brown earlier than attending to the second-level to wall off the linebacker.

Right here we see it once more towards Jacksonville. Mason is ready to leap out of his stance and lunge ahead to get into DaVon Hamilton’s chest earlier than the deal with can get into the “A” hole to attempt to cut up Mason and middle David Andrews. He drives by means of Hamilton together with his left shoulder and knocks him off middle and away from operating again. Think about this stage of play paired with Bucs middle Ryan Jensen. Getting excited? So am I.

There it’s once more! Mason launches off the road and is ready to get and keep forward of DeForest Buckner laterally. However along with that, his get-off shoots him ahead vertically to place him parallel to Buckner. This helps him seal the lane that Rhamondre Stevenson finally navigates for a wholesome acquire.

Mason’s capacity to blow up out of his stance permits him to typically instances dictate the purpose of assault within the operating recreation. This could bode properly for the Bucs operating recreation, whether or not or not it’s Mason establishing lanes by driving defenders again in duo units, or attending to zones and marks within the workforce’s ever-expanding outdoors zone performs.

Okay, final one – I promise. Watch as Mason shoots out proper off the snap so rapidly that he really needed to decelerate to make sure that he is ready to cowl up and seal off the linebacker. This creates the seal that operating again Damien Harris shoots by means of for an enormous acquire.

Shifting in Area

It’s not simply Mason’s get-off that’s spectacular in the way in which he strikes. He is ready to preserve that velocity whilst he works additional away from the start of the play.

Right here you see the get-off towards Carolina simply as we noticed above. However look how he maintains and even accelerates as he will get to the second stage. That’s linebacker Shaq Thompson he’s operating with and attending to. He is ready to get his palms on Thompson to pushing him away from the road of scrimmage. By altering Thompson’s pursuit angle, the Patriots had been in a position to get the sting and rattle off an 8-yard acquire.


Whereas Mason’s measurement can work towards him when dealing with long-limbed defenders within the passing recreation, it could additionally work to his profit within the operating recreation. The low man wins in soccer. And the shorter you’re the simpler it’s to maintain a low pad-level and preserve leverage.

Have a look at Mason go up towards 6-foot-5 Derrick Brown. Proper off the bat he was in a position to get decrease than Brown, get into his chest and stone him. Brown then tries to re-establish a brand new path to the play by redirecting to the within and ripping Mason’s arms down. However the stellar proper guard isn’t having it. He maintains his low pad stage, retains his grip and continues to drive Brown backwards.

Right here we go once more towards Jaguars defensive deal with D.J. Smoot, who’s nearer to Mason’s peak at 6-foot-3. However he has simply as a lot hassle making an attempt to get decrease than Mason. Smoot tries to get to Mason’s inside, however Mason will get a very good grip and a pleasant chip from Andrews. As Smoot tries to redirect to Mason’s proper, Mason retains his grip and twists with Smoot to maintain his physique in between the defender and the ball-carrier. Bucs offensive line coach Joe Gilbert goes to like this side of Mason’s recreation.

Go Blocking

Whereas Mason’s run-blocking has by no means been in query, he has needed to work at his cross blocking craft. The largest motive why is that Mason lacks an amazing anchor. This causes him to wrestle towards highly effective inside rushers who can transfer him with a very good bull rush. Have a look:

Right here Adam Gotsis of the Jaguars is ready to long-arm Mason, touchdown a strong punch after which driving Mason again. Mason is unable to lock his decrease half and push again. And so, he will get labored again into quarterback Mac Jones, forcing him to should scramble out of the pocket. Give Mason credit score although. Regardless of the preliminary loss he frantically tries to recuperate and makes a last-ditch push that allows Jones to flee the almost-certain sack.

Right here once more Mason permits the defensive deal with to regulate the rep by getting his longer arms in on Mason’s chest after which drive Mason again into Jones. It’s clear that even eight years in, Mason feels extra snug going ahead than backwards. And I get it. His very best quality is the explosive get-off we profiled earlier. It’s tough for an inside lineman to duplicate that launch in a cross set.

Studying To Win In Go Professional

Regardless of missing the flexibility to bodily dominate on a play-in, play-out foundation, Mason remains to be a plus cross blocker. How does he do it? He has developed the knack of being an absolute technician. Footwork, hand-fighting, and consciousness are all keys to his recreation that permit him to win most of the time. You’ll be able to see these efforts on this subsequent rep towards Carolina.

Mason instantly acknowledges that the deal with is promoting out for the surface rush. He instantly makes use of his fast ft to maintain a large base and mirror the deal with’s actions. This retains him squarely in between his defender and his quarterback. Whereas his ft are mirroring his palms are working. Mason is ready to get a very good punch together with his proper hand initially whereas his left is ready to push the deal with’s proper shoulder only a second later, slowing him down and opening his body. Out of the six rushers Carolina despatched on this play, Mason’s was the furthest from Jones by the point left his hand.

This rep doesn’t begin practically as properly for Mason. Dayo Odeyingbo will get a very good leap off the snap, slaps away Mason’s punch and instantly will get into his core. This begins to drive Mason again. However this man retains his wits and locks in his anchor. However what actually permits him to show this round is his grip power. With vice-like palms, he retains a maintain of and forces Odeyingbo to decide to a transfer to attempt to get round Mason. Odeyingbo opts for a swim transfer that will get him nowhere. Mason maintains grip and forces Odeyingbo to finish up rotating away from Jones.

Lastly, another rep towards Jacksonville and Gotsis. Off the snap Gotsis tries to win to Mason’s outdoors shoulder. Mason is ready to kick-slide to the surface and instantly block of Gotsis’ route. So Gotsis tries to re-direct to the within by dipping his shoulder. However Mason’s grip retains Gotsis’ pad stage excessive and slows his rush to a halt.

So there you have got it. Shaq Mason shouldn’t be a mauler. He doesn’t bodily impose himself on defenders. You wont see him create too a lot of these soul-snatching, drive him into the bottom sort of blocks. It’s not his recreation. He’s a brief, explosive athlete who makes use of unimaginable – and at instances flawless – approach to compensate for a scarcity of anchor. That is what the Bucs ought to anticipate in 2022. A robust run blocker who isn’t a legal responsibility in cross safety. However simply because he isn’t the “glass-eating” mauler that greater linemen could also be doesn’t imply he doesn’t have a imply streak. I’ll go away you with this final clip for a little bit of enjoyable.

I positive hope defensive deal with Blake Cashman was in a position to course of his mail forwarding earlier than Mason helped relocate him to that new zip code.