EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings analyst and former coach Pete Bercich joined Mike Wobschall to highlight new tackle Mike Remmers' use of strength while on the go and to stop others during a recent film study.
Bercich utilizes multiple clips from Remmers' time with the Panthers in games against the Chargers, Raiders, Jaguars and Seahawks to illustrate aspects of the Oregon native's game that should help the Vikings in his second go-round with Minnesota. He previously spent time with the Vikings from November 2013 to the end of training camp in 2014 before joining Carolina.
Remmers has started the past 37 regular-season games (24 at right tackle; 13 at left tackle) and five postseason contests.
"He's taken kind of the hard way into the NFL, but we've seen that before if guys get some snaps and get on the field, they can get better every year, so I think we have Remmers on the upswing," Bercich said.
1) Toss sweep vs. Chargers
Remmers is at left tackle against the Chargers and needs to use mobility before deploying physicality on the run to the left by Fozzy Whittaker. Remmers starts outside the left hash mark and curls around and down the field, engaging a defender on the numbers and driving him for several yards. Remmers finishes the play by shoving the defender to the ground and wiping out another Charger, allowing Whittaker to reach the sideline without a hit.
"He keeps scanning from outside to inside," Bercich explained. "San Diego is in man-to-man coverage, so the cornerback he's expecting to be outside is not there because he's covering the wide receiver. He doesn't see anyone outside. He turns back in. He's probably not blocking his primary key. It's his second or third, but he gets on him and stays on him and finishes the block.
"When your player is on the ground at the end of the play, that's a win for the o-line, so we're seeing great effort and good mobility getting to the outside," Bercich added.
2) QB option run vs. Raiders
The mobility of Cam Newton has been quite perplexing for multiple defenses. He's scored 48 rushing touchdowns in six seasons, capitalizing on size and strength near the goal line and speed and stride to reach the edge.
On this play, the Panthers use two tight ends to down-block Raiders linebackers and pull Remmers from left tackle around the edge, along with fullback Mike Tolbert. Newton fakes the handoff with motion to the right, keeps the ball and heads toward Remmers.
"Remmers does such a nice job once he's out in space. He gets a little help [from Tolbert] with the linebacker, but he's hitting the first black jersey he sees on the outside," Bercich said.
The block begins inside the yardage numbers and continues to almost the sideline, allowing Newton to break the plane just inside of the sideline hash marks.
3) Setting the anchor vs. Raiders
Bercich next turns to pass protection, beginning with a play by Remmers in which he is 1-on-1 against Raiders edge rusher Bruce Irvin.
Irvin, who had 7.0 sacks last season, gets an initial surge before Remmers halts the progress of both men, leaving plenty of pocket space for Newton.
"In pass protection, Remmers can still improve a little bit with his footwork, but [he has] a very good anchor, meaning the outside linebacker is trying to bull-rush him but is able to stop his feet," Bercich said. "You see him slowly drifting back and all of a sudden, when he knows he's getting in the vision of the pocket of the quarterback, he's able to drop the anchor and then stop the rush."
4) Compensation factor vs. Jaguars
In the 2015 season-opener at Jacksonville, Remmers is at right tackle and tasked with picking up Jacksonville defensive end Chris Clemons, who is racing from a widened position, behind the line of scrimmage. Although Remmers' pads aren't completely perpendicular, which would give him the most strength at the point of contact, he wins the leverage battle with his pad level.
"He has enough strength, speed and athleticism to go ahead and ride the defensive end," Bercich said. "If the defensive end wants to … continue outside, you let him go all day long because you keep the integrity of the pocket."
5) Similar anchor vs. Seahawks
The Panthers again flank Remmers at right tackle with a tight end who doesn't engage Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril, but does force him to try to cover more distance.
The players engage well outside the hash marks, and Avril muscles his way a few steps toward Newton, but Remmers becomes immovable a few steps later as they reach the hash marks.
"He knows he's trying to power-rush him," Bercich said, "so once that happens, he's able to say, 'OK, now I've got to drop my anchor.' "