The GilDong Report (Game #8, vs. Clev.)
In light of many a fan being bamboozled and ga-ga over Jason Gildong's 11 sacks in '98 --- despite only 2 being anywhere near "earned sacks" --- I've devoted considerable time the past 2 seasons to monitor the work of the exceptionally average Jason Gildon. Gildon, as you may recall, hoodwinked enough voters in '00 to be voted in to a reserve spot in the Pro Bowl. Jason has been famous enough with his coverage sacks, flop sacks, the QB-slipped-on-the-wet-turf sacks, the OT totally forgot his blocking assignment sacks, and so on, that the NFL designated a new statistic, called the "Dong Sack™", in honor of Jason Gildong. (Some fantasy football leagues are incorporating this into their point systems.) Again in '01, I'll take time to expose Jason Gildon for the fraud that he truly is.
Gildon, in the midst of a yet another mediocre season and the subject of a nationwide manhunt for being missing in action most of this season, finally awoke from his slumber with some contributions in the win over the Cleveland Browns. Gildon finished the game with 6 solos, 3 of which were sacks, prompting many a fan to exuberantly jump on the GilDong bandwagon with shouts of "Gildon rules" and "Gildon saved the day" and "Gildon was The Man", etc. In fact, I almost always wait until Tuesday nite to compile the Dong Report, but given the frenzy and fawning of some fans over Jason's mostly-on-paper contributions in this latest game, I felt obliged to get the report published a day earlier than usual.
The real facts, as we shall see in this exclusive report, are that, in weighing what occurred throughout the entire Cleveland tilt, Gildon had a game in which the preponderance of his play was actually the usual jellyfish, softee, over-looked buffoonery, which was then sprinkled with a few plays of rare intensity and effectiveness.
In order of occurrence during the game, here's a breakdown of plays involving Big Jason:
- On Clev's very first play from scrimmage, they ran Jackson up the gut. Jason did his Wide Loop Rush, which, at least initially, is acceptable. But as is his nature as a pansie, in the 2nd and 3rd photos Gildon does absolutely nothing to react to the running play and fight through the block. What ensues, then, is a massive hole -- outlined in blue markings in the 3rd photo -- that is large enough to float a river barge through. Luckily, Jackson was stopped for a 4-yard gain. This exact wide-assed opening happened last year vs. Jax when Fred Taylor ran hog-wild, and it's happened throughout Gildong's career. Sure, Gildon has outside contain responsibilities -- but those responsibilities do not call for him to Wide Loop Rush up the field so far and so foolishly that the result is a hole that is no less than 12 feet wide.
- I wanted to show this sequence of pictures, below, taken at about the 8:00 mark of the 1Q. There are a lot of fallacious claims in the media and among some fans that Jason continually has to "fight off double teams" and is "almost always playing over the strong side of the formation". As you can see on this play, not only is Jason not double-teamed, but the RB (red arrow) never even looks in Jason's direction, instead immediately looking for inside blitzes. Yes, this is a pass to the Clev. left-side of the field, but the point here is that, as we shall see again and again, Cleveland thought so highly of Jason that they literally ignored Jason most of the game and never once shifted blocking assignments to add extra protection against the so-called pass-rushing behemoth.
- Jason had a chance to level Jackson in the backfield at 7:29 of the 1Q. Jackson toted the ball up RG, while Jason, once again lined up against the weak side of the formation, was initially left totally unblocked as the RT blocked down. The far-side wingback (Sellers) eventually made his way down the line of scrummage on a slow-developing trap-block, and Jason, instead of blowing up the play on the backfield, instead stuttered and accepted the block, and ended up getting partially blocked by Sellers. Gildon had a chance at Jackson, but his patented 1-armed flail weakly missed taking down Jackson.
- Jason recorded his first solo at 5:17 of the 1Q. Jason slanted inside Hback Mike Sellers -- who was the only man assigned to block him -- and grabbed at Jackson on a run up RG.
- At 1:53 of the 1Q, on a 1st & 10 from their own 29, Clev. ran Jackson on a sweep to their right. As you can clearly see in the3 pictures below, Big Jason Gildon gets sealed in as easy as pie by the RT. Not only is he getting sealed, but he's getting his ass handed back to him by Chanoine, and the result is a mammoth hole, outlined in blue, for Jackson to gain an easy 8 yards.
- On the very next play, on a 2nd and 2, Clev. runs the ball wide with Jackson. The pictures don't necessarily do this play justice, but on the play Jason gets sealed in as tightly as a ziplock bag and then mauled to the ground, and the result is an easy cruise around end by Jackson for another 4 yards. Anytime an offense is gaining 4 yards a crack on the ground in the NFL, it's doing very, very well, and the defense is sucking egg.
- At 6:04 of the 2Q, one of the most sickening plays I've seen in a quite a while occurred. As you can see in photo 1, Jason is beginning his WLR against TE OJ Santiago, while Couch is preparing to hand the ball off to Jackson. By the time of photo 2, Jackson (red arrow) has the ball well in-hand and is running toward the right side of the line, yet Jason is STILL wide-loop-rushing. To clarify, Jackson has the ball in photo 2 and Jason is at the 31-yard line, and in photo 3 Jason is still looping all the way to the 29-yard line. The result, as can be seen from the blue markings, is a gargantuan hole large enough for a Navy destroyer to fit comfortably through, and a 14-yard gain. And what really makes this play work for Cleveland, is that they are so unafraid of Big Jason that they solo block him with a light, 260-lb journeyman TE (Santiago) so that they can take their RT and have him block down on somebody who might actually be willing to make a hit and stop the run, such as the DE or ILB.
This, just as the run up RT on Clev's opening play, is a pussy play that is the very essence of poor linebacking, but since there's no formal statistic to track this kind of play, Jason, the Paper Tiger, escapes culpability for such a manure-laden play. Since this play is so laughable and typical of Gildong, below is a back-angle view of the play, as it develops. Note that this is a "strong-left" formation by Cleveland, which, unlike the preposterous and totally erroneous claims that Jason is continually having to bare the burden of always playing against the strong side, means that Jason is actually playing against the weak side on this play. Also note the sheer enormity of this hole. Even Still Faith, in his regular drunken stupor, could stumble punch-drunk through this hole and gain 10 yards.
- On the next play, Jason was left totally untouched and unblocked, and (see 2 pics, below) got some harassment on Couch, as Couch delivered a hasty curl to Morgan. This again is a definite sign that Cleveland had absolutely no respect, no fear, and no concerns whatsoever about Big Jason.
Jason finished the first half with a whopping 1 tackle, on the aforementioned Jackson plunge.
- Moving toward the 2nd half, Cleveland's 2nd possession turned into a FG that made the score 12-9. The key juncture of that drive was the 3rd and 1 that Clev. faced on the 5th play of the drive, at their own 43 yard line. Cleveland runs a short out-pass pass to Hback Mike Sellers, directly at the normal pass-rush route of an OLB. As you can see in the 1st photo, the TE immediately releases on his pass pattern and never touches Jason. In photo 2, Jason now has a clear shot at the QB. This is a play that SCREAMS "MISMATCH", because the only thing between the 255-lb. Gildon and the QB is a 210-pound rookie scatback who doesn't have any of the forward momentum that Jason has. This is a play in which an OLB with a 45-lb. weight advantage should steamroll the living piss out of the scatback. But as you'll see in photo 3, Jason PUSSES out like the pussy that he is, and instead of taking a direct route (in blue) to the QB, he WIDE LOOP RUSHES Lil' James Jackson (route is marked in red). Not only does Jason end up easily getting cut down by Lil' James, but he is doing absolutely nothing to disrupt Couch's vision, throwing motion, footwork, passing 'arc', and so on.
Couch, who has a gaping avenue of vision and room to make this throw, easily hits Sellers for an 8-yard gain and a key first down. There's been a lot of fawning over Jason's batted passes, almost all of which have come when Jason's been getting bullied at the LOS. This was the kind of play where Jason, if he wasn't such a pussy, would have either blasted Jackson BACK into the QB, or at the very least gotten such harassment and disruption on Couch that the QB would have been forced to throw the ball away or look desperately for another receiver. And lest anyone claim that Jason simply HAD to do the WLR to "contain the outside", let me cut that poppycock off at the knees right now. Couch is no speedburner as a runner. Further, Jason still could have maintained an "outside shoulder" relationship on Couch, while still leveling the shit out of Jackson. And if Jackson tries a cut-block, then I would expect a supposed "pro-bowler" to vault over the cut and still get some harassment and disruption. Remember, this was a 3rd and 1, and it's these kinds of plays that either result in a punt, or an elongated march that chews up the clock and puts points on the board. In this case, Clev. was able to put together a 13-play drive that chewed up 6-1/2 minutes and gave them the go-ahead FG.
Let me stop at this juncture to point out the work of fellow LB Kendrell Bell, who had a similar engagement with James Jackson on the previous series of the 3rd qtr. Some will, by now, tearfully claim that "You're being too hard and unreasonable on Gildon on the play above. Jackson is a capable NFL running back and I'm sure that if Butch Davis didn't think he could block well, then Davis would sit him on the bench." At 14:55 of the 3Q, Bell came in on a delayed blitz (See gold arrow, 1st photo.) Jackson (red arrow) comes up to meet Bell, a man who weighs 10 pounds less than Big Jason Gildon.
Kendrell Bell then knocks the daylights out of Jackson, sending Jackson sprawling back face-first into the turf. (see red arrows, in 3rd & 4th photos.) Bell then flies in straight at the QB and mauls him to the ground.
This is exactly what I expect, and what I want, from a Stiller linebacker. THIS is STILLER FOOTBALL. Bell came in, crashed through the blocking-RB with full-force and utter fearlessness, and then flashed in to the QB and made the sack. But given a similar opportunity in the next series, Jason, The Paper Tiger, gives Jackson a love tap and hits him so softly that it makes one wonder if Jason had a thang for the young rookie from Miami
- On a 2nd and 8 on the Pit. 41, at 6:52 of the 3Q, Jason, who had Lee Flowers by his side on a safety-blitz, was nonetheless titty-fighting with the O-line, and stuck up a paw and got a batted pass. In the 2nd photo, you can actually see how well Chad Scott read this slant, and had jumped it and was in position to grab an INT and take it in for 6. Obviously, this is not to insinuate that a passrusher should have eyes in the back of his head to see who is in position for easy INTs. The point to be made here is that, despite all the fawning over Jason and his occasional batted pass, this was a meaningless 2nd down pass play that, even without Jason's heroic bat, could have been INT'd and returned for a Stiller TD.
- On a 1st and 10 on the Pgh. 30, Couch hit Santiago with a Breuner-like 2-yard out pass. Gildon was back in a short zone, and came up to make the cake-easy stop and record his 2nd solo.
- On the very next play, Jason was left totally untouched and unblocked -- a recurring theme all day long -- and he got an easy Dong Sack of Couch. (see 3 pics, below) This is precisely the kind of play that Jason has reaped most of his "success" from, and this is the very epitome of what a Dong Sack is all about.
- On the first play after the Stewart fumble, Cleveland ran the ball with Jackson. As was the trend throughout the entire day, Cleveland once again left Big Jason totally untouched and unblocked. Jason had an easy chance to drop Jackson for a 5-yard loss, but instead meekly did the flail-and-flop, and whiffed miserably as Jackson spun away (see red arrow) while Jason lay prone on the ground as though he were humping a gopher-hole. Few, if any, starting LBs in the league have as consistently soft lack of hitting and piss-poor tackling technique, as does Jason GilDong.
- At 11:09 of the 4th qtr., on a 3rd down and 10, Joey Porter lined up at LOLB and rushed from what normally is Jason's "spot". Gildon then delay-rushed in the DE lane. 3 worthwhile points to see on this play. One, Joey Porter (blue arrow) has enough football sense to READ the QB and then came back "under" and nab Couch and even stripped him of the ball. Two, Porter is met by two blockers, despite the absurd claims that Porter is always feasting on the weak side of the formation and is fighting just one blocker. Three, Gildon is doing absolutely nothing on this play, content to weakly titty-fight with the OG and getting no push, no harassment, no disruption, and no usefulness. In fact, when ya watch this play on tape, you'll see Jason getting bullied so badly that he actually just feebly gives up on the play (photo 3).
- At 9:30 of the 4Q, Jason comes off the corner and whiffed on Couch, and then Smith and Porter sacked the QB. As I pointed out in my post-game report, this half-sack will be given to Porter, not Gildon as erroneously apportioned by the Cleveland stat crew. Note that Big Jason is being solo-blocked on this play by one man, TE OJ Santiago. Jason sloppily whiffs on what should be a murderous chance to pummel the QB.
- On a 2nd & 10 from the Clev. 19 at 4:05 of the 4Q, Jason looped around clumsy RT Roger Chanoine (pronounced "Shin-way", for those unfamiliar with this perennial star tackle.) Chanoine wasn't even penciled in to be the starting RT when the season began, but injury forced some juggling. And it's no wonder, with pathetic plays like this, in which Chanoine -- a journeyman who was undrafted and discarded by St. Louis -- didn't even lay a hand on Gildon as the Dong looped around him for what the committee determined was a Dong Sack. When a tackle stands flat-footed and does nothing to impede the rusher, then it fully meets the NFL's criteria of a Dong Sack.
On the next play, on a 3rd and 15, Jason dropped back into a zone coverage, while Couch attempted yet another slant pass to KJ. Jason was able to get a hand on the pass and deflected it. Before anyone points to this play as a reason to start carving the bust for Canton, hold on. First off, this was a 3rd & 15 play, and the intended receiver, who was covered by a CB 3 yards away, was prepared to catch a 6-yard pass. Even if KJ catches the ball, he gets hit and gains maybe 8 yards. Second, note that this was actually a poor pass that was behind KJ. As you can see in photo 2 and 3, below, KJ is twisting back in preparation to reach back for the pass.
The backview of this play shows Kevin Johnson initially running a crisp slant (photo 1), but then having to brake and start reaching back. Yes, it was a nice deflected pass by Jason, but let's keep this play in perspective, as it wasn't quite the same magnitude as, say, the stop Mike Jones made on Kevin Dyson in the Super Bowl a couple years ago.
- at 0:38, on a 2nd & 16 from the Pit. 47, which was right after Casey Hampton's sack, Jason got around the Munoz-like Chinoine for another sack. To his credit, Jason appeared quick and cat-like on this play. To his discredit, Chinoine committed two hideous boners on this play. First, as you can see in photo 1, his feet are way too wide, and he has no ability whatsoever to move laterally. Secondly, he initiated contact with his head & helmet, which is the same mistake Marvell Smith was making this past preseason that was causing him to be off balance and unable to fend off rushers. Gildon gets an earned sack for this effort, and while it was nice for Jason to beat the Flying Frenchman, no one should forget that Jason got manhandled and abused for over 3 quarters of football on this day.
In order to evaluate how a player does in a given game, regardless of sport, one has to look at the entire duration of the game, and then peel back the onion. A baseball player who hits a 2-run HR, but also boots several balls and allows a total of 5 runs to score, has had a poor overall game. And so it is with the Gilded Dong, Jason Gildon. And in football, the paper statistics simply do not tell the whole story of a non-offensive-skill position player like a LB. I was pleased with his rare intensity and prowess late in the game. However, that doesn't override a game -- with the rest of the defense playing their asses off for 60 minutes and hitting like cement trucks -- in which Gildong played pussy football on play after play after play after play. And it doesn't negate the irrefutable fact that Cleveland thought so little of Big Jason that their game-plan clearly was built on the premise that they would use the minimal amount of blocking -- and oftentimes none at all -- on Gildon, so that they could apply their manpower toward other players who were actually considered a legitimate threat. Yes, it was nice that Gildon chipped in during the 4th quarter, but the bigger question should be: with Cleveland leaving him literally UNBLOCKED most of the game, what took so f--ing long? The 4th qtr. of this game could serve as a building block for Gildong to upgrade his game and begin to actually act like a starting LB in the National Football League. However, if his history is anything to go on, I suspect this will be a one-week occurrence, after which the Paper Tiger will quietly continue with his weak-kneed play.
Season to date totals for Jason, in 8 games:
Earned Sacks: 2
Dong Sacks™: 4
Strips, Jars, fumbles caused: 1