Movie Breakdown: Ted Karras raises ceiling for Cincinnati Bengals offensive line


Ted Karras agreed to a three-year contract with the Bengals on Monday. He was most recently the Patriots’ left guard for the majority of the 2021 season, but has experience at three points on the inside offensive line.

Karras is a two-time Super Bowl champion with New England. So did right guard Alex Cappa, who also won a ring with Tom Brady before agreeing to terms with the Bengals on Monday.

The Bengals are hoping Cappa and Karras will give them the improvement they need along the offensive line to get back to the Super Bowl.

Karras is a smart, technically sound player who can fit in wherever the Bengals need him. Let’s step into the movie and see who he is as a player.

where he excels

  • Karras is very good at his combination blocks. He has an amazing ability to know when exactly to get out of the combo to linebacker and does a good job technically knocking down the defensive lineman with his teammate. On the second level, he does a great job of holding those blocks down so the linebacker doesn’t get out of his block. This makes up for his limited athleticism when it comes to wide area running and other zone running games.
  • Similar to Cappa, Karras also has surprising quickness in the short areas to reflect passing runners despite having limited athleticism. This ability allows Karras to be one of the best passers protecting interior offensive linemen in the league. He can move laterally with some of the best pass rushers.
  • Karras does a fantastic job on his stunts. From knocking out the penetrator and taking the looper to maintaining good levels with his teammates to gain control of the penetrator, he is generally solid in this area of ​​his game.
  • He also does a good job of resetting his hands if he loses the leverage battle or gives up his chest. He constantly works to get his hands lower than the defender so he can lift them and maintain proper leverage.
  • Finally, Karras is a consistent play along the offensive line. Bill Belichick said his consistency is one of the best things about him. You know what you get each weekday from him.

Areas of concern

  • Karras is a bit of a limited athlete. Sometimes he struggles to get out in front of his running back to lead the way and other times the athleticism shows up when he tries to hunt down linebackers on his playing side on zone runs.
  • Karras can be regularly knocked back on first contact by more powerful players. This initial setback is sometimes overcome by his ability to reset his hands, but other times it’s too much and can hurt the game.
  • Karras also got the majority of slide assist in New England. Shaq Mason is a star right guard, so David Andrews would slip and help Karras more often than not. This gave him an easier job in pass protection.

Movie breakdown: Alex Cappa is a huge upgrade in the trenches for the Bengals

Schema adjustment

Similar to Cappa, Karras should work well in the wide part of the attack, despite having limited athleticism. His combination block work is impressive and it should shine in the wide zone. There are concerns about his athleticism, but nothing too major. He also fits in quite well in the spread passing game. He has many of the desirable traits that Frank Pollack looks for in his offensive linemen.

General thoughts

Karras is a type of glue for the offensive line. He should provide starting caliber play while also being able to move and move to any of the inside points along the offensive line. There might not be too many advantages, but it’s a solid addition.

His stunt work will be greatly appreciated. Especially when you consider how bad the Bengals offensive line was at picking them up sometimes. To go with that, he does a good job of resetting his hands and mirroring pass protection so it’s not too common for players to bypass him.

Where you could see struggles on her part was during the first contact. He can be knocked down and lose to strong players if he doesn’t get help. He will also sometimes overcompensate for this lack of initial punch and lean towards the defender, making him susceptible to swimming and similar moves that take advantage of an offensive lineman who leans too far.

He should also be a quality addition in the racing game due to his ability on combination blocks. These combination blocks are the heart of the Bengals running game and they just found a guy who does a fantastic job on them. Although he doesn’t often move players one by one, he maintains his blocks and does a good job of getting himself into the right position. His lack of power and limited athleticism will prevent him from becoming an excellent run blocker.

Despite his flaws, Karras is an upgrade for the Bengals in their quest to protect Joe Burrow.

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