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As the Steelers fill out their 2021 roster, there are some players added into the fold who Steelers Nation may not be over familiar with. One of those players in running back Kalen Ballage. In order to do our best to help Steelers fans get as much information as possible, Ballage will be the subject of this week’s Steelers Vertex.
Let’s get a quick reminder of where this nerdiness is coming from.
Vertex- a single point where two or more lines cross.
Sometimes to make a great point, it takes two different systems of analysis to come together and build off each other in order to drawl a proper conclusion. In this case, the two methods are statistical analysis and film breakdown. Enter Dave Schofield (the stat geek) and Geoffrey Benedict (the film guru) to come Stitched Kalen Ballage Jersey, together to prove a single point based on our two lines of thinking.
Here comes the breakdown from two different lines of analysis.
The Stats Line:
One of the more interesting numbers fans could focus on when it comes to Kalen Ballage is the number three. In three NFL season, he’s played for three different franchises. With his first two years being in Miami, Ballage split his 2020 season between the New York Jets and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Coming in with eight career starts, Ballage will be tied with the most starts at running back on the Steelers with Jaylen Samuels. Benny Snell Jr follows them up with five starts in his two seasons.
In his two years in Miami, Ballage rushed for 191 yards on 36 carries and a touchdown his first year, one of which was a 75-yard run. This helped his average come White Kalen Ballage Jersey, to 5.3 yards per carry. In his second year with the Dolphins, Ballage more than doubled his carries but had less yards with 74 attempts for 135 yards and three touchdowns. His 1.8 yards per carry in 2019 was uninspiring and he found himself traded to the Jets at the end of 2020 training camp for a seventh-round draft pick.
Only lasting three games in New York, Ballage was added to the practice squad of the Los Angeles Chargers after his release. After being elevated from the practice squad once, Bellage was signed to the active roster and appeared in eight games with two starts and 290 rushing yards on 88 attempts with three touchdowns.
When it comes to salary, Ballage counts less than $1 million for the Steelers for the 2021 season, and currently is not guaranteed a spot to even make the active roster. How much of a chance Ballage has to fit in with the Steelers will need to be determined based on the film.
The Film Line:
I looked at Kalen Ballage’s game where he played the most snaps, Week 11 of 2020, when Ballage’s Chargers played the Jets, where he was the Chargers primary running back. Ballage showed both his strengths and weaknesses in that game.
First off, Ballage in the run game.
2nd quarter, 15:00. Kalen Ballage is the running back.
Ballage’s film has a good number of plays where there was little opportunity to even get back to the line of scrimmage. That’s one part of the reason his average per carry was so low. The center gets beat badly here, and the end to the right side of the screen drives the guard past the ball. The run blocking was frequently worse Camo Kalen Ballage Jersey, than what we saw in Pittsburgh. Ballage had 9 rushes for a loss on the season, I watched every one, and they all involved free defenders in his run lanes, and only one looked like he missed a chance to escape.
1st quarter, 0:08. Kalen Ballage is the running back.
Ballage’s best film is when he is setting up blocks to create run lanes. You can see how his fake cut inside helps set up the blocks that allow him to gain 9 yards. While Ballage shows this ability, it doesn’t show up consistently.
3rd quarter, 0:19. Kalen Ballage is the running back.
On this run, Ballage cuts upfield and it buys time and creates the angle for the guard to get off the combo block and block the linebacker #44. Ballage doesn’t take advantage, staying inside where he is tackled after gaining 2 yards.
From this angle you can see the opening he had to break this run outside.