Last week was all about pass protection. This week is all about … pass protection.
But after spending five days writing about teams, I’m going to shift the focus to individual players. This entire week is going to be dedicated to looking at which offensive players gave up the least and most pressure from the 2010 season. And, as a special bonus, I’ll be pulling data from the past three years to look at things over a longer timescale as well.
As with all these pieces it’s a simple enough formula. Our grading has seen plays where hits and hurries are given up, valued at roughly three quarters the worth of a sack. So our formula includes a pretty basic weighting that correlates.
Sacks added to three quarters of Hits and Hurries, divided by the amount of snaps in pass protection multiplied by a 100. That’s the Pass Blocking Inefficiency formula, or:
((Sacks + (0.75 * Hits) + (0.75 * Hurries)) / Pass Pro Snaps) * 100
For the purposes of this study, only players who stayed into pass protect on at least 200 occasions qualified.
Making an executive decision in regards to where to begin, it seems like most people would be interested in seeing how the tackles shake out, so, up first are the left tackles. And which one is top? Well it’s none other than former first overall pick, Jake Long. Continuing to prove wrong those who said he would be a right tackle in the NFL, Long’s season could have been even better – as hard as that may be to believe. Indeed 61.9% of the pressure Long gave up came after a shoulder injury he suffered before Week 11.
Even with that injury, he finished ahead of the underrated Andrew Whitworth. The Bengals’ left tackle only really got taken to task by John Abraham and Tully Banta Cain, and finished the season with five perfect games in pass protection (four of which came in the last six weeks of the season). Andy Dalton is likely to be grateful for Whitworth protecting his blindside.
In the same way that Mark Sanchez is exceptionally happy to have a player like D’Brickashaw Ferguson keeping him safe. We’ve chronicled in the past about how Sanchez has struggled when pressured, and prototypical left tackle Ferguson is determined to limit those situations. His performance put him ahead of Joe Thomas who didn’t really seem himself until after John Abraham beat him for two sacks and three further pressures in Week 5.
Pass Blocking Efficiency, Left Tackles, Top 15, 2010
Pass Blocking Snaps
Down at the bottom and with just enough snaps to qualify, it’s Chargers back-up Brandyn Dombrowski. He gave up 29 total pressures, with a frankly astonishing 18 of those coming against the Seattle Seahawks. If Dombrowski owes this spot to anything, it’s Chris Clemons. In one of the most one sided beatings you’re likely to ever see, Clemons picked up 13 QB disruptions. You wouldn’t like to see that match up again if you’re a Charger fan.
That contest pushed him past Levi Brown. You feel for the Cardinal tackle, he was shifted to the left side because they wanted to keep him away from the blind side of leftie Matt Leinart. Only Leinart went, and Brown remained on the left side with right handed quarterbacks. The results were somewhat disastrous. 16 defenders had multiple pressure days against Brown, including less illustrious names such as Chauncey Davis, George Selvie and Jeff Charleston. Whoever is playing quarterback will be hoping either Brown isn’t at left tackle, or he improves tremendously.
Pass Blocking Efficiency, Left Tackles, Bottom 15, 2010
Pass Blocking Snaps
So often ignored when it comes to Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams, with fans and media members alike looking to the sexier left tackle spot, the right tackles get some due here. There will be some surprise in that the top pass-blocking right tackle was Sean Locklear. He had five games where he was perfect in pass protection, and gave up only three sacks during the regular season. That put him just in front of Kareem McKenzie. While his Giant teammate David Diehl was poor on the left side, McKenzie gave up just 28 total quarterback disruptions.
The shame for the next man on the list is that it could have been very different. Eric Winston had 10 games where he gave up one (or no) pressure. The problem was he had an ugly Week 12 game when William Hayes had his way with him. Take away that game and Winston would have walked this award as part of the impressive Texans line-up.
Elsewhere in the Top 10, there’s a free agent in Damien Woody, and a couple of potential free agents in Marshal Yanda and Tyson Clabo. So for teams looking for upgrades they could do a lot worse than look in the general direction of those men if they ever get a chance to hit the open market.
Pass Blocking Efficiency, Right Tackles, Top 15, 2010
Pass Blocking Snaps
And what of those teams? Which will be looking for an upgrade? The Bears may have drafted one tackle, but with J’Marcus Webb joining Frank Omiyale as a guy who gives up a lot in protection, could they look for another in free agency? Of course Webb was a rookie, and if you’d suggest giving up on a rookie after just one year you’d need to level the same charge at Anthony Davis. The young 49er right tackle did have two perfect games in pass protection, but he also nine games where he gave up at least three quarterback disruptions, and allowed 11 sacks on the year.
The Jets may be a bit worried if Wayne Hunter is left into start. While Damien Woody was one of the more efficient pass blocking tackles, Hunter was anything but. It is a little harsh to judge him given that his rating was heavily influenced by being caught cold by Cameron Wake and the Texan duo of Mario Williams and Antonio Smith. Still, you see a drop-off in protection coming, and that isn’t likely to bode well for the Sanchize.
Pass Blocking Efficiency, Right Tackles, Bottom 15, 2010
Pass Blocking Snaps