We say it every year, but if there’s one aspect of play that gets consistently overlooked, it’s what happens on the offensive line. While other positions have easy-to-understand stats that paint a picture in the ball park of what has been going on, there’s nothing really tangible for those big guys doing all the grunt work.
Only now there is, as by breaking down how many times a lineman sets in pass protection, and working how many sacks, hits, and hurries they’ve given up, we’re able to tell you just how efficient they are when it comes to keeping trouble off of their quarterbacks.
The key word there is “efficient.” While there is some overlap between being the most efficient and being the best, we’d always point you in the direction of our grading to find out just who the best are. That’s the only form of offensive line analysis that looks into not just what happened, but how quickly it happened and the nature of the situation.
Still, Pass Blocking Efficiency as it has become known, is a good indicator. So enjoy the findings from a formula that values hits and hurries as three quarters the worth of sacks, adds them all up, and divides by how many times they attempted to pass protect.
No Ordinary Joe
When a team picks a tackle in the first round they’re thinking that guy is going to keep his quarterback clean. We’ve mentioned countless times the impact pressure can have on a passer, so just imagine how much worse Colt McCoy could be if he didn’t have the most efficient tackle in the league blocking for him. I am, of course, referring to Joe Thomas, who in allowing just three sacks, a hit and 15 hurries on 527 pass blocking snaps, is flying high with a 97.2 PBE rating. He narrowly beats out Andrew Whitworth of the Bengals and David Stewart of the Titans (97.1 ratings), though it should be noted he has given up eight penalties.
Interestingly, Thomas isn’t the only Brown to do well in the tackle rankings. Tony Pashos has struggled to impose himself in the run game, but with just 17 total pressures given up on 398 pass blocking snaps, he ranks fourth out of all right tackles. With the rest of the Top 10, you kind of understand them being there, and it’s only really Pashos whose name sticks out. He finds him behind the aforementioned Stewart, Tyson Clabo and rookie sensation, Tyron Smith.
The Class of 2008
Earlier this week I was having a joke with PFF Founder Neil Hornsby about an article he wrote in 2008 where he looked at the rookie tackle class of 2008 and speculated that they might go down as one of the best in a long time. So it’s with great joy I bring some of these findings. The top pick from that draft, Jake Long, battled offseason injuries and took his time to get up to speed and languishes in 23rd spot after finishing first in 2010. The second tackle taken was Ryan Clady and he’s having an even worse year than Long in 27th spot after giving up six sacks, three hits and 20 hurries. Indeed, the best performer from that draft class happens to be Branden Albert who comes in 10th overall, narrowly ahead of Duane Brown who is currently 13th. Of the other first-round tackles taken, Gosder Cherilus is equal 27th with Clady, and Sam Baker is spared a ranking because he hasn’t played enough time. If you take his rating and apply it to the ratings of the others, however, you have a guy who would be dead last.
The best thing about this rating for me isn’t continually pointing out how poor Levi Brown is (dead last), but rather looking at the guys who have turned a corner after bad years gone by. Look at Trent Williams for example. Here’s a player that as a rookie gave up 11 sacks, 11 hits and 24 hurries, and this year has knocked that figure down to two sacks, four hits and 13 hurries. The suspension takes the shine off an impressive year, but shouldn’t make us forget the strides he took in 2011. Continuing the theme of the 2010 class coming good, Bryan Bulaga is ninth overall after finishing in the Bottom 15 last year and the eighth overall pick from 2009, Eugene Monroe, is putting in his best year as a pro.
But you’ve heard enough babble from me, right? Let’s get some tables … namely, the best and worst of the bunch.
Pass Blocking Efficiency, Top 20 Tackles
Pass Block Snaps
Total Pressure Allowed
|16t||Andre Smith Jr.||CIN||717||413||3||7||13||23||95.6|
Pass Blocking Efficiency, Bottom 20 Tackles
Pass Block Snaps
Total Pressure Allowed
So there you have our Pass Blocking Efficiency rankings as of Week 14. They’re updated on a game-by-game basis in the PFF Premium Stats section, so pop in and you can explore more than just the tackle rankings, as guards, centers, backs and tight ends all come under scrutiny for their pass blocking as well.