Snapshot: PBE, Offensive Tackles

Last week I took a special look at the league's most productive pass rushers, and this week I’m giving equal time to inspect the most (and least) efficient pass-blocking offensive ...

| 5 years ago

Snapshot: PBE, Offensive Tackles

Last week I took a special look at the league’s most productive pass rushers, and this week I’m giving equal time to inspect the most (and least) efficient pass-blocking offensive tackles.

Now, the best method for checking in on the NFL’s top pass blockers involves purchasing a PFF Premium Subscription and looking at our grading — which accounts for more than just the numbers, looking at time to pressure and more. But if you’re looking for purely numerical values, then you can’t beat our Pass Blocking Efficiency statistic, which is just one of a number of our Signature Stats (also available via a Premium Subscription, conveniently enough).

The formula is simple enough: the total combined pressure (with hits and hurries weighted as three quarters the worth of sacks) divided by number of pass blocking snaps, multiplied by (and then removed from) 100 to give a figure where the closer to 100 you are, the better you’ve performed.

Today we’re going to be looking at all tackles who have spent 150 snaps in pass protection (at tackle).

Top of the Tackles

When you think of the top pass protecting tackles in the league, how long is it before the name Winston Justice springs to mind? It’s gone largely unnoticed but in his 173 pass blocks he’s given up just two hurries, compared to his teammate Anthony Castonzo who has given up 19 quarterback disruptions on his 247 pass blocks. Quite the discrepancy. Castonzo is far from the bottom, so this more an indication of how rock solid Justice has been and how important it is the Colts keep him healthy.

While Justice has the top rating there’s always more interest in left tackles, so who leads the way there? Well, step forward Ryan Clady who is picking the right time to produce his best form with his contract coming up. He’s building himself a case for Joe Thomas-type money with the Cleveland Brown left tackle just behind him in the third spot.

It’s not a surprise to see Duane Brown fourth, but kudos to Marshall Newhouse who finds himself up in fifth overall. In 2011 he had the lowest score of all left tackles and has taken a giant leap forward. The sight of both Brown and Newhouse so high should act as a reminder to be patient with tackles, with both men having terrible seasons when they started.

#NameTeamPass Block SnapsTotal Pressure AllowedPBE
1 Winston JusticeIND173299.1
2 Ryan CladyDEN240598.4
3 Joe ThomasCLV245797.8
4 Duane BrownHST197697.7
5 Marshall NewhouseGB263897.3
5 Branden AlbertKC233897.3
5 Jake LongMIA213797.3
8 Jeff BackusDET246997.2
8 Andrew WhitworthCIN242897.2
8 Matt KalilMIN237997.2
11 William BeattyNYG189896.8
12 Sebastian VollmerNE2321096.7
12 Trent WilliamsWAS165796.7
14 D'Brickashaw FergusonNYJ191996.5
15 Orlando FranklinDEN2381196.3


Giving Protection a Bad Name

While some tackles make life easier for their quarterbacks, others, of course, don’t. If you’re an Arizona Cardinals fan you know what this means. Indeed not only do D’Anthony Batiste (40) and Bobby Massie (34) lead the league in total pressures given up, but they also own the worst Pass Blocking Efficiency of all tackles. To the surprise of no one, Batiste is the bigger liability, but Massie (who has given up one more sack) shouldn’t be given a free ride. They’re being bested by an undrafted free agent like Michael Harris — although the Charger has the third worst score, so he can hardly take comfort in that.

More surprising names are Gabe Carimi with the fourth-lowest score, looking anything but a first-rounder in protection (even if he looks handy in the run game). The Bears will be hoping to see improvement from him, in the same way the Packers will be hoping Bryan Bulaga finds his 2011 form and quickly. He’s regressed as fast as Newhouse has improved.

#NameTeamPass Block SnapsTotal Pressure AllowedPBE
43 Tyler PolumbusWAS2021893.2
44 Doug FreeDAL2091993.1
45 Jeromey ClarySD2302092.8
45 Jonathan MartinMIA2112092.8
47 Max StarksPIT2122092.7
48 Bryan BulagaGB2632592.6
49 Barry RichardsonSL2082092.3
49 Jermon BushrodNO2482592.3
51 Wayne HunterSL1781991.4
52 Austin HowardNYJ1902291.1
53 Demetress BellPHI1922490.6
54 Gabe CarimiCHI1752489.3
55 Michael HarrisSD1562289.1
56 Bobby MassieARZ2533488.9
57 D'Anthony BatisteARZ2534087.3


Stick with Pro Football Focus over the course of the season to see how these numbers develop, something you can do on a week-by-week, game-by-game basis with a Premium Subscription.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled


  • Adam Cohen

    Pretty hilarious that Wayne Hunter and Austin Howard are ranked right next to each other. Go Jets!

    • lidman

      Agreed, but Hunter is 30 and in his 8th year and Howard is 24 and in his first.

      • Adam Cohen

        I know. Hunter has definitely shown an inkling of potential. It’s just hilarious that the media will essentially run a guy out of town and then you don’t hear a peep about someone who is performing at the same clip.

  • eessydo

    I would love to see this statistic next to the average time it takes for their respective QB’s to get rid of the football. While I love Ryan Clady, he is clearly seeing a benefit from Peyton Manning’s ability to quickly get rid of the football.

    When you are talking about Joe Thomas, Jake Long and even Winston Justice, the fact that they are holding their protection even with a rookie QB says quite a bit more. I would just like that piece of context though as it usually sheds light on whether it is the blocker or could be attributed to other factors like the QB, the WR inability to get open or the offensive play calling as a whole.

    Nobody can be expected to block a guy forever.

    • tom

      I think they do take that into consideration to some extent, probably more on the side of a QB holding on to the ball too long.

      For example if Justice is holding his block well but Luck stands there like a statue in the pocket to the point where no tackle can be reasonably expected to hold a block for that long – say 4 to 5+ seconds, I think they would credit any sack/pressure as being the quarterbacks fault and not the lineman. Think Christian Ponder is someone who takes a lot of pressure that is more his fault for holding the ball too long than the offensive line’s.

      • eessydo

        Well it is most likely the time held onto the ball would be sectioned out into 3 – 5 – 7 step drops. From there you just have to look at the 5 and 7 step drops and use those numbers. While they aren’t perfect numbers, over time they tell a pretty decent story about whether the pressures should lay at the feet of the lineman or there are other issues abound.

        • eessydo

          In fact, while I am not sure if it is a signature stat or not, but there should be some Adjusted PBE number for each drop vs. a concensus time number for each drop. League averages from prior years would more than suffice for each step drop.

          If a pressure isn’t yielded by an offensive lineman prior to that average being achieved, then that should drop off and PBE should spit out an adjusted number that I think serves to better evaluate the linemen as a whole.
          PBE tells a decent story, but for granularity an Adjusted PBE would be much more accurate.

          • Khaled Elsayed

            I think this is where our grading comes in which does account for this, and in future will account for it any more. But do see your point, it definitely adds something and ill try to get a piece out tomorrow that looks at the average time to throw for every quarterback. Is a new signature stat we’re working on

          • eessydo

            Hey, thanks for the feedback Khaled. Usually you post in these forums and you don’t get such personalized feedback from the people posting the content.

            Keep up the good work, I’ll be expecting a check in the mail for the .0000000000000000000001% commission I should receive for that signature stat idea!

    • tom

      Of course, seeing the average time before the ball is released would help as well, though it also depends on the play call and offense, where sometimes the ball is designed to get out much quicker, which would clearly help the lineme

    • Will


  • JD

    Is Bulaga really that bad, or did getting “Bruce Irvin’d” just mess up his numbers?

    • Khaled Elsayed

      He’s had a lot start to the year. Looked to start finding his feet a bit against the Texans. Showed he’s got top end talent in 2011, just needs to display it consistently

  • izach

    to be honest i would like to see the average time the QB hold on to the ball, but ALSO the average pass rush efficiency of the DL and OLB they face, becuase its one thing when a OT gives up a pressure to a guy like freeney, peppers, ware, harrison, matthews or some other elite guy when his QB is sanchez or Big ben, but when a OT is giving up pressure to some no name, DT who has 5 caeer sacks in 5 years when his QB is gets rid of it quickly.

    • izach

      my example is extreme but think of divison games when a redskins OL sees ware, babin, cole, tuck, osi, and JPP 6 times in a 16 game season and looks slightly above average compared to a another teams OL who plays on the right side and becuase of a weak pass rushing division and a lucky schedule doesnt see any “ELITE” pass rushers. but both OL grade out the same?