3 Years of PBE: Tackles

| 5 years ago

3 Years of PBE: Tackles

After some fine work by Nathan Jahnke breaking down which receivers have picked up the most Yards Per Route Run over the past three years, I’ll be spending the rest of the week discussing three years’ worth of Signature Stats when it comes to pass protecting. Today I’ll be looking at offensive tackles and tomorrow I’ll move onto guards, before finishing with centers, tight ends, and running backs in the days that follow.

How I’ll be doing that is pretty simple: three years of data from our Pass Blocking Efficiency numbers–a stat of ours that shows which players are giving up the most (and least) pressure relative to how much they’re on the field in pass-blocking situations, factoring in the nature of the pressure as well. 

It works itself out by first adding sacks to three quarters the value of the total number of hits and hurries then dividing that result by the player’s pass-blocking snaps. Multiply by 100 and subtract that from 100 and you have the PBE. The closer the final result is to 100 the better.

Sounds easy, right? Let’s get to the findings (note: only those OT’s who spent at least 1,000 snaps pass protecting in this time frame qualified for the study).


Total Pressure

Cardinal fans won’t be surprised to hear that no offensive tackle has given up more sacks (30) or total pressure (179) than Levi Brown has over the past three years. It’s fair to say that for two-and-a-half years of that period there wasn’t a more consistently helpless tackle in the league. But maybe something switched in the former first-rounder last year, because in the second half of the season his performance stepped up in a big way. Can he keep that going? Or without the worry of an expiring contract will he revert to his old form? Even if he does keep it up, he’ll still likely head this list. You have a gap of 36 total pressures to the guy below him. Jeremy Trueblood take a bow, as even after earning a benching in 2010 you still snared second spot, with three total pressures more than Buccaneers teammate Donald Penn and the Vikings’ former left tackle (now left guard) Charlie Johnson.


RankPlayerTeamPass ProtectsSacksHitsHurriesTotal Pressure
1 Levi BrownARZ18603031118179
2 Jeremy TruebloodTB14651420109143
3 Donald PennTB1784202397140
3 Charlie JohnsonMIN16921624100140
5 Jeff BackusDET2058191994132
5 Jermon BushrodNO1873142395132
7 Marc ColomboRET1416172388128
8 Jeromey ClarySD1540181294124
9 Michael OherBLT1642172277116
9 David DiehlNYG1191192869116


Inefficient Pass Blocking

Now, to be fair to Levi Brown, only two players have spent more pass-protecting snaps at tackle over the past three years. He’s, therefore, had more opportunity to give up pressure than his peers. This is where the PBE formula comes into effect and  puts things in context.

By looking at the number of times they were in a pass protecting situation we get a much better idea of which tackles gave up the most pressure on a regular basis. So, good news Levi Brown fans, the Cardinals’ tackle isn’t the worst. The bad news: he has the second-lowest score. It’s only David Diehl’s’ impressive ability to give up pressure that stood in his way, with the Giants’ lineman giving up 116 pressures on 1,191 snaps at tackle (keep in mind the fact he’s played some guard over the past three years).

It wasn’t just Diehl and Brown who stood out for their low scores. Anthony Davis of the 49ers was just below them in third with Jeremy Trueblood ever so slightly better with the fourth-worst score of all tackles. Rounding out the Bottom 5, Miami and Dallas fans won’t be all too shocked to see the name of recently-retired Marc Colombo who had a particularly tough couple of years before hanging up his cleats.


RankPlayerTeamPass ProtectsSacksHitsHurriesTotal PressurePBE
1 David DiehlNYG119119286911692.30
2 Levi BrownARZ1860303111817992.38
3 Anthony DavisSF106219156710192.42
4 Jeremy TruebloodTB1465142010914392.44
5 Marc ColomboRET141617238812892.92
6 Barry RichardsonKC11121217709993.05
7 Sam BakerATL131319187811593.07
8 Flozell AdamsFA10591411648993.37
9 Eugene MonroeJAX142523256711593.54
10 Charlie JohnsonMIN1692162410014093.56
11 Jeromey ClarySD154018129412493.67
12 Demetrius BellPHI10301018548293.79
13 Donald PennTB178420239714093.83
14 Marcus McNeillFA12171017639094.25
15 Michael OherBLT164217227711694.44


The Cream of the Crop

I don’t know about you but I’ve had enough time writing about the bad, so how about we move onto the good? Naturally, let’s start by telling you all who the most efficient pass blocker (by the numbers) has been over the past three years, and that means joy for Cleveland Browns fans. Their big-money first-round pick, Joe Thomas is the top dog after giving up just 60 combined sacks, hits, and hurries on 1,655 snaps in pass protection. That was enough to best both Jake Long and Andrew Whitworth, while David Stewart and Jason Peters rounded out the Top 5. Peters, who will miss all of 2012 due to a twice torn Achilles injury, is a name to focus on for Eagles fans. They have essentially lost a Top 5 tackle and replaced him with Demetress Bell who had the 12th-lowest score of all in this study. He may have improved last year, but it’s got to be a concern going forward.


RankPlayerCurrent TeamPass ProtectsTotal PressurePBE
1 Joe ThomasCLV16556097.11
2 Jake LongMIA16146396.84
3 Andrew WhitworthCIN17067096.76
4 David StewartTEN15577296.39
5 Jason PetersPHI15607596.22
6 Tyson ClaboATL18519496.00
7 D'Brickashaw FergusonNYJ16018295.91
8 Eric WinstonKC17569095.87
9 Sebastian VollmerNE10345695.82
10 Winston JusticeIND12006795.56
11 Sean LocklearNYG11466695.51
12 Branden AlbertKC15529695.01
13 Bryant McKinnieBLT171410795.00
14 Jon StinchcombRET12297995.00
15 Jeff BackusDET205813294.96


The Pass Blocking Efficiency metric is a great way of just breaking things down by pure numbers, and it tells us a lot about which tackles are given up the most pressure, but it isn’t as exhaustive as our grading which goes further than just looking at pass protection snaps and pressure numbers. We here at Pro Football Focus actually look at how quick the pressure comes and will, as part of our desire to improve our product, look at how quickly the quarterback gets rid of the ball. So, have a look at the grading for a real sense of the best pass protectors, but in the meantime the list above shows you the most efficient.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled … and our main feed too: @ProFootbalFocus

  • ntahan

    I see you have Colombo and Stinchcomb listed as returners?? :) (I know…Retired)

  • uppercut

    I know it’s been a while since Jared Gaither had a full season (and consistency is everything in the NFL), but seeing Marcus McNeil’s place on the bad-list is IMO, a reason for many Charger fans to quit being worried about Big Mac being gone. Even if it was just a short time Gaither’s everything McNeil was SUPPOSED to be as a franchise LT, but never quite lived up to. The retired Dielman replaced by Tyronne Green – sure, be worried. But knowing what I knew from PFF’s 08 & 09 years, I was ECSTATIC when Gaither was picked up and hoped he’d be signed and McNeil would be cut ASAP. (Now we just have to do something about Clary, who seems to be stuck on the roster solely because of his “good work ethic”

  • theeraser

    Not that it matters at all, but Barry Richardson is now with the Rams, I think.

  • theeraser

    Also, Kansas City has the best pass blocking OTs in the NFL???? Who would have guessed?

    • Creighton

      They do? I thought it was Joe Thomas.

  • Creighton

    How come penalties don’t count towards bad pass blocking, a false start is a false start and a hold is a hold. It’s going to cost you yards and how is a hold on a passing down not a negative in terms of pass protection? I mean if you don’t include those someone might think Webb is almost as good as lets say Barry Richardson. I mean aside from the 11 more sacks. Now as a Bears fan I don’t want anyone thinking Webb is not bad enough to crack the bottom 5, when clearly he is. Heck he hasn’t even been in the league for 3 years yet and he can already give the bottom 5 a run for their money. But really skipping out on his 25 penalties is just doing him an injustice, Webb earned those penalties. All these guys earned their penalties.

  • Carl

    should the time it took for the sack, hits and hurries took (shorter and greater then 3 seconds).  because some of these could be caused due to coverage being so good QB does /can not throw in time

  • Carl

    should the time it took for the sack, hits and hurries took (shorter and greater then 3 seconds).  because some of these could be caused due to coverage being so good QB does /can not throw in time