1. Welcome to Los Angeles Chargers NFL Football Podcast and Forum!

    Bolt Talk is one of the largest online communities for the Los Angeles Chargers. We host a regular Chargers podcast during the season. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Sign Up or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!
    Dismiss Notice

Offensive Lineman Pass Protection Rankings

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, May 16, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    There is really no objective way to rate an offensive lineman's skills. You could base their run blocking ability based on how their running back does, you can rate their pass blocking ability based on how many times their QB is sacked. But any statistical measure of an offensive lineman is going to be skewed due to factors like how talented their running back is, how mobile their QB is, how well the guy right next to them is, and other factors. So take this ranking with a healthy grain of salt.

    I found some stats floating around the internets that assigned sacks to offensive lineman. I couldn't find it's source, and I don't know how a player gets assigned fractional sacks (especially quarter sacks), but the numbers seemed reasonable enough overall. Now, the number of sacks a lineman gives up is a good overall number, but doesn't tell the whole story. Obviously guys who play on passing teams are going to give up more sacks that guys who don't. If your QB throws twice as much as another QB, your offensive lineman might have given up twice as many sacks and still be just as good. So I thought I would try and normalize it by number of pass plays a player is involved in.

    So I found the total "Pass Plays" run by every team. This is the number of pass attempts, plus the number of total sacks for the team for the whole year. It doesn't account for pass plays that ended up in a QB scramble for positive yards. I couldn't figure out how to count those or even whether it was a positive or negative thing (since it is basically a sack, without the actual sack, if that makes sense)

    I knew how many games each guy started, so I could figure out roughly how many pass plays a guy was involved in by taking games started and multiplying it by pass plays per game for the team. If you take the number of sacks given up and divide by number of pass plays a player is involved in, you get sacks per pass play for a given player.

    That number is a little more accurate as a ranking of a player's pass protection ability. So I took those numbers, threw them in a spreadsheet, sorted them and voila... ranking!

    There's a bunch of 'em so you have to click through.


    The proof of any ranking is how well it stands up to our perceptions. Whenever a ranking goes against our perceptions, it's a good time to figure out why. Was our perception wrong and the stats are revealing something we didn't know? Is our perception correct, and the stats don't truly measure what we want them to measure. Then again, a sack is a sack, so maybe we shouldn't over-analyze this.

    There are definately some surprises in here. You will see some names in places that don't seem quite right (didn't the Eagles just let Tra Thomas go and trade for Jason Peters and give him a big old fat contract? They're gonna kick themselves when they see this chart.:) ) One thing that really struck me is that the Super Bowl Champion Steelers don't have an offensive lineman in the top half of any of their position groups. It could be that Roethlisberger hangs on to the ball to long, or maybe they aren't that good at pass blocking.

    As far as the Charger lineman go, I don't think anyone is surpised by how low Clary and Goff were and how high Dielman was. I'm a little surprised at how high McNeil ended up and real surprised at how low Hardwick was. Although that might lend additional support to the "Goff was dragging everyone around him down" theory.

Share This Page