Thursday, December 16, 2010

Proof the Redskins O-Line Should Be an Offseason Priority

How many of you know what the New York Life Protection Index is?

Nope, not part of the stock market.

A quality of life measure is close....

It is actually a metric that evaluates offensive line play in the NFL. I have no idea why New York Life chose to sponsor this and who exactly they are paying or if they developed the metric themselves as some sort of ambush marketing. Regardless, the metric's fundamentals are comprised of the length of a team’s pass attempts combined with penalties by offensive linemen, sacks allowed and quarterback hurries and knockdowns. already know where this is headed.....

The Skins slot in at #25 so far this season, which sounds about right. Football Outsiders has us at #22 by their Adjusted Sack Rate.I should be noted that both of these metrics are only looking at pass protection.

Moving past the team that doesn't deserve any more ink, even during Dallas week, and on to the differences between the 2 metrics. Except, the the rankings look almost identical. FO only takes into account sacks and intentional grounding calls, whereas NYLPI adds knockdowns, hurries, and the one I think is most interesting, the length of a team's pass attempts, but apparently the added variables do not change much.

To make sense of why 2 different metrics are so similar can be pretty simple. Both metrics take into account valid measurables of pass protection, so a good pass protecting line should show up as such in both rankings. The hurries and knockdowns are a nice addition, but a line giving up a lot of sacks is also likely giving up a lot of knockdowns and hurries. I could envision a tough QB who is particularly good at standing in the pocket and taking hits or being hurried but managing to avoid sacks, but it appears that such a person does not exist. The length of pass play is nice, and I hope is the length the ball is in the air, rather than the net gain on passing plays.

One big takeaway from these is that a good quarterback makes a good offensive line. You can say all you want about the Colts O-line, but they are good because Manning is fantastic at avoiding sacks, intentional grounding penalties, hits, etc., not to mention the fact that he is great at recognizing defenses and preparing the blocking. One can only wonder how good the Skins line would look with Peyton behind them.......

(Image courtesy of

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