Jonathan Ogden was elected to the Hall of Fame in a rather easy choice this past weekend on his first ballot attempt. Ogden was a mammoth of a man and had all the proper accolades you would expect from a HOF left tackle.
But how much do we really know about his domination? Offensive linemen do not have stats the way skill position players or even defensive players have. Most of their value is based on Pro Bowls and All-Pro selections, which are proven to be heavily influenced by draft status. If Maurkice Pouncey was a 2nd-round pick for the Carolina Panthers, played the exact same way he has for Pittsburgh, then he would not have a single Pro Bowl in his career.
Ogden’s teammate Ray Lewis of course earned his second Super Bowl ring on Sunday, but it was hardly for his on-field play this season. Here is one of the tackles Lewis was credited with an assist on. Watch San Francisco RG Alex Boone (#75) pull to the left and miss the block entirely.
No wonder this offense struggled in the red zone. This is why some running plays gain three yards instead of seven. You would have to watch every play for every linemen to come up with statistics like stops, pancakes, sacks allowed, etc. But there are sites (Pro Football Focus) and people (KC Joyner) who have proven to be willing to do so. I currently do not have access to the premium section on PFF, but when I did, I honestly cannot recall if they had such stats for individual linemen.
We’re going to need them if people ever want to truly figure out which players are blocking well, and which keep tackling Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.
2 thoughts on “A Ray Lewis Super Bowl Tackle and the NFL’s Need for Offensive Line Stats”
PFF has a generic run blocking grade, and then individual pass protection stats for all offensive linemen: total pass blocking snaps, sacks allowed, hits allowed and pressures allowed. They also attribute some sacks to running backs or tight ends in protection, or a QB who holds on to the ball too long. In those instances, they don’t usually attribute a sack to the offensive linemen, unless the defender beat two people to get to the QB.
Pancakes isn’t that useful of a stat (and they don’t carry it), but they do have running back stats for yards per carry for running between each gap, as well as in the alleys. The run blocking grade is pretty good and correlates to yards before contact.