A Data Nerd's View of Offensive Line through Week 3

Though I enjoy watching and assessing games as they play out, it's hard to capture everyone's performance in real-time. I would prefer to ignore the offensive line most days, but lately it's hard to look away. Being the data nerd that I am, I turn to PFF to help analyze performances. I dig in (and apologize in advance for Data-Overload...I'll do my best to keep it easy to understand). For now, I am only focused on Pass Blocking.

For those unfamiliar with PFF rankings, here's a link to their grading methodology. Just as a quick reference if you don't care to read through all the details, a score of 0 (zero) is average. "PBE" also stands for Pass-Blocking Efficiency, and a higher score is better.

Pass Blocking Ratings

Pass Block
Player Week 1 Week2 Week3 Total
Sam Baker * -3 -7.8 -10.8
Justin Blalock * 1.2 -0.1 0.6 1.7
Peter Konz * -0.4 0.2 1 0.8
Garrett Reynolds * 0.7 0.9 0.6 2.2
Lamar Holmes * -4 -0.3 -5.3 -9.6
Jeremy Trueblood 0.2 0.2
Overall PBE 59.5 71.1 72.4 67.6
Rank 31 25 22 31

I think Blalock, Konz, and Reynolds come in as expected, and Trueblood only has one game on the charts. So, I want to focus on Holmes, for the most part. Reading through comments from the game-thread and post-game conversations, it seems like the overall tone was very positive with his move to LT. The grading implies something different. I, for one, didn't notice a big difference in his performance.

Now I don't want to jump the gun and say to get rid of Holmes. I think he still deserves some time to grow into his position. The switch from Right to Left is not that easy, and though he played Left Tackle in college, he has been practicing Right for a while. The muscle memory, plays, footwork, and timing are different.

While the last two weeks were better than week 1, our Offensives Line's overall rating through week 3 is 31st. They played better, yes, but consistently bad, which limits our high powered offense from getting those big plays. It shortens the field for the opposing defense, and puts a ton of pressure on our QB. The Falcons are second to last in the percentage of deep passes (20 yards+) through week 3, which include no attempts against Miami. We were ranked 6th last year, with almost 2.5 times more attempts as a percentage.

QB Pressure

QB Pressured as % of Dropbacks
Week Rank Pressure %
1 31 52%
2 15 36%
3 28 45%
Overall 30 44%

Injuries hurt, no doubt. But comparing week 2 to week 3, the line should have been stronger. No ailing Sam Baker on the field (who graded horribly through week 2). Did the number of hurries and hit decrease? Sure, but so did the number of passing plays (thank you Jaquizzon Snelldgers - best duo nickname ever). This rating also coincides with the offensive line ratings, but let's think about this. 44% of passing plays have pressure. The league average is just below 32%. That makes a huge difference.

Time in Pocket

Additionally, Matt Ryan didn't gain any extra time in the pocket, and actually had greater percentage of passing plays with under 2.5 seconds to throw:

2.5 secs and Less
Week %
1 45.2
2 60.0
3 76.3

This trend really was expected, but I didn't realize the number of plays with that quickness. The league average is 50%, both for 2012 and so far this year.


Faith. We had a tough early injury to Johnson, and an underperforming/hurt LT. That creates big holes in the line, and by extension, the entire Offense. Holmes has not shown much improvement, though switching over to LT is not that easy. We have to believe that the line will grow, and hope that Baker can make it back to his 2012 form, at the least. There's more talent on the line than stats show.

Matt Ryan also deserves even more praise than he's getting. Quick decision and accuracy. His only interceptions have come when forced to try and make something happen. He's not perfect, but I wouldn't trade him. The coaching staff needs to make the in-game adjustments necessary to maintain leads.

What do you think? Thanks for reading my first post!

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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