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  1. #1
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    NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    I've come up with what I think is a reasonable way of ranking offensive lines by measuring each teams overall offensive efficiency. The formula is as follows:

    (Rushing Yards/Attempt x 2) + (Passing Yards/Attempt reduced by Sacks/Passing Attempt)

    To test this analysis, I ran the numbers for the NFC using 2004 statistics. Here are the results:


    1. Minnesota Vikings: 17.35

    2. Atlanta Falcons: 16.24

    3. Green Bay Packers: 16.04

    4. Philadelphia Eagles: 16.00

    5. St. Louis Rams: 15.93

    6. Seattle Seahawks: 15.56

    7. New York Giants: 14.88

    8. Detroit Lions 14.57

    9. Dallas Cowboys: 14.54

    10. New Orleans Saints: 14.54

    11. Tampa Bay Bucs: 14.39

    12. Carolina Panthers: 14.24

    13. San Francisco *****: 12.64

    14. Washington Redskins: 12.61

    15. Arizona Cardinals: 12.60

    16. Chicago Bears: 12.52

    What I found interesting is that the rankings are fairly consistent both with my perception of the offensive lines of the NFC teams in 2004, as well as their overall success on offense.

    What do you think of this system?


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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    I think I'm surprised to see the Rams as high as they are.

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    I'm not entirely surprised. While their sack total was fairly high, their sack% was not that bad. Also, the Rams have had very good yards/pass attempt figures for several years, and the yards/carry average was decent.
    What do you think of the system overall, Nick?

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    It looks like an interesting system, and as you said, confirms some thoughts I had about which lines I thought were some of the strongest (Minnesota, Green Bay, for example). I'd be interested to see how the AFC does in this formula.

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    Yeah, if I have the time, I'll try to run the AFC's numbers. I'd expect Indianapolis, Kansas City and Pittsburgh to be at or near the top of the list.

    Its pretty interesting that, in the NFC, the six playoff teams are the top 6 under this criteria.

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    As do I, as well as New England.

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    I have a problem with the Giants being ranked 7th. Maybe they are an anomally to the overall system.

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    The age-old question...how do you quantify and grade an offensive line. I guess this equation is as good as any. Seeing the Rams and Giants ranked as high as they are does make us question our own perceptions though. Are those two much-maligned OLs better than everyone seems to think they are....maybe so?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    Quote Originally Posted by AV
    (Rushing Yards/Attempt x 2) + (Passing Yards/Attempt reduced by Sacks/Passing Attempt)
    I'm curious about a couple of things. First, why are you doubling the weight given to rushing yards? Is that to bring the number closer in line with passing yards or some other reason? Second, it appears that sacks aren't much of a penalty in this equation, why not?

    Don't read this as criticism of your work, I'm just curious why you did it the way you did.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    I have a problem with the Giants being ranked 7th. Maybe they are an anomally to the overall system.
    The Giants' ranking is largely because of Tiki Barber having such a good year, giving them a good yards/rushing attempt figure. Also, while their sack percentage was on the high side, they also had a decent yards/pass attempt figure.

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    I'm curious about a couple of things. First, why are you doubling the weight given to rushing yards? Is that to bring the number closer in line with passing yards or some other reason? Second, it appears that sacks aren't much of a penalty in this equation, why not?

    Don't read this as criticism of your work, I'm just curious why you did it the way you did.
    I doubled the yards/rushing attempt for two reasons. (1) As you indicated, because it puts it more in line with yards/passing attempt. For example, a good rushing team might have a 4.5 rushing average, while a good passing team can have a yards per pass average in the 8-9 range. (2) I think rushing yards/carry is more indicative of an O line's performance than passing yards/per attempt, as a team with a bad line can still have good passing stats if it has good yards after the catch.

    The sack penalty is fairly significant. If a team had a 6.5 yards per attempt, but 10% sacks, they only got credit for 5.85.


    As for the Rams ranking in spite of their "maligned" offensive line, I think what this analysis shows is that their line's poor performance (i.e. high sack total) is tempered by the fact that they (1) pass the ball more than most teams, which will typically result in more sacks, and (2) they tend to have a high yards per pass attempt, as opposed to teams that just dump the ball.
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -04-08-2005 at 10:31 AM.

  12. #12
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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    Quote Originally Posted by AV
    a team with a bad line can still have good passing stats if it has good yards after the catch.
    Hm, maybe YAC yardage could be removed from the equation.
    Quote Originally Posted by AV
    The sack penalty is fairly significant. If a team had a 6.5 yards per attempt, but 10% sacks, they only got credit for 5.85.
    I don't know, it just seems that sacks should bear a bigger burden than just a 10% reduction in the worst case. But that's just me. I like it. Hey, I'm for anything that puts numbers to an OL performance.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  13. #13
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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    There is definitely a basis for dispute there. My opinion, though, is that sacks are overrated in a sense. If a team has few pass attempts, and runs an offense that relies on quick drops and short passes, they will have a low sack total - but does that mean the O line is that great? On the other hand, a team like the Rams, which passes the ball a lot, and runs longer patterns, will always have a higher sack total.


    By considering sack% in the overall score, and applying that figure to the yards/attempt #, I think you get a better picture of what kind of protection the O line is providing in the passing game.

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    There is definitely a basis for dispute there. My opinion, though, is that sacks are overrated in a sense. If a team has few pass attempts, and runs an offense that relies on quick drops and short passes, they will have a low sack total - but does that mean the O line is that great? On the other hand, a team like the Rams, which passes the ball a lot, and runs longer patterns, will always have a higher sack total.


    By considering sack% in the overall score, and applying that figure to the yards/attempt #, I think you get a better picture of what kind of protection the O line is providing in the passing game.
    Sounds good to me. Like I said, anything that can quantify an OL's performance is great in my book.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: NFC Offensive Line Rankings (a new statistical system)

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    I have a problem with the Giants being ranked 7th. Maybe they are an anomally to the overall system.
    Or maybe their overall performance was better than perceived.

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