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The New York Jets Have a Better OL than the Giants?

Here’s an interesting article I found while searching the internet.   K.C. Joyner is a stat-head who covers the National Football League. We have seen plenty of stat-heads covering baseball, but it’s a growing number for people interested in the N.F.L.

 

In his article Joyner compares and contrasts which New Jersey team has a better offensive line.  His conclusions might surprise (and upset) you.  

Who Has the Best O-Line? Giants or Jets?

By KC Joyner

The Football Scientist, KC Joyner, is a Fifth Down contributor. Lab results from “Scientific Football 2009,” to be published in August, are now available for those who preorder the book.

New York Giants
New York Jets

One of the things I enjoy most about this job is helping to resolve the most compelling bar arguments of the day. Who is the better QB – Brady or Peyton? Who is the better wide receiver – Owens or Moss? Who is the better pass rusher – Ware or Porter?

As interesting as those discussions are, the “who is better” argument I have the highest interest in this off-season is which offensive line is better – the Giants’ or the Jets’? There are any number of ways to go about analyzing this, but since I have completed the individual performance metrics for every player on those teams’ offensive lines, I figure we might as well go about it in a head-to-head, metric vs. metric format.

The guidelines will be as follows:

Run blocking – The main metrics here are Point of Attack (POA) win percentage and Yards Per Attempt (YPA). The POA win percentage is based on tape reviews that track how often each lineman is blocking at the point of attack of a running play. In a nutshell, a lineman is given a POA win whenever he creates a crease for the ballcarrier. He is given a POA loss whenever the defender gets past him at the POA. An 80% POA win rate is considered the low end of acceptable, while 90% is considered the gold standard. YPAs can vary greatly depending on the quality of the ballcarrier, but four yards are considered the low end of acceptable.

Pass blocking – The main thrust of pass blocking is to keep the defender from making what NFL scouts call splash plays. Splash plays include sacks, offensive holding penalties, knocking passes down at the line of scrimmage and hitting the quarterback while he is passing. The fewer of these an offensive lineman allows, the better. A tiebreaker in this area will be the types of sacks given up; a lineman who only allows coverage sacks is probably better than a lineman who allows one-on-one sacks (i.e. sacks that are gained in one-on-one blocking situations and happen in the pocket in three seconds or less).

Now that we have those out of the way, let’s take a look at the Battle of New York!

Left tackle – D’Brickashaw Ferguson vs. David Diehl

Run blocking:

Ferguson – 115 POA attempts, 527 yards gained, 98 POA wins. That equates to an 85.2% POA win rate and 4.6 POA YPA.

Diehl – 142 POA attempts, 768 yards, 110 POA wins. That equals an impressive 5.4 YPA but an equally unimpressive 77.5% POA win rate.

Run blocking advantage – Ferguson’s POA lead gives him the edge here.

Pass blocking:

Ferguson – Gave up three sacks and had zero offensive holding penalties against him. Defenders rushing against him tallied one tipped pass at the line and zero times hitting the quarterback while he was passing the ball. Total splash plays – four.

Diehl – Gave up one sack and had one offensive holding penalty. Gave up one tipped pass and two hits on QB while passing. Total splash plays – five.

Pass blocking advantage – To borrow the term frequently used in my friend Nick Bakay’s hugely funny Tale of the Tape reviews (the format of which I am somewhat borrowing for this article,) let’s call this a push.

The bottom line –
The metrics clearly show the reason the Giants are said to be considering moving Diehl inside. Advantage Ferguson. Jets lead, 1-0.

Left guard – Alan Faneca vs. Rich Seubert

Run blocking:

Faneca – 156 POA attempts, 844 yards, 137 POA wins. Faneca’s POA win rate – 87.8%. Faneca’s YPA – 5.4.

Seubert – 191 POA attempts, an incredible 1,459 yards, 169 POA wins. Seubert’s POA win rate – 88.5%. Seubert’s YPA 7.6.

Run blocking advantage – Faneca is the more heralded run blocker and his numbers are quite good, but Seubert was more consistent and his ballcarriers had a YPA two yards higher. Seubert surprisingly wins this one.

Pass blocking:

Faneca – Five sacks allowed, zero offensive holding penalties, zero tipped passes, three QB hits while passing. Total splash plays – eight.

Seubert – Three and a half sacks allowed, two offensive holding penalties, zero tipped passes, one QB hit while passing. Total splash plays – six and a half.

Pass blocking advantage – Maybe a slight edge to Seubert but could also go as a push.

The bottom line:
The numbers say that Seubert should have been the one going to Hawaii after the season. Advantage Seubert. Teams are tied at 1-1.


Center – Nick Mangold vs. Shaun O’Hara

Run blocking:

Mangold – 141 POA attempts, 857 yards, 133 POA wins. Mangold’s POA win rate – a phenomenal 94.3%. Mangold’s YPA – 6.1.

O’Hara – 165 POA attempts, 1,181 yards, 139 POA wins. O’Hara’s POA win rate 84.2%. O’Hara’s YPA – 7.2.

Run blocking advantage – O’Hara’s YPA is very good but Mangold’s YPA in relation to the rest of his line is better. Mangold also had a huge POA win rate edge, so he wins this one fairly easily.

Pass blocking:

Mangold – Two sacks allowed, one offensive holding penalty, zero tipped passes, one QB hit while passing. Total splash plays – three.

O’Hara – One sack allowed, one offensive holding penalty, two tipped passes, two QB hit while passing. Total splash plays – six.

Pass blocking advantage – Mangold has a clear edge here as well.

The bottom line – Both made the Pro Bowl but Mangold is the best center in the NFL. Advantage Mangold. Jets lead 2-1.

Right guard – Brandon Moore vs. Chris Snee

Run blocking:

Moore – 157 POA attempts, 915 yards, 134 POA wins. Moore’s POA win rate – 85.4%. Moore’s YPA – 5.8.

Snee – 204 POA attempts, 1,321 yards, 175 POA wins. Snee’s POA win rate – 85.8%. Snee’s YPA – 6.5

Run blocking advantage – The POA win rate is almost identical. Snee has an edge in YPA but his total is 4th best on his line while Moore’s total is 3rd best on his. I’d call this a push.

Pass blocking:

Moore – Three and a half sacks allowed, two offensive holding penalties, three tipped passes, zero QB hit while passing. Total splash plays – eight and a half.

Snee – One and a half sacks, zero offensive holding penalties, zero tipped passes, zero QB hit while passing. Total splash plays – one and a half.

Pass blocking advantage – Snee takes this one hands down.

The bottom line –
Snee’s pass blocking win gives him the win here as well. Teams are tied 2-2.

Right tackle – Damien Woody vs. Kareem McKenzie

Run blocking:

Woody – 134 POA attempts, 845 yards, 118 POA wins. Woody’s POA win rate – 88.1%. Woody’s YPA – 6.3.

McKenzie – 122 POA attempts, 637 yards, 104 POA wins. McKenzie’s POA win rate – 85.2%. McKenzie’s YPA – 5.2

Run blocking advantage – Woody’s overall totals are better not only head-to-head, but also in comparison with his teammates. Woody had the best YPA on his team and the 2nd best POA win rate. McKenzie had the lowest YPA on his team and was third in POA win rate. Woody is the clear winner here.

Pass blocking:

Woody – Four sacks allowed, zero offensive holding penalties, zero tipped passes, zero QB hit while passing. Total splash plays – four.

McKenzie – Six sacks allowed, zero offensive holding penalties, one tipped pass, zero QB hit while passing. Total splash plays – seven.

Pass blocking advantage – Woody again crosses the line first.

The bottom line – Woody had better totals in both areas and therefore notches the win not only for himself, but also for his team by a 3-2 total.

Going into this, I would have thought the Giants would have won this hands down, but the metrics show that isn’t the case. The Jets’ line is not only the best in New York; it may also be the best in the NFL.

 

 

 

My take.  I don’ t entirely agree with his assessment, I think many, many times it has been shown that an Offensive line is more than the sum of it’s parts.

 

Yes, the Giants do have some players along the Offensive line who as single units are not very strong (especially David Diehl as a LT, he’s average), but as a whole the line works very well together and is a huge part of the success of this team.  

 

To me there are three important numbers when judging an Offensive line.  The first is sacks allowed.

 

Here the Jets and Giants are actually quite even.  Eli Manning was sacked 27 times in 479 pass attempts, Favre was sacked 30 times in 522 pass attempts.  Pretty close to even. 

 

The next is yards per rush. THe Giants averaged a league best 5.0 yards per rush.  The Jets averaged a very good 4.7 yards per rush.

 

And thirdly the most important numbers is Games won. The Giants won 12 games the Jets did not and they missed the playoffs.

 

Teams with bad offensive lines don’t win a lot of football games.

 

I think what is the most suprising in all of this too many people is how good the Jets offensive line actually is. They have three very good players along the offensive line.  DBricashaw Ferguson is finally coming into is own, Nick Mangold is Great.  Maybe the best Center in the league and Damien Woody is a very good player.

I’ll disagree with the conclusion but I think Joyner is on the right track both teams have very good OL and the Jets have a few players who are better at positions, but the Giants are winning more which is all that matters.


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4 Responses to “The New York Jets Have a Better OL than the Giants?”

  1. royhobbs7 says:

    Good statistical analysis and more appropos summary was included. However, you missed the next most important criteria: How about level of competition? I would think that the Giants’ OL faced considerably more competitive defensive lines and LBs (i.e., better defenses) as well as pass rushers than did the Jets’ OL; I could be wrong?

  2. Thiergow says:

    I don’t think that the winning record is really relevant because there are too many variables in addition to the OL.
    The QB’s health – Manning was in good shape all season long unlike Favre (IMO that’s the main factor of their losses).
    The receiving corp – the Jets had the advantage here
    The RBs – I think we can agree that both teams have good running backs
    But ALSO the defense – if you look at the stats the Giants’ defense is better than the Jets’ and that’s what made the difference.
    Etc…
    My point is: the only thing that proves the Giants have a better OL than the Jets is the fact they led the league in rushing yards.

  3. Jason C. says:

    The difference here is that the Giants unit is road tested, throw anything at them, and they won’t let it work twice, the Jets on the other hand, you can stack toward the left side and blitz on Ferguson and the guy will just let someone fly right by him. So sure his “POA” is high, but that’s because he doesn’t know how to adjust his play. There’s a reason why OL never are given statistical assessments because if you can use any stat to say the Jets have a better OL than the Giants, it’s comical.

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