A Ray Lewis Super Bowl Tackle and the NFL’s Need for Offensive Line Stats

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.

aboone

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.

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Super Bowl XLVII Predictions and Preview

For the last time (allegedly) in his life, Ray Lewis will take the field and deliver his pre-game “What time is it? (GAME TIME!)” song. For the first time in my life, I cannot wait to hear it.

Is it because I am getting sentimental over the final game for Ray?

Not at all. I just want this f*cking game to start already. I cannot stand the two weeks of hype before the Super Bowl, and this is even for a game where I do not have a strong, personal rooting interest like I have in recent years. Sure, I want San Francisco to win, but I really don’t care if they don’t. Just get this game going.

I really can’t even write anymore about it, so here is a collection of links including thousands of words and hours of solid research previewing this game.

Super Bowl XLVII Preview

49ers by the Numbers – David Akers’ history in the clutch, how Colin Kaepernick actually keeps the ball in the zone-read option, how he runs, and why he’d rather have Crabs than VD

Ravens by the Numbers – The timeline of Baltimore’s improbable run, Lewis leading the best playoff defense ever, and Flacco’s unconventional success, including third down.

Is Joe Flacco Underrated in the Clutch – Might as well present the facts before the MSM kills the story, using Sunday night’s game result to decide if Flacco is clutch or not. He’s better than you probably think.

The Thinking Man’s Guide to Super Bowl XLVII – Putting the data together to look at the matchups, and what should decide this game.

NFL Quarterbacks: Career Playoff Drive Stats (2013 Edition) – More of a general article, but a lot of focus on Flacco’s improvement this postseason, and some amazing numbers from San Francisco in the last two playoff games.

You still have about 8 hours before this thing gets going. So you can read some of this, or watch Dan Marino’s body language on CBS. If there’s a downer to tonight, it would be having to listen to Phil Simms and Jim Nantz call one more game this season.

But at least the Patriots are not involved.

Super Bowl XLVII Predictions

Coin-Toss Prediction: Heads

First Score Prediction: Justin Tucker 38-yard field goal

Colin Kaepernick’s Rushing Yards: 53 yards

Joe Flacco’s Passing Yards: 267 yards

Final Score: Ravens 23, 49ers 20

Super Bowl MVP: Joe Flacco

 

The year never ends for me, as at least three articles will be written every week this year. Will I find enough to talk about in the dog days of March, or May thru July?

Probably.