A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Cake or Death?

Nerd Alert

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OK. This is gonna be a numbers-driven post. Revenge of the Nerds-stuff. OK, got the pop-culture thing out of the way.

All the talk this week has been about McNabb vs. Shanahans, and for good reason. Mike Shanahan [I][U]has[/U][/I] to send Brad Childress a thank you card for knocking him off the top of the font page on Monday. My original focus of this piece was going to be to figure out who was right and wrong and all that. Then it morphed into proving that McNabb hasn't been a good QB this year.

Gonna change focus again and look at the O-line.

Newsflash: they ain't great.

Looking at [URL="www.FootballOutsiders.com"]FootballOutsiders.com[/URL], check out their stats on the O-line. Or don't, and let me summarize.

Our line ain't great.

OK, fine. I can elaborate.Let's look at pass blocking quickly.

23 sacks given up on 7.3% of our plays. NFL average is 16 and 6.4%, respectively. Ouch.

Onto the rushing game, there were four stats that smacked me in the head when I saw them:

Power Success at 50%, good for 28th in the league. This means that in a 3rd or 4th down situation with 2 or fewer yards to go, when we run the ball, we have a 50% chance of success. And that only 4 teams are worse than us. The other teams: Chicago, Green Bay, Denver and... wait for it... Tennessee? Strange, until you remember that CJ is a make-em-miss back, not a power runner.

Second stat was that we rank 28th is runs being stuffed at or behind the LOS, at 26%. So one quarter of our runs either end with a loss or just make it back to the LOS. Teams worse than us? Chi, Sea, Det, Den.

So our short yardage running game blows.

How about longer runs? Any better?

Well, actually, yes. Much better:

Second Level runs are 5-10 yard gains, and we rank 5th in the league. Open field yards is a gain of anything over 10 yards, and there we rank 11th.

Hmmm. Interesting. So once our backs get into space, they either have the ability to make defenders miss, or absorb contact and keep going. So we need to get them to the second level more often. How do we do that?

Well, FO also posts rushing success to the right, left and center (who needs Cialis?). This is silly though, because we all know running behind big Trent Williams is gonna be the best place for us to run, right?

Er, wellllll.... uh, no. Running left end results in 2.68 yards/att or 29th in the league. Left tackle then, surely? No. Better at 4.25 y/a, but still only 20th.

Well, the middle can't be successful because of the stuff and power run stats cited above. It's not good at all. 2.73 y/a for 32nd.

So that leaves the right side. Must be wretched too, right? Eh, no. Surprisingly not. Left tackle runs net us 3.97 y/a for 15th in the league, while Left End runs net us a shocking 5.47 y/a, for 8th in the league.

We run left 36% of the time, up the middle 30% of the time, and to the right 33% of the time.

So, what have we learned?

(are you even awake? Come on, it's not that bad)

First, that none of the o-line stats are that impressive. I don't think our line is very good. Second that the ZBS hasn't been fully implemented yet. The whole idea, as I understand it is to get the RBs in space. We are not doing that right now. We are getting tackled for a loss far too often.

But on the positive, if he can stay healthy, Torain, according to the stats, looks like he could be good. The second and third level stats paint a picture of a back with elusiveness and power, if we can just get him to the second level.

OK, I'm done. My brain is numb from looking at numbers. I'm hoping the coaching staff feels the same way, and that when we play the Eagles, we run the ball. More. And to the Right.
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