Posted by: hawaiianhaircut | 02/10/2010

No Football Day 3: The Oline

The week after the last precious football game of the year.  It’s disturbing.  Cold.  Filled with liquor fueled visions of grandeur. 

Along the way, in between bitterly smoking cigarettes and crying, one starts to ruminate about their team.  We’re all 0-0 now baby!  So its time to do what all decent football fans do: watch other sports only as a passing hobby while endless football speculation about next season dominates all thought.

For the Gmen, the offensive line has been a strength these past few seasons.  The beasts up front have blocked for Tiki Barber’s run of excellence as well as the Super Bowl title and on and on.  This year, the stalwart crew looked like they may have taken a step back.  Did they?  We took a look at the stats the fine fellas at ProFootballFocus have on each lineman to see how they did over a three year span starting in 2007.  These guys have been together longer than religion and war, so its interesting to compare.

 Not only that, we’ve arranged them in a fashion that appeases all but the blind:

Pictures.

ProFootballFocus breaks down each offensive lineman into several key areas which they rate based on statistical data.  Since I am no doctor, I can’t explain the ratings down to the formulas ala disgruntled janitor and a chalkboard, but it gives a good basis on which to compare performance.  We’ve taken each lineman’s last three seasons and ranked them on like categories.  The statistics have been incorporated with data from NFL.com.  Click on the graphs to enlarge.

RT Kareem McKenzie (Positional Ranking per year  in parenthesis)

Ah Kareem Mckenzie, fine Penn State product.  This guy has been a gem for the Gmen since they raided the tenant’s roster for him.  However, Big Kareeem took some heat in the press this season and missed some games due to a back injury.  We heard this year that maybe Kareem’s best days are behind him, but the numbers seem to tell a different story.

Pressures have gone up drastically in 2009 with less snaps in less games along with pass blocking being at a 3 year low.  However, run blocking has still been consistent.  Overall, Kareem still seems to be above average run blocking and overall tackle.  Since passing attempts haven’t increased dramatically (only 50 more this year than last), Kareem might be getting slower moving backwards for pass blocking as opposed to firing up the field on run blocking plays.

RG Chris Snee

Clearly a standout guard in the league, Snee’s stats look as we would expect. He’s been fairly consistent the last two years, improving in pass blocking this year but going down slightly in the run block.  Surprisingly, Snee’s screen pass numbers are down even though he’s pretty mobile…both in Coughlin’s game plan..and moving in on his daughters! Rim shot!

C Shaun O’Hara

O’Hara, the Rutgers standout who the Giants picked up in 2004 from the travesty known as the Browns has improved every season since 2007.  He put up the best numbers of his career this year and the stats reflect that.  He was also the only Pro Bowler we had this season that didn’t get in because 8 other players decided that no trip to Hawaii means no appearance at all.  This guy can move and run block like a champ.  He seems to be in the prime of his career..and for bonus points, he looks like a lumberjack!

LG Rich Seubert

Lets start off by saying, we all love Seubert.  He fought back from multiple broken bones in his leg to play some great football over the last few seasons.  He has slipped this year from a really strong year in 2008.  So was the 2008 year an anomaly since the whole line played great that year?   Rich is still an above average player for the most part and we think that he can still contribute, however he must improve his game this year.

LT David Diehl

Diehl’s numbers? Ouch.  Statistically speaking, he might be one of the worst left tackles in the game.  Of course watching the games we wouldn’t say that he is this bad, however he does have trouble against quick pass rushers who can change directions.  Unlike Seubert, Diehl has never really had a great year.  Both facets of his blocking have been below average.  His screen blocking skills show that the man can block on the move, so maybe his natural spot of guard is where he needs to be to pull and lead sweep runs and such.  We hesitate to call out Diehl for his LT play even though the stats don’t back it up..but thats mostly because we won the SB with this guy at LT.

Offensive Numbers (Rushing rank in parenthesis)

What do all these pretty pictures and such tell us?  A few humble observations if we may.  2008 seemed to be the best year for the most part for all the lineman.  It makes sense since the team was the best in the league in 2008 in rushing. In 2007, though individually the numbers were not as good, the team was ranked 4th in rushing.  Judging from the individual stats, the Giants have had much more success running to the right than to the left, which is reflecting in the rushing breakdown here.  The run game of the Gmen favored the right side with Tiki and continues that trend today. 

So where is the issue?  Seems to be all over the left side of the line.  We have all heard the rumblings.  Is Diehl going to switch to guard and Richie says hi to the pine?  Will they bring in Beatty?  Diehl has long been thought of as a guard in tackle’s clothing, so it would be interesting to see him moved to that spot.  The only knock on Beatty would be his actual game experience, which he did gain a bit of late in the season.  In limited time, he played decent.

It also is no coincidence that 2007 and 2008, when the run game was dominating, we had several 20+ runs.  Big plays always help boost numbers and break games open, so its no surprise that we had 24 runs of over 20 yards in 2008.    In 2008 and 2007, the team also had a combined 7 runs for more than 40 yards, and this past season there were none.

It would be out of character for the Giants to go to free agency since the recent finds on this line have come via the draft.  There are slim pickings as always in the left tackle market, though Mark Tauscher of Green Bay could be interesting.  Beatty would probably do fine if he got  a chance since he showed some promise in the few games he has played.  Will the Giants think of replacing Kareem because of slightly down performance coupled with back spasms that have caused him to miss time?

Ultimately, we all know that stats only tell half the story.  The down year for the line with the same talent that lead the league in 2008 reflects the team as a whole.  The defense and specials had similar sub par performances with the same players that played on a division winner just one year earlier.  Is it just a bad year?  Of course, its also worth noting that while the run game did struggle, the passing game played as well as it has in this 3 year frame.

Speculate away…

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Responses

  1. What an excellent post. I love every member of the o-line and its good to see my love of the under-appreciated McKenzie backed up with statistic like my wife’s non-Giants-related physical contact count. And as I suspected Snee is a stud. But unfortunately Diehl and Sherbet’s numbers don’t lie and a change will have to be made soon. But I don’t see free agency as being the solution. I was pleasantly surprised with Beatty’s performance this year even though he needs to put on another few pounds. His foot work is very strong. But I do think God/JR needs to bolster the future with some interior linemen in the draft. Kevin “Dumpy Ass” Boothe is decent but not spectacular and Guy Whimper may be done. Great work hawaiinhaircut.


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