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The state of the 49ers Offensive Line, Statistically speaking...

since im really into stats, and i like to know exactly how players on my team are doing overall, i looked into the individual stats of our OL to see just how theyve been playing compared to the rest of the NFL. just watching games every week and forming an opinion of what you see can be misleading.

a few notable surprises, both good and bad among the 49ers starting OL this year.

C- Eric Heitmann holds down an otherwise poor OL, being the 14th best pass blocker, the 16th best run blocker among Centers, and committing only 1 penalty this season, which ties him for 2nd best in the NFL among C with 800+ snaps. he gave up 2 sacks, 1 QB hit, and 10 QB pressures. 2 sacks for a C isnt so hot, but 1 hit is up with the pro bowl type guys, and the pressures are middle of the road. overall hes right about in the middle of the NFL.

G- Chilo Rachal actually had the better statistical year than David Baas. but neither were worth talking about. Rachal ranked decently in pass blocking, while Baas was a hair above average in pass blocking. Rachal beat Baas again in run blocking, but both were absolutely AWFUL. well below league average. 4 penalties for Rachal, 3 for Baas, so at least they didnt kill us there. not amazing, but decent for the position. top 10 in giving up sacks, both of them, middle of the pack in giving up QB hits and pressures.

overall id say we give them one more season. the pass blocking has been decent this year surprisingly, but the reason why Gore hasnt been consistent this season is now obvious. they cant run block to save their lives. poor Frank, and STILL a 1000 yard rusher with possibly the NFL's worst run blocking line.

T- Both Joe Staley and Barry Sims have done a good job pass blocking, but both, like the Guards, have been very bad run blockers. Staley has committed 0 penalties this year, and Sims has 2. overall our whole line is one of the most disciplined units, penalty wise. thats what, 10 penalties on our entire starting OL this season combined? well, and then theres Adam Snyder with 5 penalties by himself, and giving up an NFL high for all OL, 10 sacks this year. Staley has given up just 3 sacks (in 8 games), and Sims only 1 the entire season. both Staley and Sims have been good at preventing QB hits and pressures as well.

so to sum up the 2009 Niners OL? slightly better than average pass blocking, and terrible run blocking. this kind of surprised me. we also dont commit many penalties, and for the most part have kept pass rushers off of Alex Smith. which means, Alex Smith hasnt been held down by his OL as much as i thought, and that Adam Snyder needs to be cut and replaced. hes the only real ugly pock mark on our line for both run/pass blocking and penalties. oh, btw when Pashos did play, he was solid overall.

in order of pass blocking success this season from best to worst in the time they played, (space denotes separation from decent to crappy):

1. Barry Sims
2. Joe Staley
3. Tony Pashos
4. Eric Heitmann
5. Chilo Rachal

6. David Baas
7. Tony Wragge
8. Adam Snyder

and in order of run blocking:

1. Eric Heitmann
2. Tony Pashos

3. Tony Wragge
4. Adam Snyder
5. Barry Sims
6. Joe Staley
7. Chilo Rachal
8. David Baas

Also, something to point out. our offensive players have a total of 47 penalties this season. Vernon Davis and Josh Morgan make up 17 of them. over 1/3 of our entire offenses penalties have come from those 2. youre KILLING us here guys. come on.

so in conclusion, maybe it is best to change over to a more pass friendly scheme. the unit we have right now succeeds alot more at pass blocking than run blocking. obviously having Gore, its a big blow to the team not to be able to allow him to be that superstar talent, but for now were better off throwing more than running.

i say we draft a RT, since Sims cant play well there, and will retire in a couple years. and then maybe a 2nd or 3rd round G to replace Baas. and sign someone. ANYONE, to replace Adam Snyder. we probably wouldve been better off with a DL playing in place of Snyder. i dont see how it couldve been worse.
  • ptinerocket
  • Info N/A
where did you get the stats my friend?
Originally posted by ptinerocket:
where did you get the stats my friend?

profootballfocus.com

they track stats on everything known to football pretty much. the numbers i posted are from everything up to week 15. week 16 hasnt been added yet.

http://www.profootballfocus.com/about.php?tab=about
How about posting the stats, not just your opinion of them...
Originally posted by solidg2000:
How about posting the stats, not just your opinion of them...

http://www.profootballfocus.com/by_position.php?tab=by_position&season=2009&pos=T&stype=r&runpass=&teamid=-1&numsnaps=25&numgames=1

you can sort the columns by whatever you want to see, and change positions on the tabs. i didnt want to get into posting a bunch of numbers when you can view it all organized in one place.
Interesting stuff. Thanks for putting that together.

I agree, there are some suprising results in your analysis and it seems to suggest that the OL can be salvaged over the offseason via training and a few substitutions rather than being blown up and reset from square one, as seemed to be the case early this season.

Does this mean that we don't need to spend heavily in the draft and free agency on the OL? No, there's no getting around the fact that it needs help, lots of help. But your analysis does seem to suggest that if our GM has a good offseason there's reason to suspect that the OL might be competent, maybe even decent next season.

Having said that, I'll also add that I'm generally suspicious of metrics-based analyses in the NFL. Metrics work great in baseball because plays are fairly closed systems that allow a limited amount of noise into the system. Football, on the other hand, represents a much more open system that can very easily be corrupted by noise. A QB that holds the ball too long or cannot scramble from an adequately defended but collapsing pocket can easily skew statistics like these. The same can be said of a QB that flushes too easily, he can make an OL look much better than it really is. And then there is playcalling. For example, our OL looks pitiful when running between the tackles but often looks pretty good when Baas pulls and they sweep right.

Despite those reservations, I think what you have put together is pretty useful and I certainly like the fact that it indicates that there is reason for optimism. Unfortunately that optimism is predicated upon the competence of Scott McCloughan...got any stats on him? ;)
I appreciate the work done with the stats - very interesting. But I am not so sure it proves that the OL has not affected Alex. My eyes tell me that Alex is being forced to throw the ball much sooner than he would like in order to avoid being sacked. I am not sure the stats will measure that metric.
The work you did is great, however the statistics don't tell the full story.

Pashos, Sims, Staley, Wraggle who rank high on your list also had injuries that caused them to miss a lot of games. Stats are great but don't tell the entire story
The stats help get an indication but don't tell everything. The 49ers oline as a whole has been bad and that can be attributed to many factors from the players sucking, to miscommunication between the line, to the Oline coach sucking and OC calling predictable running plays.
This is a great informative post...damn newbs..

you know what would be interesting. i wonder if theres anyway to see the progression guys made through the year. I thought our O line was just balls out terrible early in the season but theyve been playing better..not great but better. i wonder if theres a way to break it down 8 by 8 games.
I'm actually not too surprised by those stats.

What you concluded seems to be right on target for the most part. The one game where the line actually came out and run blocked well was the MNF Arizona game. Other than that, it's been bad to below average.

Pass blocking wise, Snyder has major issues and needs to be replaced. This should be our number one priority in the offseason. I personally don't think they're as solid as a pass blocking group as the statistics suggest.

To me, it's combination of bad o-line blocking scheme and lack of individual talent that's at the root cause of our woes.

-9fA
[ Edited by 9erfanAUS on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:54 AM ]
Originally posted by solidg2000:
How about posting the stats, not just your opinion of them...

Thanks for the job, the one posting has the right to analize and give an opinion, even more he gave us the link for looking up for ourselves.

Anyway we all already knew that RT is a weakness and that our OG can't run block, the statistics just strenghted our case
Originally posted by Thizz415:
The stats help get an indication but don't tell everything. The 49ers oline as a whole has been bad and that can be attributed to many factors from the players sucking, to miscommunication between the line, to the Oline coach sucking and OC calling predictable running plays.

This I agree
obviously these stats are just a representation of how good our OL have been at helping Frank Gore gain yds when a run play is called, and helping protect Alex Smith when a pass play is called.

they dont tell you coaching mistakes that relate to playcalling.

but when smith has dropped back, overall, our line has been fairly solid across the board at pass protection when compared to the rest of the NFL. however, when a run play is called, our OL has been very bad at helping Gore gain yardage when compared to the rest of the NFL's lines.

and think of those half dozen breakaway long runs Gore has had this year....without them the line would look even worse.
  • Kolohe
  • Hall of Fame
  • Posts: 31,115
Never thought I'd EVAR be saying this, but damn I'm liking Barry Sims. Sims at LT is a whole different player from the RT Sims, RT Sims was making Kwame Harris look good. Now LT Sims is looking like the best LT in the NFC West IMO. IMO, its a tough decision at LT.