Based on some of the basic stats, the Washington Redskins' offensive line appears rather solid this season. Pro Football Focus disagrees.
Before getting into PFF's assesment, here are some numbers through four games.
- Sacks - Washington has allowed five. Only three NFL teams have surrendered fewer.
- Yards per carry - The Redskins are averaging 4.4 on 126 attempts. That's tied for third among all teams.
- Time of possession - Washington leads the NFL with an average of 36 per game.
Not all of this is about the starting tackles, guards and center, but typically good OL play benefits the skill players more than the other way around. The running game numbers are down over the last two games when left guard Shawn Lauvao suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 3. Still, those first two games count. The unit largely kept quarterback Kirk Cousins upright Sunday against the Eagles throughtout the game on the game-winning 90-yard drive. Overall, seems like a steady job with room for growth as kids Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses and Spencer Long develop.
All of this comes up because PFF ranked all 32 offensive lines after four games. Washington finished 31st.
31. Washington Redskins (12th)
Pass blocking rank: 26th
Run blocking rank: 32nd
Penalties rank: 28th
Stud: As always seems to be the case, it’s Trent Williams (+4.4). The former first rounder is the team’s best offensive lineman by a distance, and has allowed just five hurries all year.
Dud: Just what has happened to center Kory Lichtensteiger (-25.0)? He was impressive enough last year, earning a positive grade, but he’s performed as badly as any lineman in the league.
Summary: While the team would have been hoping for more of an instant impact from Brandon Scherff, the real issue has been at the aforementioned center spot. Simply put, your center should not have given up 13 quarterback disruptions after four games, when he gave up just 16 total in 2014.
- PFF is an interesting tool and one that's worthy of discussion. We've shared their data throughout the season. PFF ranked defensive lineman Chris Baker best on the team just before the Redskins inserted him into the starting lineup. But...this seems rather outrageous. I'll let others breakdown every play on film and decipher which lineman gets credit or blame. Based on watching in real time and in review, this rating seems harsh. Lichtensteiger is not playing up to previous levels. Considering sketchy situations in Indianapolis, Philadelphia and elsewhere, framing as one of the worst performing lineman in the league seems a bit much. As for Scherff, maybe I'm viewing this from the angle that he's a rookie and the future appears bright, but it seems like he's made a positive impact already. Hmmm. Look, ratings are somewhat subjectve. How one defines hurries or other categories could differ from another's point of view. Lots of what PFF rates works with my football sensibilities. This does not, though I admit to not watching every play of every team. Do the Redskins need to upgrade the line in spots, yes. Is the unit 31st in the league? Seems unlikely.
- By the way, PFF ranks Atlanta first. The Falcons and Redskins meet Sunday.