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NFL pass protection rankings: Why the Bucs and Patriots have league’s best O-lines

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Who’s got your quarterback’s back? And who’s getting your quarterback pummeled?

Even through a six-week NFL sample size, it’s mostly apparent that the team that protects the quarterback one of the best wins essentially the most games.

I emphasize mostly.

I took a dive, with the large assistance of TruMedia, into how every NFL team’s offensive line has performed when it comes to quarterback pressures and sacks allowed. I focused mainly on pressure percentage for teams and individuals as a determining consider who’s protecting or not protecting their respective quarterback well.

(Glossary: PRSR% — pressure percentage allowed; SK PER PRSR% — Rate at which pressure turns right into a sack; PRSRS — total pressures allowed.)

League ranks are in parenthesis.

teamPrsr%Sk per Prsr%Prsrssacks

50.0 (32)

26.7 (28)

86 (25)

16 (29)

46.6 (31)

19.6 (18)

97 (31)

19 (32)

42.2 (30)

19.4 (17)

62 (7)

9 (11)

38.3 (29)

16.3 (12)

92 (29)

10 (14)

36.5 (28)

7.1 (1)

99 (32)

7 (6)

36.5 (27)

11.8 (4)

93 (30)

9 (11)

36.0 (26)

15.6 (9)

90 (27)

16 (29)

33.7 (25)

15.7 (11)

70 (18)

11 (17)

33.5 (24)

26.2 (27)

84 (24)

15 (26)

33.5 (23)

25.8 (26)

89 (26)

17 (30)

33.0 (22)

20.3 (19)

59 (6)

11 (17)

32.8 (21)

10.8 (2)

65 (13)

6 (2)

32.8 (20)

14.1 (6)

64 (9)

7 (6)

32.7 (19)

23.1 (25)

91 (28)

16 (29)

32.4 (18)

14.1 (7)

78 (21)

12 (21)

31.9 (17)

20.9 (21)

67 (15)

12 (21)

31.9 (16)

18.5 (14)

65 (13)

13 (24)

31.5 (15)

26.9 (29)

52 (2)

10 (14)

31.3 (14)

27.8 (30)

72 (19)

15 (26)

30.8 (13)

21.7 (22)

69 (17)

9 (11)

30.4 (12)

15.3 (8)

59 (6)

8 (7)

29.4 (11)

23.1 (25)

65 (13)

12 (21)

29.4 (10)

15.6 (10)

64 (12)

9 (11)

29.2 (9)

11.1 (3)

81 (23)

6 (2)

29.2 (8)

19.1 (15)

68 (16)

12 (21)

29.0 (7)

13.8 (5)

65 (13)

7 (6)

28.8 (6)

32.2 (32)

59 (6)

13 (24)

28.7 (5)

17.3 (13)

81 (23)

13 (24)

28.6 (4)

22.4 (23)

67 (15)

10 (14)

28.0 (3)

29.7 (31)

74 (20)

19 (32)

27.3 (2)

20.8 (20)

53 (3)

11 (17)

18.4 (1)

19.1 (16)

47 (1)

7 (6)

Top 3 overall units

Buccaneers

Tom Brady infamously chewed out his offensive line on the sideline throughout the Bucs’ Week 6 loss to the Steelers. But even amid some significant renovations, Tampa Bay’s front five has allowed the bottom pressure rate within the NFL through Week 6.

Now how much does that need to do with the linemen and the way much does that need to do with Brady’s ability to unload the football quickly? Given Brady’s outburst, he might point to himself as the explanation for the low pressure percentage. The Bucs quarterback yields the fastest “time to throw” rate within the NFL at 2.24 seconds from snap to pass.

That said, right tackle Tristan Wirfs continues to be among the finest of any offensive line slot in pressure percentage allowed. He ranks No. 1 amongst tackles and No. 7 amongst all offensive linemen. Conversely, rookie Luke Goedeke ranks among the many bottom-10 guards in pressure percentage allowed.

Patriots

Each Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe have had a cleaner pocket than most quarterbacks. Jones averages 2.57 seconds to throw, while Zappe averages 2.75 seconds. Zappe’s average is the seventh fastest amongst qualified quarterbacks (min. 60 dropbacks) so Latest England’s offensive line deserves loads of credit.

Guard Mike Onwenu has been outstanding in pass protection, rating as the highest player at his position in pressure rate allowed. Onwenu carried a 3.4-percent pressure rate last season, so his progress is important.

But Trent Brown’s numbers need to be alarming. He only surrendered one sack last season and held a 3.8 percent pressure rate. His numbers have skyrocketed through only six games in 2022.

Bengals

The Bengals look like a complete contradiction. They lead the league in sacks allowed. And yet they’re the third-best team when it comes to pressure percentage allowed? And Joe Burrow unloads the football on the fourth-fastest rate within the league at 2.43 seconds? The sack-per-pressure rate probably tells more of the story. If Burrow receives pressure, he’s more likely than simply about every other quarterback to soak up a sack.

Left tackle Jonah Williams, the one starter remaining from last season, still looks as if the sore spot along the front five with a below-average pressure rate allowed. He’s also tied for second when it comes to most sacks allowed.

On the plus side, guard Alex Cappa and tackle La’el Collins hold above-average pressure rates and guard Cordell Volson holds a virtually average rate. Those results are much better than what Burrow and the Bengals needed to put up with last season.

Bottom 3 overall units

Bears

That is rightfully a storyline for the Bears. But where do you point the blame?

Rookie fifth-round tackle Braxton Jones has struggled in his trial by fire, rating among the many bottom-10 tackles within the NFL in pressure rate allowed. Veteran guard Lucas Patrick has watched his pressure percentage launch from 3.3 percent last season to six.8 percent in 2022. But fellow tackle Larry Borom ranks among the many 10 best tackles when it comes to pressure rate allowed.

Quarterback Justin Fields holds the league’s second-longest time-to-throw average at 2.95 seconds. So how much pressure does he invite on himself?

Giants

It’s pretty remarkable the Giants rank this low and yet are 5-1.

Rookie first-round tackle Evan Neal is the eyesore of the group. He ranks among the many league’s bottom-10 tackles in pressure percentage allowed. Veteran guard Mark Glowinski has actually improved from an 8.1 percent pressure rate last season in Indianapolis. Still, his 5.9 percent rate is well below league average (4.4%). Fellow guard Ben Bredeson, though, ranks among the many top-10 guards in pressure rate.

Quarterback Daniel Jones is very similar to Fields in holding the ball longer than most passers. Jones’ 2.91-second time-to-throw average is the fifth-slowest clip amongst quarterbacks.

Titans

Dennis Daley, whew! He carries the second-worst pressure rate allowed of any qualified offensive lineman. His 12.4 percent rate is greater than double his 2021 rate of 6.0 percent. Daley has struggled in filling in for left tackle Taylor Lewan, who’s out for the season.

Guard Aaron Brewer hasn’t been a complete lot higher. He ranks among the many bottom-10 guards in pressure rate. His percentage has jumped in each of his last two seasons: 3.5 percent in 2020, 5.7 percent in 2021 and eight.1 percent in 2022.

Ryan Tannehill doesn’t hold the ball too long, rating twenty first when it comes to fastest average time to throw (2.62).

Tackle

(Min. 100 pass-block snaps at given position)

Top 10

Average pressure rate allowed by NFL tackle: 5.0%

No surprise to see the Eagles’ Lane Johnson atop this list. His rate was among the many league’s best last 12 months at 1.8 percent. The Bills’ Dion Dawkins has watched his pressure rate improve over the past three seasons: 5.1 percent in 2020, 3.2 percent in 2021 and a couple of.2 percent in 2022. The Texans’ Laremy Tunsil has one of the best rate of his profession through six games. He finished 2020 with a 2.4 percent rate.

The Chargers’ Rashawn Slater was off to a excellent start, improving on his 3.6 percent rate in 2021. But Slater is out for the 12 months with a biceps injury. The Browns’ Jack Conklin and the Falcons’ Jake Matthews are playing as much as their repute. However the Falcons’ Kaleb McGary and the Jaguars’ Jawaan Taylor are on the rise. McGary produced a 6.1 percent rate last season. Taylor’s rates the past three seasons: 8.0 percent in 2020, 4.8 percent in 2021 and three.2 percent in 2022.

Bottom 10

Teams are attacking the Dolphins’ Greg Little with Terron Armstead on the left side. There’s been quite at dropoff from Andrew Whitworth to Joe Noteboom because the Rams’ left tackle. And now Noteboom is out for the season with an Achilles injury. Having two Jets among the many bottom-10 tackles can’t be encouraging with George Fant and Max Mitchell on the list. But hey, they’re 4-2!

The Lions’ Taylor Decker has dipped the last couple of seasons: 3.9 percent in 2020, 5.2 percent in 2021 and seven.5 percent in 2022. The Chiefs’ Andrew Wylie is definitely improved from an 8.5 percent rate last season.

Guards

Top 10

Average pressure rate allowed by NFL guard: 4.4%

The Eagles need to be thrilled with Landon Dickerson’s development in Yr 2. Last season, Dickerson yielded a 6.1 percent rate. Inside pressure doesn’t appear to be the difficulty in Pittsburgh with Kevin Dotson and James Daniels each rating among the many top 10.

The Saints’ Cesar Ruiz has improved the past few seasons: 6.3 percent in 2020, 4.3 percent in 2021 and 1.8 percent in 2022. A gradual uptick for the Packers’ Jon Runyan as well: 3.8 percent in 2020, 3.0 percent in 2021 and 1.9 percent in 2022. The Seahawks’ Damien Lewis has improved by three percentage points in 2022 after posting a 4.9 percent rate in 2021.

Bottom 10

The Cowboys’ Matt Farniok holds the dubious distinction of the worst qualified lineman at any position in terms pressure percentage. He’s typically a reserve, though, so he shouldn’t be a detriment every week. Bobby Evans’ rough Week 4 outing (12.5 rate) didn’t help, but he bounced back in Week 6 with a solid 2.9 percent rate against the Panthers.

It’s becoming a slippery slope for the Seahawks’ Gabe Jackson: 3.3 percent in 2019, 4.0 percent in 2020, 5.7 percent in 2021 and eight.8 percent in 2022. A troublesome start for 3 rookies on this list: the Bucs’ Goedeke, the Vikings’ Ed Ingram and the Texans’ Kenyon Green.

Centers

Top 5

Average pressure rate allowed by NFL center: 3.0%

The 49ers’ Jake Brendel needs to be a pleasing surprise given he’s replacing perennial Pro Bowler Alex Mack, who retired after last season. And the Eagles’ Jason Kelce went from average to superb after posting a 3.0 percent rate in 2021.

Bottom 5

Brian Allen is often the Rams’ starting center, but he’s been sidelined with a knee injury. Los Angeles likely hopes he’ll return soon since a ten percent rate for a middle is nearly unheard of, in a negative way.

(Photo: Jim Dedmon / USA Today)

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