Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cowboys’ Offensive Line Ranks High According to Stats

by Matt Cordon on November 14, 2009

I am not sure how long it has been on there, but one of the stat features at allows user to sort though offensive line statistics. Some of this is interesting, but it is tough to gauge what the data means. According to the numbers, the Cowboys at least rank in the top half of most of the categories.
Here's a did-you-know: the Cowboys have the most experienced line in the NFL. The five starting linemen have started a total of 545 games, most in the NFL. The Jets are second with 520 games. The lowest-ranked team is Buffalo, as the line for the Bills has started a total of just 61 games.
Other numbers for the Cowboys (NFL rank in parentheses):

Total rushing yards: 1,109 (8th)

Attempts: 216 (16th)

Rushing average: 5.1 (2nd)

TDs: 9 (9th)

1st downs:
Left: 26 (1st)
Center: 18 (7th)
Right: 16 (16th)

Negative rushes:
Left: 6 (9th)
Center: 12 (31st)
Right: 3 (1st)

Rushes of 10 or more yards:
Left: 17 (3rd)
Center: 10 (4th)
Right: 11 (14th)

Rushing Power
Note: Defined as "Percentage of rushes on 3rd or 4th down with 2 or fewer yards to go that achieved a first down or TD. Also includes rushes on 1st-and-goal and 2nd-and-goal from the opponent's 2-yard line or closer."
Left: 67% (14th)
Center: 56% (22nd)
Right: 100% (1st)

Sacks Allowed: 17 (15th)

QB Hits: 39 (17th)

Just a few ideas to throw out regarding these numbers and other observations:

(1) There appears to be a greater risk-reward for the Cowboys in terms of running up the middle compared with other teams. The Cowboys have lost yardage up the middle on 12 plays this season, but the team also has 10 runs of greater than 10 yards up the middle. By comparison, the Colts have no negative rushes up the middle but also only have five plays of 10+ yards up the gut.

(2) Overall, the Cowboys are more likely to break big plays on the ground than most NFL teams, and many of these runs are to the left with Leonard Davis pulling from right guard. Dallas has a total of nine runs of 20 or more yards, which is the third most in the NFL.

(3) A total of 27.8% of the Cowboys' runs have been for first downs, which is second in the league. The Cowboys are more likely to rush for a first down by going left or right rather than up the middle.

(4) The Cowboys are not likely to lead the league in rushing, given that the Jets average 177.6 yards per game compared with the Cowboys 138.6. I think the team can thank the emergence of Miles Austin for this, given that the team's passing game has been revived in the past month.