A statistical look at the impact of the lines

I originally wrote this as a reply in Tiller's "Bang for your Buck" thread, but I decided it deserved a FanPost.


This year, the Eagles were the only NFC East team to go to the playoffs. The Giants went 9-7. The Cowboys had the same record as the Redskins. Everyone can agree that these teams are infinitely more talented at the skill positions than the Redskins. Why?

Their lines weren't good.

Bulking up the lines makes a whole team better. A better offensive line turns a 3 yards per carry back into a 5 or 6 yards per carry back. A better offensive line turns 2 seconds to throw into 4 or more, which directly contributes to fewer QB fumbles and interceptions.

On Defense, a bigger line and faster, stronger linebackers closes running lanes. A bigger line puts pressure on the QB, forcing bad throws and interceptions. A bigger line can get to the QB and produce sacks, fumbles, and force incompletions or even interceptions.

Let me ask you something: Which two teams led the league in regular season sacks? Pittsburgh and Green Bay, with 48 and 47, respectively. Nothing much, just the two teams that went to the super bowl. The same two teams also were in the top 5 for interceptions and Pittsburgh was second in the league in Forced Fumbles with 28. Even Detroit, whose corners are significantly worse than the Redskins', produced 14 interceptions. They also forced 3 more fumbles than the Redskins did. However, Detroit ranks 6th in total sacks produced, with 44. It is clear that pressure on the QB and  turnovers are directly related.

So to recap, a better offensive line directly influences offensive turnovers and production. A better defensive line means more defensive takeaways and less yards allowed.

I am not saying that the lines are the only important position on the team. I am saying however, that they are the most important. A whole draft of nothing but linemen and linebackers would do the Redskins wonders. I would guarantee it, but that would be silly because it will never happen.





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