Recently, ProFootballFocus has used their unique statistics to give insight to the "pass blocking efficiency" of tackles and guards and centers. If you missed it, beloved rookie Trent Williams and oft-maligned vet Stephon Heyer showed up in the bottom 20 of the tackle rankings. Lets look at how the Redskins big uglies on the inside fared after the jump.
The statistic they're using here is defined as:
((Sacks + (0.75 * Hits) + (0.75 * Hurries)) / Pass Pro Snaps) * 100
So it's simply an average of how many pressures a lineman gives up per pass-protection snap. The key here, and the most subjective part of the statistic, is that it relies upon PFF's film analysis, which we can't see or judge for ourselves. So basically, we just have to take their word for it. But it is what it is.
First, what we're all expecting: 2 Redskins showed up in the bottom 20 for the guards. Artis Hicks rang in at 10th worst and Kory Lichtensteiger was close behind at 12th worst. I don't think anyone expected these guys to come in and dominate, but Hicks definitely left quite a bit to be desired on the right side where he was eventually replaced. Licht struggled for much of the season after replacing Derrick Dockery on the left, but he eventually settled in and played better football as the season went along. It should also be said that Licht was a center in college and drafted to play center, and may have been uncomfortable at first playing guard with a new group. Cohesiveness and a solid rapport are necessary for O-linemen more than any other position, and we saw more of this towards the end of the year.
To illustrate this point, Will Montgomery is ranked the 10th best guard according to their pass-blocking efficiency metric. Montgomery came in when Hicks went down with an injury, and played well enough to remain in the starting lineup for the latter portion of the season. Our line was playing better then, and Montgomery was obviously part of the reason for that.
Notably absent from the top-20 and bottom-20 lists for centers is Casey Rabach, which is surprising because he appeared to be a turnstile with shoulder pads for much of the season. So lets try to wrap our heads around this: According to PFF, Rabach was a more efficient pass-blocker than the Steeler's rookie sensation Maurkice Pouncey, who checked in at 4th WORST.
Also interesting is where potential free-agent guard Davin Joseph ranks. Many here on HogsHaven have expressed interest in bringing him in if/when free agency begins (including the author). He appears on PFF as the 4th worst pass blocking guard in the NFL. So, in the passing game at least, he wouldn't be an improvement over any of Hicks, Monty or Licht.