The Houston Texans were worst in the league in giving up sacks in 2018, and although the offensive line does need to improve, coach Bill O’Brien has been quick to point out the problem goes beyond that.
While offensive linemen are judged by the number of sacks allowed, NFL Next Gen Stats has a newer metric that helps measure how each individual lineman performed, called pass-block win rates.
The metric measures what percentage of the time a player has held a block for 2.5 seconds after the snap, which is the average time it takes a quarterback to get rid of the ball. Last season, center Nick Martin had the highest score relative to his position of the Texans linemen to play a significant number of snaps. Martin held his block for 2.5 seconds or longer 83 percent of the time. The league average for centers is 79 percent. Tackle Julien Davenport (82 percent) and guard Senio Kelemete (83 percent) finished higher than average for their positions. Rookie Martinas Rankin, who filled in for an injured Seantrel Henderson in 2018 and probably will primarily play guard going forward, had a pass-block win rate of 78 percent.
Outside of backup center/guard Greg Mancz, the offensive linemen were around the average for their position. As a team during the regular season, the Texans ranked 16th in pass-block win rate.cheap nike nfl jerseys china
This doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement for the offensive line — it was certainly still an area of weakness — but it shows there might be another reason that quarterback Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times in 2018. Watson’s average time to throw last season was 3.01 seconds, which ranked third worst among passer rating qualified passers. This shows that at least part of the time, the reason Watson is under pressure is because he’s holding on to the ball for too long.
Of course, one of the reasons Watson has had so much success — throwing 45 touchdown passes in 23 career games — is because by holding on to the ball and extending plays, he can also make some incredible things happen, especially after a play has broken down.cheap nfl jerseys china nike
“Sometimes, I could get rid of the ball. I guess it depends on the situation,” Watson said. “But I tell everyone, and OB [O’Brien] tells everyone, too: As long as I’m in the game and I have the ball in my hands, the play is never over until it’s over.
“I mean, there are times where you can say I held it on and you can say the ball could have got out quicker [or] you could say if I would have got out of that sack and made a play, then he didn’t hold the ball too long. So I guess it depends on what the results are.”