On commiting to the offensive line, Part Two

In Part One of this series, we saw that when a team commits to rebuilding its offensive line, good things can happen.

Now we’ll see what can happen to a team which does not make a commitment to its o-line.

Since the year 2000, the Tennessee Titans have selected 41 players in the first three rounds of the draft.  Only one of those 41 players was an offensive lineman (Michael Roos, second round, 2005.)  To phrase that in a slightly different way, the Titans have committed only 2% of their top resources to address that position group.

The results of the Titans’ repeated and continuous neglect of the line can be seen in the charts following the jump.

These rankings are by Adjusted Line Yards from Football Outsiders, which measure o-line run blocking.

10-year Football Outsiders run-blocking rankings (Adjusted Line Yards)
Rank 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
1 DEN MIN NYJ IND SD NE DEN MIA NE NO
2 MIN GB IND KC JAC CLE NYJ NO JAC NE
3 OAK KC KC DEN PHI NYG NE DAL NYJ PIT
 4 WAS PHI PIT CIN NYG IND NYG BAL HOU HOU
 5 KC IND NE WAS IND PHI WAS NE KC CAR
 6 JAC BAL ATL SEA SF TB NO DEN NO BAL
 7 MIA JAC SEA ATL CHI NO SF PHI NYG NYJ
 8 BUF SF DEN HOU STL HOU CAR NYJ ATL SD
 9 SF DEN MIN SD CIN ARI ATL GB BAL DAL
10 CIN OAK STL NYG DAL CIN HOU ATL PHI WAS
11 GB SEA NYG MIA NO TEN BAL JAC MIN DEN
12 NE CAR BAL PIT NE SF MIN BUF DAL BUF
13 PHI WAS GB CAR MIN MIN BUF NYG SF JAC
14 BAL TB TEN DET WAS DAL DAL PIT SD OAK
15 ATL NYJ PHI CHI KC DEN TEN HOU OAK ARI
16 TEN SD SD BUF GB OAK JAC ARI MIA GB
17 SD NO WAS OAK ATL WAS GB CAR CLE MIA
18 NYG BUF CIN TB DEN JAC SD SD CIN MIN
19 ARI CLE HOU NO HOU CAR CLE CHI PIT SEA
20 SEA ATL TB TEN BAL PIT PHI MIN BUF CIN
21 PIT CIN OAK NYJ MIA MIA MIA CLE ARI SF
22 NYJ NE DET DAL PIT DET TB TEN IND TB
23 CLE NYG BUF STL ARI NYJ IND OAK GB CLE
24 NO CHI CAR CLE CAR BUF PIT CIN WAS CHI
25 TB DAL JAC PHI NYJ SD CHI WAS TB IND
26 CHI PIT DAL NE BUF GB OAK IND STL PHI
27 STL STL NO JAC TB BAL SEA SEA CAR ATL
28 IND MIA CHI BAL TEN STL STL STL SEA NYG
29 CAR HOU ARI SF OAK SEA KC DET CHI KC
30 DET TEN CLE GB SEA CHI ARI KC DEN STL
31 DAL ARI SF MIN CLE KC DET TB TEN DET
32 HOU DET MIA ARI DET ATL CIN SF DET TEN

That should clearly illustrate that the Titans have not had a top ten run-blocking line for the last ten years.  Five times they were mediocre, middle of the road.  Five times they were in the bottom tier.  Disturbingly, they’ve been in the bottom ranks three years in a row, including 31st two years ago and worst in the league last year.

Next are the rankings in a different format, where you can see where each team ranked for each of the last ten years.  This chart is sorted by best (highest average ten-year ranking) to worst.

10-year Football Outsiders run-blocking rankings (Adjusted Line Yards)
Rank Team Avg Rk 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
 1 NE  8.9 12 22  5 26 12  1  3  5  1  2
 2 DEN 10.2  1  9  8  3 18 15  1  6 30 11
 3 NO 12.0 24 17 27 19 11  7  6  2  6  1
 4 NYG 12.1 18 23 11 10  4  3  4 13  7 28
 5 NYJ 12.7 22 15  1 21 25 23  2  8  3  7
 6 JAC 12.7  6  7 25 27  2 18 16 11  2 13
 7 PHI 12.8 13  4 15 25  3  5 20  7 10 26
 8 MIN 13.0  2  1  9 31 13 13 12 20 11 18
 9 WAS 13.4  4 13 17  5 14 17  5 25 24 10
10 BAL 13.7 14  6 12 28 20 27 11  4  9  6
11 IND 14.1 28  5  2  1  5  4 23 26 22 25
12 SD 14.2 17 16 16  9  1 25 18 18 14  8
13 HOU 14.8 32 29 19  8 19  8 10 15  4  4
14 ATL 15.1 15 20  6  7 17 32  9 10  8 27
15 KC 15.2  5  3  3  2 15 31 29 30  5 29
16 GB 16.3 11  2 13 30 16 26 17  9 23 16
17 PIT 16.5 21 26  4 12 22 20 24 14 19  3
18 DAL 16.6 31 25 26 22 10 14 14  3 12  9
19 CIN 16.6 10 21 18  4  9 10 32 24 18 20
20 SF 16.8  9  8 31 29  6 12  7 32 13 21
21 BUF 17.2  8 18 23 16 26 24 13 12 20 12
22 OAK 17.4  3 10 21 17 29 16 26 23 15 14
23 MIA 17.5  7 28 32 11 21 21 21  1 16 17
24 CAR 17.8 29 12 24 13 24 19  8 17 27  5
25 SEA 20.4 20 11  7  6 30 29 27 27 28 19
26 CLE 20.9 23 19 30 24 31  2 19 21 17 23
27 TB 21.0 25 14 20 18 27  6 22 31 25 22
28 TEN 21.9 16 30 14 20 28 11 15 22 31 32
29 ARI 22.5 19 31 29 32 23  9 30 16 21 15
30 CHI 22.7 26 24 28 15  7 30 25 19 29 24
31 STL 23.5 27 27 10 23  8 28 28 28 26 30
32 DET 27.5 30 32 22 14 32 22 31 29 32 31

I also ran two additional sorts, in five year increments, 2002-06 and 2007-11.  After looking at the two charts above, you won’t be surprised by the Titans’ rankings in either of the five-year windows.

2002-2006 Football Outsiders run-blocking rankings
Rank Team Avg Rk 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
 1 KC  5.6  5  3  3  2 15
 2 DEN  7.8  1  9  8  3 18
 3 IND  8.2 28  5  2  1  5
 4 WAS 10.6  4 13 17  5 14
 5 MIN 11.2  2  1  9 31 13
28 TEN 21.6 16 30 14 20 28
29 DAL 22.8 31 25 26 22 10
30 CLE 25.4 23 19 30 24 31
31 DET 26.0 30 32 22 14 32
32 ARI 26.8 19 31 29 32 23

 

2007-2011 Football Outsiders run-blocking rankings
Rank Team Avg Rk 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
 1 NE  2.4  1  3  5  1  2
 2 NO  4.4  7  6  2  6  1
 3 HOU  8.2  8 10 15  4  4
 4 NYJ  8.6 23  2  8  3  7
 5 DAL 10.4 14 14  3 12  9
27 TEN 22.2 11 15 22 31 32
28 KC 24.8 31 29 30  5 29
29 CHI 25.4 30 25 19 29 24
30 SEA 26.0 29 27 27 28 19
31 STL 28.0 28 28 28 26 30
32 DET 29.0 22 31 29 32 31


There you have it.  The Titans have been one of the worst run-blocking teams in the league for the last ten years.  They haven’t drafted offensive linemen in the first three rounds and they haven’t been able to coach up the ones they drafted in later rounds, as Tom wrote here.

I’ll have more to follow in the next article in this series.

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