Could Nick Cole be the Eagles' Best Pass Blocker This Year?

Nick Cole DeSean Jackson Philadelphia Eagles Pass Blocking 2009

A week ago we looked at negative plays by offensive linemen. Astute reader Dave pointed out in the comments what I neglected to note in the main post: that the numbers skew unfavorably toward teams that pass more than they run.

I went back to the PFF numbers and, while I didn’t go through the whole NFL (yet), I re-ranked the Eagles offensive linemen based on negative pass blocking plays, out of the number of pass plays they were in on (Per Game based on passing every offensive down). That should make things a little more even.

Eagles 2009 Offensive Linemen Pass Blocking Rank

Not a lot of complexity to these numbers, although again I’m surprised that Todd Herremans was actually worse than all but King Dunlap. My anecdotal recall of the line play doesn’t account for this.

Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles both were surprisingly good at pass protection according to this measurement, although they (and Jamaal Jackson) seem to have an advantage from playing on the inside. Based on the compilation last week, either there’s less pressure/mistakes on the centers and guards or its tougher to see when they make mistakes. Of course, Herremans’s numbers suggest that it isn’t all the “inside effect.”

The other caveat remains that the line, at the end of the day, is one unit. Breakdowns in communication probably cause as many protection problems as physical mistakes. So even if Cole looks good at center, if he can’t recognize blitzes or set up everyone else as well as Jackson did, that will have a negative impact on the rest of the line.