The subject of Howard's improved pass blocking play has come up. This was a major complaint last year as "he sucks" and "turnstile" were phrases bandied about with disdain, with little hope for improvement. So I looked him up on PFF which keeps pass blocking stats that weight QB pressures and QB hits along with sacks (.75, .75 to 1.00) and produce a Pass Blocking Efficiency Score. Now such scores are probably ballpark scores because sack attribution can be a little iffy because you need to know the protection, and the Jet running backs have been quite poor, but it was pretty surprising to see that he was the 3rd best PBE right tackle in football with only Denver's Orlando Franklin and New Orleans Zack Strief ahead of him. There is much of the season to go, but wow.
As I wrote in the thread it could be that the addition of Colon has meant a lot to protection on that side. I was one of those who thought it was pretty dumb to let Moore go (apparently is back was a problem though), but having Colon next to him seemed to be the biggest change for Howard (and perhaps the Offensive Line coach). So I thought to take a look at Offensive Line pairs. What teams had a right guard and a right tackle with a better combined PBE than these two? Well, it turns out, if I did my breakdown right, only three teams did.
There could completely be error in this as I don't know the lines of all the teams, and players do switch positions during the season. I combed through the list as best I could. I used the 50% of snaps data picture of PFF, and a blended tackles and guards together. If anyone wants to double check me here is a spread sheet of the combined PBEs for the league. As expected guards do better than tackles in this. If you see a better right guard and tackle pair let me know and I'll amend the post.
What is really surprising - or maybe thought-provoking - is that the three team pairs above the Jets have some of the best QBs in the league, and excellent protection all around. We know that Geno has been holding the ball and eating sacks at a pretty high rate. This would suggest that the Jet pass blocking right side has actually been doing even better than the stats say. Below can be seen the sack frequency rating of teams. The Jets are the 3rd worse in the league, right behind Miami, averaging a sack once every 9 pass attempts. Highlighted are the other three teams which are among the best in protecting their QB overall.
Some might want to point the blame somewhere. Ferguson has been less than stellar, and probably a lot has to do with having to protect first Ducasse who was quite bad in protection, and then work with Winters who was very green to the position. And then yes, not only can our running backs not catch the ball they are pretty poor at pass blocking. But because this year is about the potential of next year I say this is a sign of good things. Once Geno settles down it looks like the right side of the line has a chance to be a little more than decent in blocking the pass rush. We'll wait for the year to finish out and see where we are, but at this point it is something to celebrate.
As usual, these are hand collected stats and there is the possibility of error.