Most New York Jets fans know that the Jets have an elite run-blocking offensive line, which is a key part of what they do well on offense.
But to call them a good run-blocking line might be selling them short, even if it is their specialty.
No team, no matter how well they run the football, can win consistently by being one dimensional. The Jets are fortunate that they also have an offensive line with elite pass blockers, which help give young quarterback Mark Sanchez the protection he needs.
Pro Football Focus, a favorite of us here at Jets Report, ranked the efficiency of individual pass blockers for the 2010 season to see who is getting the job done and who isn’t.
First, they looked at left and right tackles, and Jets fans should be happy to see that D’Brickashaw Ferguson was rated as the third-best left tackle in the game this past season, behind only Miami’s Jake Long and Cincinnati’s Andrew Whitworth.
The author of the post, Khaled Elsayed wrote a little bit about how important it is for Sanchez to have a guy like that protecting his blind side, especially since his quality of play improves dramatically when he is free of pocket pressure.
Mark Sanchez is exceptionally happy to have a player like D’Brickashaw Ferguson keeping him safe. We’ve chronicled in the past about how Sanchez has struggled when pressured, and prototypical left tackle Ferguson is determined to limit those situations.
Meanwhile, right tackle Damien Woody was no slouch himself. The free agent to be was the fifth-ranked right tackle in their pass blocking efficiency ratings last season, which proves once again that when he’s healthy he’s one of the best tackles in the game.
His importance to the Jets cannot be overstated, especially when you look at the performance of his back-up, Wayne Hunter, who filled in when Woody injured his leg at the end of the season.
Hunter was fourth from the bottom among all NFL right tackles, and second-worst in the AFC. It’s safe to say that if the Jets for some reason have to turn to Hunter again for an extended period in time, they’ll be in big trouble.
Elsayed followed up on this with another piece in which he looks at the interior linemen, the guards and centers.
Brandon Moore may very well be the best player in the NFL at any position who’s never been named to a Pro Bowl. Wildly viewed as one of the elite run blocking linemen in the league, the Jets’ right guard was outstanding in pass protection this past season, where he was second overall.
Brandon Moore of the Jets … had a quite remarkable last six games of the season (including the playoffs). In those games, he gave up just the a solitary pressure as he was a key cog in the Jets formidable offensive line.
Not too shabby. However, first-year starter Matt Slauson on the other hand is not quite there yet. Slauson was ranked as the 20th-worst in the NFL at pass blocking, although he did deal with injuries and stands to get better as his career goes on.
Meanwhile, All-Pro center Nick Mangold also dealt with a injury that limited his effectiveness, as he wasn’t exactly as dominant as Jets fans have become accustomed to over the year. He was ranked sixth among all centers, but that didn’t stop Elsayed from signing his praises.
Nick Mangold … may be the best center of this generation, but finished ‘only’ sixth in this look (though how much of that can be put down to injury we’ll leave to your judgment).
All in all, it’s pretty impressive that the Jets have four linemen (assuming Woody returns) who were among the elite pass blockers in the game last season.
Up next, PFF is going to look at the last three years worth of data instead of just 2010, which I can’t wait to see. I have a feeling that the Jets’ big four will do pretty well again in those rankings.