First off, I appologize. This is another post related to the draft. However, I do not have any intention of this turning into a mock draft fest. There's a post for people to do that. It's really a question about last season and how we view our team compared to how outside "experts" view our team. I am of the opinion that our offensive line made great strides last year and was playing well by the end of the year. I have, on occasion, been told I was drinking too much Chiefs Kool Aid. Is this another one of those times? Can someone help me understand why experts all over (some who I respect, some who I don't) state that OL is one of our greatest needs? After the break I'll provide the stats that I am basing my opinion on. I'm not doing this to try and sway anyone to my way of thinking. I really want to know if I am biased in my opinion.
The number that I am guessing has everyone thinking our line was terrible last year is the 45 sacks allowed (27th in the league). That's not a good number. However, 30 of those 45 sacks came in the first 8 games. So in the second half of the season we only allowed 15. If we were just able to pick up where we left off and averaged what we allowed in the second half over an entire season that would be 30 sacks allowed. Last year that would of put us tied for 10th in the league. So for the second half of the season last year we were giving up sacks at a rate that would put us in the top third of the league in pass protection.
Next, I would also argue that some of the blame for our sacks allowed fall on Cassel for holding on to the ball too long. A stat that might help back this up is the number of QB hits we allowed. We allowed 85 QB hits (good for 21st in the league, compared to 27th in sacks). 85 sounds like a lot, but not when compared to Jax who finished last in the league in QB hits with 126. There were several other teams that allowed less sacks then us but more QB hits. That tells me that their QBs were better at getting rid of the ball. I think we can all agree that Matt can do a better job in that area.
Finally, the area I feel best about, our run game. Despite suffering through Mr. 2.7 for the first half of the year we finished the season ranked 11th in the league in rushing yards (ahead of teams like Minnesota and Atlanta). Over the last 8 games we rushed for 1,141 yards. If you average that over an entire 16 games that's 2,282 yards, which would of put us 4th in the league last year.
So over the final 8 games we had a run game that was averaging enough yards per game to put us in the top 5 rushing teams in the league and pass protecting at a rate that would put us in the top 10-12 teams. Despite this, we still only won 3 of those 8 games. Was that the offensive line's fault?
Over those same final 8 games our defense gave up about 27.4 PPG. Over an entire season that would of ranked us 31st in the league, behind only the Lions. Doesn't that clearly state that by the end of the year our defense was our glaring weakness?
When you factor all those things in and add to it the fact that we have made multiple FA signings on the offensive side of the ball and only one "project" NT on defense doesn't that point to us going defensive in the draft?
So my question remains, what am I missing? Am I just wrong? Am I just drinking too much of my own team's Kool Aid? If not, how can so many respected experts miss what some putz like me can figure out? I would love to hear your thoughts AP.