More Evidence That The Bengals Pass Protection Was Decent

CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with Andrew Whitworth #77 and Anthony Collins #73 after scoring a touchdown during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bengals 34-20. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Perhaps this can go out to all of the non-believers -- the people so concrete in their thinking, convinced of their past experiences that evolution of such ideas is blasphemy. Self-constructed concrete barriers for the win! This week Pro Football Focus has taken on the task of figuring out the best pass protection teams in 2010, incorporating variables such as pressures allowed per play, percentage of pressures that result with quarterback sacks, and the average number of pass blockers. It's more than just about quarterback sacks. Pressures that are converted for quarterback sacks is telling because it shows how well the offensive line picks up the blitz and how well the quarterback recognizes where the pressure is coming from. Average number of pass blockers is important for the obvious reason that additional blockers increases the chance of neutralizing the pass rush.

Yet, speaking simply on quarterback sacks alone, the Bengals are often well enough to be deserved of recognition. During five of the past seven seasons, the Bengals ranked inside the top-ten with fewest sacks allowed; twice ranking number two.

Season Sacks Allowed Rank
2010 28 t-8th
2009 29 9th
2008 51 30th
2007 17 2nd
2006 36 19th
2005 21 2nd
2004 31 t-7th

We're not afraid to say it. A lot of this has to do with Carson Palmer quickly releasing the football, even when factoring that Palmer was one of the least pressured quarterbacks in the league last season.

Pro Football Focus took all of the information they promoted this week with pass protection variables and gave the Bengals a grade of 1.52. That's tenth best in the NFL.

The Bengals are a real mixed bag. They got excellent play out of Andrew Whitworth and Bobbie Williams, and poor play out of Andre Smith, Dennis Roland and Nate Livings. What’s more, they really messed about with their line, with Anthony Collins becoming the league’s only third down right tackle for a time. He was a massive upgrade on Smith and Roland, but yet was rarely given a proper opportunity to establish himself. We wrote similar things about the Bengals last year. A good unit, but given the talent they have, it should have been better with a quarterback who has a good feel for avoiding sacks.

Pressure Per Play Rank: 11th

Sack % of Pressure Rank: 7th

Average Number of Blockers Per Play Rank: 13th

Most of this you know. We've talked a lot about how Andrew Whitworth is one of the best left tackles in the game and that Bobbie Williams is perhaps the best pass blocking offensive guard today. We've also mentioned multiple times that Anthony Collins has been jobbed more times than not and he should be the starting right tackle.

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