It’s no secret that the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive line was lacking in 2012. It was a rough season for Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne under center. Things like this happen to bad teams on occasion. We need look no further than the Arizona Cardinals to see just how terrible a season can become due to poor offensive line play. The 2-14 Jaguars just didn’t get a chance to win four games early like the Cardinals did.
In looking at the problem we can see if the quarterback or the offensive line was at fault. Well, more importantly, Pro Football Focus can look at the numbers and give us what they perceive as accurate from their well trained eyes. Gabbert and Henne were sacked 22 and 28 times, respectively. We’ve had a field day suggesting that the quarterback play could be better. We’ve looked at the best numbers available as to how the quarterback does better with more time. The truth is, however, that the team just wasn’t that good at protecting their quarterback…and according to numbers from Neil Hornsby of PFF, most of those sacks are on players not under center.
Gabbert and Henne accounted for all of one sack and one pressure on themselves all season long. In 705 dropbacks Jaguar quarterbacks actually outperformed many others…by not harming themselves. Henne is the only quarterback with 300+ attempts who, according to PFF, didn’t get sacked, hit, or pressured because of himself. Hornsby notes that this is in no way a “positive” indicator of quarterback play as some players at the top of the list may hold onto the ball longer to make something happen. So, Horsby took a look at the small sample size that is quarterback play when holding onto the ball for four seconds.
Blaine Gabbert landed at ninth in “rating per dropback.” Chad Henne landed at 21, just below the NFL average.
We’ve made excuses in the past about how the team has problems and how this is so much bigger than just the quarterbacks. As the offensive line has improved this offseason, I think we’ll see better quarterback play. There’s no way that Gabbert and Henne are able to hold onto the ball for more than four seconds on every dropback, but with some better play perhaps they can become those guys that make something happen.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims