Raiders' Backs Are Way Better at Pass Blocking Than the Linemen

Over the past week or so we've been looking at the Raiders' pass blocking using the advanced stats provided by Pro Football Focus. The stats have have really gone to solidify what was plainly obvious: the Raiders offensive linemen are not at all good at that pass blocking thing. We also got some solid numbers showing that the Raiders left more blockers in per pass play than any other team. Again, that was not that surprising. And we caught wind that the Raiders backs did a solid job of blocking.

So, let's take a look at the last piece of the blocking analysis: The effectiveness of the backs pass blocking—after the jump....

In 2010, Darren McFadden stayed in to pass block on 158 plays. That was the second most for backs in the NFL. PFF then rated the top 15 backs in pass blocking efficiency (PBE) based on the amount of pressures they allowed per blocking snap. Only backs with at least 60 snaps spent blocking qualified.

Of his 158 snaps spent blocking Darren McFadden allowed  only eight QB pressures. That was good for a 3.8 pass blocking efficiency percentage and 11th in the NFL.

They then threw in the the pass blocking efficiency numbers for backs over the last three seasons. Michael Bush came in at 3.13. That was good for 5th best in the NFL. McFadden came in at 4.37 and was 15th.

Bush wasn't on the 2010 list, which means he either didn't have 60 pass blocking attempts or he didn't keep up his outstanding efficiency. I'd suspect that he got to 60 given the Raiders high percentage of plays leaving in extra blockers, but it's hard to believe he'd drop off that far. Either way, given these outstanding blocking numbers we know that Bush is an elite pass blocking back.

What also caught my is that this is just another way that McFadden drastically improved in 2010. McFadden's three year total was 229 pass block plays. That means in '08-'09 McFadden only stayed in to pass block 71 times, and he gave up five QB pressures. That is a seven percent PBE. That is a stunning improvement. And that seven percent would put McFadden among the league Marcel Reece.

Reece gave up five QB pressures on 74 pass blocking plays. That gave him the 15th worst PBE at 5.74 percent. That number is really not that surprising give Reece's inexperience in the backfield. 

Pass blocking is more about recognition than it is physical pass blocking ability. It is no surprise that Reece is still very much a work in progress. Reece's most effective pass blocking is when he splits out wide and stretches the defense.

What really surprised was that among the 15 worst over the past three seasons was Justin Fargas. Fargas' PBE was at 6.39 and that made him the 12th worst pass blocking back over the past three seasons. Wasn't that what Tom Cable kept telling us was the most irreplaceable aspect of Fargas' game?

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