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Oakland Raiders Offensive Line Was Allergic to Pass Protection

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If you watched more than a quarter of Oakland Raiders football last season you don't need any stats, experts, or anything else to tell you that the Raiders pass protection was garbage, and I mean that as no disrespect to garbage. But, I am a stat guy, and it is always nice to see breakdowns of players and teams performances in numbers. It helps form complete opinions and identify the root of the problems. When it comes to the offensive line this is a luxury we are not accustomed to seeing.

Well, thanks to ProFootballFocus.com, we have some numbers to consider. PFF broke down just about every aspect of pass protection possible. We'll get into each category, but just to start you off with the not surprising news that the Raiders rated 30th in pass protection proficiency. This was actually an improvement on 2009's 32nd ranking—baby steps. Jump over for the breakdowns....

To start off with, PFF broke down the percentage of pass plays that a team allowed the QB to be pressured. The Raiders were 29th by allowing pressure on 45.32 percent of their pass plays.

PFF doesn't stop there. They break it down to where the pressure came from. The Raiders were 28th in pressures allowed from the offensive line, eighth from the skilled position and ninth in QB invited pressures. In other words, the QB being under pressure was almost exclusively the fault of the offensive line.

When it comes to keeping pressures at just pressure and not sacks the majority of the responsibility is with the QBs. In this area the Raiders ranked 20th by allowing 15.94 percent of pressures to turn into sacks.

The next thing PFF measured was the number of players used per pass play to stay in and help protect the passer. The Raiders averaged 5.88 blockers per pass play, which is the most in the league. That also makes the amount of pressure and sacks the Raiders allowed all the more disturbing.

Anyway you slice it the Raiders linemen really sucked at pass blocking. The offensive system doesn't help. The Raiders run lots of deep routes and deep drops that require the linemen to block for a longer period of time.

And all of that leads to the Raiders being ranked 30th in pass protection. They were ahead of Chicago and Pittsburgh, which tells everyone that teams can succeed with bad pass protection.

Here is their summary:

By leaving in more men than any others to pass block, the Raiders recognized their problems.  Unfortunately, though the skill players didn’t do a bad job of helping, they couldn’t overcome the woes of the offensive linemen. Only part timer Mario Henderson earned a positive grade, with the tackles Jared Veldheer (-13.7) and Langston Walker (-14.7) struggling big time. You can place some of the blame on Jason Campbell for not getting rid of the ball (three sacks attributed to him), but, big picture, there was a lot of pressure to deal with and he did well to not allow more of it to turn to sacks.

Before anyone reads too much into Mario Henderson's positive pass grade, it should be mentioned that PFF singled him out for being the worst pass blocking LT in the NFL in 2009.