If you asked Redskins fans how their team’s offensive line performed in 2011, most would say somewhere between “mediocre” and “a danger to the well being of anyone who tried to work behind it”. The unit was not considered to be a strength of the team going in and due to injuries and a suspension they were a patched together unit by the end of the year.
However, the folks at Football Outsiders disagree with the popular wisdom at least when it comes to run blocking. They have the Redskins 2011 line ranked 10th in the NFL.
Go to the page on FO’s site for a full breakdown of how they calculate it but it’s based on yardage gained (or lost) by the running back that are the responsibility of the line. For example, if a running back breaks off a 60-yard run, the line only gets “credit” for the first 10 yards. Other factors including strength of opponents go into the calculation for Adjusted Line Yards.
The Redskins’ ALY per rushing attempt was 4.21. For comparison, the Saints had the best performance here with an average of 4.95 while the Titans were 32nd at 3.39. The Packers were 16th, right in the middle of the pack at 4.06.
The Redskins’ pass blocking performance wasn’t as good but it wasn’t awful either. They ranked 15 with an adjusted sack rate of 6.4 percent. Again, check the article for details but the bottom line is that while the line won’t make anyone forget the ’91 Hogs, Robert Griffin III isn’t going to go running for his life every other time he drops back, either.