As you know the Jets Offensive line has been under fire for most of the season, specifically Wayne Hunter. What was once one of the best units on the team has turned into a liability. One weak link could throw off the entire chemistry of the line (Sorry Wayne Hunter). So when I learned that two of the lineman have been selected to the Pro-Bowl as backups, (Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson) and one has been chosen as a 2nd alternate (Brandon Moore), I kind of had to do a double take. I jumped to a stats site, one of the best online ProFootballFocus.com, to back up my curiosity.
The pro-bowl awards individual performance for the season, so if the Jets o-line as a whole were going to be evaluated, they clearly don’t make it. As individuals, it is a different story.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson LT, Matt Slauson LG, Nick Mangold C, Brandon Moore, RG, Wayne Hunter RT
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that the Jets players have been selected, but if we were so bad, how does this happen? Are Mangold and Ferguson really pro-bowlers this year or did they make it on reputation only?
Mangold, Ferguson make Pro-Bowl
Ferguson, on a conference call with reporters, said it was “interesting” to note that many of the pass rushers he’s faced this season are on the Pro Bowl roster — Andre Carter, Elvis Dumervil, Jason Pierre-Paul and Tamba Hali. It’s a Murderer’s Row of pass rushers. Said Ferguson: “To see those guys as Pro Bowlers, I’m like, ‘Okay, I guess it makes sense.’”
I did a deep dive into the lineman’s stats and I’m convinced it’s by reputation.
On the Jets Squad, Ferguson was the worst at run blocking. He was second on the team with sacks allowed with 8 (Hunter 11) and also second with QB Pressures allowed with 20 (Hunter 28). Helping his cause was that D’Brick was the least penalized lineman in all of football this year getting the flag only once in 15 games.
When I looked at how he ranked amongst all 76 Left Tackles in the game, according to Pro Football Focus (one of the leaders in stats online), he ranked 17. So how does the 17th best left tackle who almost led the Jets in QB pressures and sacks make the pro-bowl?
Well when I looked at the other lineman, most of them have similar stats but the exception was the penalties (holding or false starts). Again D’Brick was one of the best of not receiving the penalties. If I’m judging all the lineman only by these stats (see the chart below), I’m not selecting Ferguson. According to the chart, Jason Peters blows everyone away.
I’m not sure how lineman get selected to the pro-bowl but it’s definitely not because of stats from PFF.
The only explanation of why Ferguson made it was because he faced opponents who were all selected to the pro-bowl as well. This is something that clearly can’t be measured in stats. So my analytic brain will have to come to terms that this is ok.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson - PFF - Click to enlarge
Ferguson Ranked 17 - PFF - Click to enlarge
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Erik Manassy is the author of this blog and a self proclaimed “Die Hard” New York Jets fan.