You know, I hate to keep hammering on the series that Pro Football Focus is doing on pass blocking, but it flies so directly in the face of what I and so many others said about the Minnesota offensive line during the course of the season that I can't help but do it. It's got a Rosemary's Baby sort of appeal. . .I just can't look away from it.
Today the folks at PFF have started getting into individual pass blocking numbers, starting with offensive tackles. Now, I know what you're thinking. . ."Okay, how awful were Bryant McKinnie and Phil Loadholt, exactly?" The answer is "not nearly as bad as we all think they were."
The formula that PFF uses to compute their "Pass Blocking Efficiency" looks like this:
((Sacks + (0.75 * Hits) + (0.75 * Hurries)) / Pass Pro Snaps) * 100
So, starting over on the left side with Bryant McKinnie, PFF gives him a Pass Blocking Efficiency rating of 4.57 (lower numbers are better, in this case). That puts him in the top ten in left offensive tackles in the NFL, tying him with Chad Clifton. . .who, if you buy into the stupid, non-sensical list that the NFL Network has been running for the past couple of months, is one of the top 100 players at any position in the NFL. Don't get me wrong, we know that McKinnie gets beat. . .and usually when he gets beaten, he gets beaten badly (see also: Corey Wootton damn near decapitating Brett Favre during last year's game at TCF Bank Stadium), but most of the time he's actually not that bad.
Now it's entirely possible that you're saying to yourself, "Okay, so McKinnie might not be terrible. . .but Phil Loadholt was a disaster, wasn't he?" Well. . .not really. His PBE in 2010 was 5.14, which puts him at 14th, or in the top half of offensive right tackles in the NFL. Given that Loadholt suffered a pretty serious shoulder injury at the end of 2009, played through it, had surgery in the off-season and wasn't able to lift weights until a week or so before 2010's training camp got started, his drop-off in performance from a pretty good rookie season is understandable. As long as he doesn't suffer anything significant this off-season or anything, I would expect the 2011 Loadholt to be closer to the 2009 version than the 2010 version.
Tomorrow, PFF is going to bring us the interior lineman rankings. . .and I'm afraid that this is where it could start getting a bit ugly for our favorite team.