For some reason, the sacks this year seem a lot more bearable. Not as many pile-drivers/spinal crackers/bone shakers.
That seems to be a big difference. On several sacks this year, the line is holding their own but just keeps giving ground until they run into Ben, who is still holding onto the ball. They just go down in a cluster rather than Ben getting the Bart Scott treatment off the corner.
3.7 seconds is an awfully long time to hold a man off. In addition to Ben holding the ball too long, we don't exactly call a ton of quick-hitters, screens, and slants in our offense. Ben is looking to chuck it for 20+ most of the time, which (as stated) will translate into sacks even when the oline is doing a pretty good job. Also, with so many guys trying to go wide on Starks, he's probably pushing him right into Ben on occasion, or Ben is turning to escape and runs right into Starks and/or his man. Seems that we've had several plays where it looked like that happened.
The good news is that Starks doesn't appear to be whiffing too often or just letting guys run right by him a la 2008. Also, it seems that Mendenhall and Moore are doing a much better job of chipping and picking up blitzes than our backs have done in years past. I seem to remember Dump Davenport standing about two feet from Ben to make a block and just getting his butt pushed back into Ben.
Seems like these stats could depend on a lot of factors. For example, someone from the Browns is really high on # of sacks allowed (1), but has a low number for holding blocks. Could this be because his QB is getting buried before his guy even has time to get there? Could the good numbers for a guy from Seattle be due to the quick passing game they use out there? Still, pretty interesting stuff--and good to see that the oline guys are getting a little statistical attention.
Notice that Kemo is around 2.9 in holding blocks, which really needs to improve. However, we knew that was a weakness for him coming in, and I'll let that slide as long as he keeps plowing up turf for RM to run. We'll work around to protection issues if he'll keep taking out two guys at a time on the pull.
Overall, this group looks immensely better than they did last year. For the most part, I would not blame the losses that we have on the offensive line.