The sabermetric wave has enveloped Major League Baseball with terms like WAR, OPS, and BABIB now popping up along side the usual (ERA, RBI, BA) stats. The new "Moneyball" way of thinking has permeated into others sports as well, with stat hungry scouts and fans looking for different ways to measure the sports we love.
There are a few advanced statistical companies out there doing phenomenal work by breaking down NFL data in a new and exciting way, and one of my favorites is Football Outsiders. They take a detailed look at the offensive line, in a way that really gives the statophile something to sink their teeth into.
It's not as simple as looking at the yards per carry when determining the success of an offensive line. They come up with an Adjusted Line Yards, then tweak it even more "based on down, distance, situation, opponent, and the difference in rushing average between shotgun compared to standard formations."
If you consider yourself a stat junkie, you will definitely want to spend a little time on their site perusing the numbers before I take a deeper look at the stats from a Chicago perspective.
When it comes to run blocking, you'll probably not be surprised that the Bears' rank in the middle of the pack at #19. Equally not as surprising is Chicago's #32 ranked pass blocking.
You have to factor in Michael Bush when seeing the Bears' proficiency in Power Success. Chicago, at 68%, is the 9th ranked team in these situations described as "Percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown. Also includes runs on first-and-goal or second-and-goal from the two-yard line or closer."
Even though right tackle Gabe Carimi was benched, it was widely thought that his run blocking was solid. The Bears are the 6th best team in Adjusted Line Yards (ALY) when running around the right side. Running around the right end is a combination of pulls, lead blocking, and the tight ends and right tackle sealing the edge.
When running at right tackle, the Bears come in 24th overall. That ranking is actually lower than all the other places the Bears run, but it's also where they've attempted most of their off tackle runs. Even though the Bears rank lowest going off right tackle, their 3.69 ALY is actually higher than when they run to the left side. Sometimes the perspective of the numbers are needed to fully understand a ranking.
A lot has been made of offensive coordinator Mike Tice not sticking with the run game, but only four teams have more running back caries than Chicago's 295.
The Bears have the worst Adjusted Sack Rate (ASR) of 9.6%. Football Outsiders defines ASR as follows;
Sack Rate represents sacks divided by pass plays, which include passes, sacks, and aborted snaps. It is a better measure of pass blocking than total sacks because it takes into account how often an offense passes the ball. Adjusted Sack Rate adds adjustments for opponent quality, as well as down and distance (sacks are more common on third down, especially third-and-long).
It's interesting to note the disparity in ASR to the 32nd ranked Bears and the #1 ranked New England Patriots, 3.7%, and even the league average of 6.4%. The Bears will obviously need to shore up their pass protection woes.
Take a look at their advanced statistical breakdowns and let us know what stands out to you.