With all of the statistical categories that come across the NFL, there aren’t too many that come up for an offensive line. That was until ESPN came up with a statistic called “Pass Blocking Win Ratio” or PBWR, to determine how well a line was at pass blocking.
The criteria for the stat is that if a lineman can hold a block on for 2.5 seconds on a pass play, they have won, if the defender gets by before that, it is a loss. Seth Walder of ESPN went into detail on the numbers, and ranked each team in order from best to worst on this statistic.
Out all 32 teams, the Bucs had a 46 percent PBWR during the 2018 season, which was good for 21st in the league. This isn’t the end all be all of what makes a good offensive line, as the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots were charted at 44 percent, which had them at 28th. Their opponent in the big game, the Los Angeles Rams, were second best at 62 percent.
There are obviously a couple of variables when it comes to this, such as wins that were given to the offensive line on quickly blocked plays, like a three-step drop or screen pass, but it’s another stat that has the Bucs in the bottom half of the league when it comes to blocking.
The Bucs best stat ironically does come from the pass block, with their 41 sacks allowed being tied for 17th in the NFL. It doesn’t get any better on run blocking, as the Bucs are 28th in the league in rushing yards per game and total rush yards on the season, with 95.2 and 1,523.
Many analysts have pointed to the offensive line as one of the weaknesses on the Bucs, but they didn’t address that much through offseason free agency or the draft. Their moves consisted of re-signing Donovan Smith to a three-year $45.1 million deal and bringing in veteran Earl Watford. Other than that, most of the starters on the offensive line remains the same.
One adjustment they have made early during offseason practices is moving last year’s starting right guard, Caleb Benenoch, back to his original position of tackle to presumably back up for Smith and Demar Dotson. This leaves second-year guard Alex Cappa and the seven-year veteran Watford to compete for the starting right guard spot in training camp.
As Bruce Arians comes in as head coach with an entirely new staff, the Bucs are hoping that better coaching from offensive line coaches Harold Goodwin and Joe Gilbert will make the difference in improvement.