Friday, November 11, 2011
Sacks piling up against some in NFC West
By Mike Sando
J.J. Cooper's piece for Football Outsiders, re-tweeted to my attention by Darren Urban, lists four NFC West tackles among nine players responsible for allowing the most sacks this season.
Not to worry, Seattle Seahawks fans. Russell Okung does not appear on the list. He's improved recently, perhaps becoming more confident the longer his ankles hold up.
Arizona's Levi Brown and St. Louis' Rodger Saffold are tied for the NFL lead with 8.5 sacks allowed. As Cooper notes, offensive linemen aren't always responsible for sacks. Quarterbacks are often more responsible for them, in my view. But Cooper said the stats take care to focus only on plays when a blocker fared poorly in pass protection. He also said physical limitations appear more to blame for Browns' troubles than for Saffold's troubles.
Seattle right tackle James Carpenter ranks tied for fourth on the list with six allowed. San Francisco's Joe Staley is tied for eighth with 4.5 allowed.
These numbers line up with perceptions. NFC West teams have used quite a few early draft choices for tackles, with mixed results.
San Francisco 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis has become more consistent. He faces a tough matchup against the New York Giants' Justin Tuck. Staley faces Osi Umenyiora. Okung faces the Baltimore Ravens' Terrell Suggs.