Indianapolis Colts: What Can We Expect From The Rebuilding Colts In 2018?

Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts

Colts Offensive Line Will Miss Fewer Blocks and Surrender Less Sacks

I am a huge proponent of fixing an offensive line first before anything when rebuilding a football team. Without an offensive line, running backs have no open lanes, and quarterbacks have less time to make a play. How can a team win games without scoring? If a team has no passing game or running game, it’s likely because the performance of their offensive line was so poor. While there is no true data yet to genuinely evaluate the performance of offensive lineman, we can pinpoint when an offensive lineman misses a block. And oh boy, the Colts missed a lot of blocks in 2018.

According to data collected by the Football Outsiders, the Colts offensive line missed a combined 113 pass blocks, 60 run blocks, and surrendered about 27.8 of the 56 total sacks against them. How do we know those numbers are so terrible? Let’s compare their performance with the Eagles and a couple of other relevant teams.

Comparing the Colts offensive line with the Eagles, Patriots, and Jaguars

The Eagles offensive line missed 82 pass blocks, 38 run blocks, and surrendered 18.5 of the 36 total sacks against them. For good measure, let’s see how the AFC Champion Patriots did. The Pats offensive line missed 92 pass blocks, 44 run blocks, and surrendered 23.5 of the 35 total sacks against them. The last team to compare the Colts offensive line with will be the AFC South Champion Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags missed 109 pass blocks, 88 run blocks, and surrendered 15.5 of the 24 sacks against them. This data shows us that the good teams have good offensive lines, but also the quarterbacks know how to evade pressure. The Jaguars did not have a perfect offensive line by no means, but their quarterback, Blake Bortles, was able to avoid drive crushing sacks.

The offensive line for the Colts will improve this season because of their No. 6 overall pick in the NFL Draft Quenton Nelson. Some analysts consider Nelson to be the “best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson.” Coming out of Notre Dame, some draft experts Nelson to be the best overall player coming out of the NFL Draft. Having him join the offensive line should help the Colts this year and for years to come. Along with Nelson, Ballard also drafted 6’6″ offensive lineman Braden Smith out of Auburn.

Next Page: Taking a Look at the Defense