Losing Ogden shouldn't hurt Ravens
Even with Jonathan Ogden's retirement, the history of teams' losing good linemen gives Ravens fans a reason for optimism.
|How the 45 teams that lost a top lineman fared the next season|
|Stat||With Top 5 OL||Without Top 5 OL||Change|
|How the 15 teams that lost a Pro Bowl lineman fared the next season|
|Stat||With Pro Bowl OL||Without Pro Bowl OL||Change|
The numbers look pretty similar, don't they? The stat that seems the most significant is running back yards per carry, but the adjusted line yards numbers suggest we're seeing 15 teams whose running backs declined, not 15 teams that suffered because they lost Pro Bowl blockers.It seems odd that teams don't seem to struggle when they lose a top blocker.
But plenty of examples say otherwise. We know that the New York Jets had no way to replace Pete Kendall last season, that the Seattle Seahawks had problems without Steve Hutchinson, and that the Kansas City Chiefs' offense completely crumbled without Roaf and Shields. On the other hand, LeCharles Bentley was supposed to be the only good lineman for New Orleans in 2005, but he signed with the Browns and never played a down for them, whereas the Saints had a miracle season without him. Ruben Brown left Buffalo for Chicago in 2004, but the Bills nearly doubled their scoring.Perhaps the best example of a team losing good linemen without a problem is the 1999-2000 Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings were the only team to lose two Pro Bowl linemen in the same offseason, when Jeff Christy and Randall McDaniel both left for Tampa Bay. Without them, the Vikings finished within two points of their scoring total from the year before. They allowed fewer sacks per pass play, and the running backs collectively went from 4.3 yards per carry in 1999 to 5.0 yards per carry in 2000. Do these numbers mean that good offensive linemen are overrated in general? Not at all. Not many top linemen are like Ogden and play their entire careers for one franchise. There might be surprisingly little impact when a team's offense loses a top lineman, but there's a major impact when it adds one. Remember our group of 45 top linemen who left their teams between 1999 and 2007? Ten of those players either retired or signed with expansion teams, and another was Stringer. This is what happened to the offenses that signed the other 34 top linemen:
|How the teams that signed 34 top lineman fared next season|
|Stat||Before Adding Top 5 OL||After Adding Top 5 OL||Change|
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