About a week ago, somebody in the comments here (and forgive me for forgetting who it was) pointed me in the direction of a former HS football coach who was grading Chargers offensive linemen on every single play to give everyone a good idea of who was playing well and who wasn't. He was posting his findings on Facebook and the Chargers.com forums, but not here.
I reached out to him, to see if I could convince him to post his stuff here as well. Seeing as how most of us are stat-geeks, I assured him there'd be an audience for it. I finally got my response yesterday, in the form of an awesome spreadsheet. Go ahead and click on that link. It should open up the spreadsheet, which shows Paul's grades on every play for the Chargers games played in Weeks 1, 2, 3 and 8.
Looking just at last week's game against Oakland would probably be the best way to gauge where the San Diego offensive line is at. Louis Vasquez and Scott Mruczkowski have had enough time that their mistakes should be behind them, the line has been healthy enough for the past few weeks that they should have started to gel. So here's how they ranked against the Raiders:
- Marcus McNeill - 1.8482
- Louis Vasquez - 1.8482
- Kris Dielman - 1.8035
- Jeromey Clary - 1.7946
- Scott Mruczkowski - 1.7678
Did that surprise anybody? Me neither. McNeill and Vasquez have both been playing solid football all season (when healthy). Dielman is definitely not playing at a Pro Bowl level. Clary has been good, but not great. Mooch has shown himself to be an okay backup, but not a potential starter.
Looking back at the Week 1 game in Oakland, the highest rated offensive lineman by far was Nick Hardwick. Hopefully he can get back this week and be the piece that gets the offensive line back to being dominating.
I know these stats are somewhat arbitrary. Somebody's opinion rather than official statistics. However, when it comes to offensive linemen this is really all we have. I think Paul has done an excellent job breaking down these games (you can get lost in that spreadsheet of his), and I look forward to seeing what he brings to the table in the future.
One stat I noticed, while perusing the stats for these four games, is how far the offensive balance has come. In the first 3 games of the season, the closest the Chargers got to "balance" was when they threw only 11 times more than they ran it against the Dolphins. In the Week 8 game against the Raiders, Norv called 28 runs to go with the 28 passes. How's that for balance?