As part of the discussion of my post yesterday, many ‘truisms’ about football came up.
Readers suggested that we instinctively know that line play matters for a variety of reasons. One of the suggestions was that better line play means more rushing yards, which helps the Colts play action and makes the offense better. While that certainly makes logical sense, I wanted to test to see if it was accurate.
I’ve taken a variety of statistics to see if any of them produce any correlation to positive outcomes for the Colts since 1999. I certainly don’t think that offensive line play never matters to any team, but merely that I don’t know how much it affects the Colts’ ability to win games and score points. The Colts present a rare opportunity to watch one offensive system with the same quarterback, and relatively low skill player turnover for an entire decade. My hypothesis is that offensive line play has become less important to winning in recent years, and that Manning (and theoretically other QBs of a similar ilk) can mask poor line play. The first step is to see which of the stats have a correlation on positive outcomes. Note: These sample sizes are small. That’s the nature of the beast.