Why Cowboys’ Montrae Holland More Valuable Than You Think
Believe it or not, the Dallas Cowboys are going to see a dramatic downgrade at guard with the loss of Montrae Holland to a torn biceps. I have been critical of Holland in the past, providing him with a C+ grade in my 2010 Offensive Line Grades. Holland is not an incredible athlete and can appear slow-footed at times, often struggling with quick defensive tackles. Nonetheless, he outplayed every Cowboys offensive linemen not named Tyron Smith in 2011. Here is why. . .
Holland participated in 641 snaps this season, 361 of which were in pass protection. He yielded eight pressures, one hit and two sacks in those snaps, good for a pressure rate of 2.21%. While not at an elite level, that rate is still quite good. As a comparison, right guard Kyle Kosier has a pressure rate of 2.85% this season. That falls right in line with his pressure rate of 2.82% from 2010, providing a statistically significant sample size. You can see the overall 2010 numbers below.
Many of you know I often praise Kosier’s pass protection ability, and Holland has been superior to the veteran in 2011. To get a broader sense of Holland’s 2011 success, I took a look at the numbers of some of the top-graded guards (and middle tier guards) on Pro Football Focus.
You can see Holland’s pressure rate, although not elite, was well above-average. The #32 and #33 ranked guards at PFF surrendered pressure rates up to 46% higher than Holland’s. On top of that, I would grade Holland as the Cowboys’ second-best run blocker all season if I was turning in my grades today. I would provide him with a ‘B’ in both run blocking and pass protection, and that run blocking grade will undoubtedly be higher than all non-rookie offensive linemen in Big D.
Whether Derrick Dockery or Kevin Kowalski replaces Holland, the Cowboys will see a decline in production. Holland was having a really strong 2011 campaign. . .and one which was being overlooked even by me.
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