Running the Numbers: Interior Linemen Undervalued
My latest post at DallasCowboys.com deals with the importance of interior linemen. In the article, I note the vast difference in team success among those squads with top-tier guards and centers as compared to those with lackluster interior linemen. I also take a look at free agent signings Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings.
For the record, I actually prefer Bernadeau. Livings got a contract worth a total of $8 million more than Bernadeau’s, but Bernadeau’s been superior as both a run blocker and pass protector over the years in Carolina. Panthers running backs averaged 4.34 YPC behind him last season (albeit in limited action), compared to a 4.10 YPC mark for Cowboys running backs behind their interior linemen and 3.98 YPC for Bengals backs behind Livings.
After analyzing the play of center Phil Costa in greater detail, I’m not as down on him as I was immediately following the season. The Cowboys still need to hold a competition for the starting center job, but I think Costa made everyone believe he was worth than he actually was because of his errant snaps. Costa finished the season strong, and he was actually in the middle of the pack in the NFL in terms of pressure rate.