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Sports Info Solutions NFL Week 3 Preview

NFL Week 3 Preview Detroit Lions

Lions at Vikings

SIS’s Vikings preview from a little short of a month ago highlighted Minnesota’s spotty offensive line play last year, with a bit of optimism based on growth from 2021 first-rounder Christian Darrisaw at left tackle.

That optimism hasn’t shown to be warranted, as the Vikings have the most blown blocks in the NFL through two weeks. (SIS defines a blown block as being physically beaten by a defender within the first few seconds of a play.) Darrisaw has blown eight blocks through two weeks, which puts him near the top of a list you don’t want to be on.

Blown Block Leaders, 2022

Team

Run

Pass

Total

Vikings

7

18

25

Commanders

11

13

24

Texans

7

13

20

Colts

6

11

17

Lions

4

13

17

Whether it’s the line forcing dump-offs or Kirk Cousins’ foibles, the Vikings’ offense has struggled to execute with the aggressiveness they want. They are in the top five in deep dropbacks (five- and seven-step) but in the bottom five in average throw depth.

In come the Lions, who lead the NFL in pressures with 47 through two contests. Rookie Aidan Hutchinson was a game-wrecker last week with three sacks and seven total pressures.

As you might have noticed, this matchup shows off two pass-blocking units on the wrong side of the ledger. This is primarily a result of a league-leading nine blown blocks from third-year guard Logan Stenberg.

However, Detroit has been able to work around those issues, and in general, there is a lot more optimism surrounding Detroit’s front line. Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow has been hurt, but he might be in play this week to support the interior.

The Lions are also in the top five in deep dropbacks, so they should have similar issues. But they’ve been able to throw it downfield much more often than the Vikings so far without yielding troubling sack or pressure rates.

 

 

NFL Week 3 Preview Quick Hits

Eagles at Commanders: Wentz Might Not Get His Revenge

The Commanders brought in Carson Wentz and have kept up an aggressive approach. They’re second in deep dropbacks and eleventh in average throw depth, which also comes with higher-than-average pressure and sack rates.

Rookie behemoth Jordan Davis has yet to make an impact up the middle for Philadelphia, but this week is an opportunity to change that against an offensive line that has blown 11 blocks in the run game through two weeks, three more than the next-highest team.

The Eagles are coming off a game against the Vikings in which they held Kirk Cousins to a negative Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt on deep dropbacks, and Washington blockers have a blown block every four deep dropbacks so far this year.

Bengals at Jets: QBs need to get the ball out

Many of the teams mentioned above have put their offensive lines under more strain because of the types of dropbacks being called. In this matchup, both teams have Top-10 short dropback rates—which limits the impact of blocking overall—but they’re still in the middle of the pack in terms of pressure rate on those plays.

In this case, it’s more about the quarterbacks needing to improve.

We all know that Joe Burrow has been sacked a lot, and people often blame the line for that. But to have allowed twice as many sacks as any other team on short dropbacks is as much an indictment on the quarterback as anyone.

On Joe Flacco’s end, he’s been all right so far, but he is pushing the offensive line’s limits with the time he takes to get the ball out. The only players who take more time to throw the ball relative to what you’d expect based on the play design are very mobile (Fields, Mariota, Lance, D. Jones, L. Jackson) or ineffective statues (Ryan, Brissett), and we know which group Flacco should fall into.

Alex Vigderman contributed to this report.

WATCH MORE: Why are the Broncos and Bengals Failing to Meet Expectations?

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