Rankings – do they mean anything?

Offensive Line-2Pro Football Focus only ranks the Steeler offensive line fourteenth in the league, but they have Dallas at number one. How come there is such a discrepancy?

No one can argue against the Cowboy’s OL being very good because it is. PFF places the Cowboys top because of their system of grading linemen, but I can make case to rate the Steelers higher because of their results.

On the face of it, a run to a Divisional playoff game rates higher than a poorly 4-12 season, but football can’t be evaluated that easy.

The ground game of each team deserves some consideration as it depends a lot on the OL, but also the runner. The Cowboys rushing attack ranked 9th with an average 4.6 yards per carry against the Steelers 16th ranking with an average 4.4 yards.

Not much in it though, but Oakland’s linemen were rated second by PFF, but the team ranked only 28th in rushing with an average 3.9 yards per carry. So, it appears that whoever is carrying the ball has an impact on the statistics, but the Steelers lost their star running back halfway through the season.

Because Dallas lost their number one quarterback early in the season, it’s not easy to compare the passing game of each team, but the Steelers were second best in conceding quarterback hits with seven less than Dallas and Pittsburgh gave up the same number of sacks as the Cowboys.

The Steelers offensive line has come in for a lot of criticism in recent years, but they have made improvements and still continue to advance. Having lost one of the league’s top centers for the season and then their left tackle in week five of 2015, the backups didn’t do that bad.

Alejandro Villanueva was thrown into the deep end with Kelvin Beachum’s injury, but he learnt his trade quickly. With Beachum going to Jacksonville, anyone who thinks AJ won’t start for the Steelers this season could not have been watching the team last season. In my lowly opinion, he’s a lock.

Benjamin Disraeli said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,” and who can argue with that and the Steelers deserve more credit for their OL.

Scrimmage on the South Side
Scrimmage on the South Side

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