Pro Football Focus continues their series of articles evaluating the play of offensive line, and we dive into their writings to see where Colts linemen are ranked.
While I agree with my friend and colleague Matt Grecco ('I hate subjective stats'), I think that PFF offers a point of view on football is is both unique and insightful. It's not the complete truth, but it does tell us something that is, in my opinion, worth discussing.
Plus, no one else is doing these kinds of evaluations; singling out players and determining if they were able to perform at a high level, or not. Yes, it's subjective. But, all player evaluations are.
PFF's article yesterday focused on offensive linemen playing for the last three years. I took particular interest in this because I wanted to see where the Colts 2008 second round pick, Mike Pollak, landed on the evaluation charts. I've never been a fan of Pollak's. For a high pick, he simply hasn't lived up to expectations. He's been benched twice in his three year career, and both times the person who replaced him was an undrafted rookie. And while Bill Polian might think that Pollak is 'a good contributor,' the reality is 'good contributors' don't get benched multiple times for inept play.
'Good contributors' also don't rank in the bottom 15 when grading their pass blocking efficiency.
Between 2008-2010, Mike Pollak was the 8th worst offensive guard in football. In 1,270 snaps, he surrendered 62 pressures for a rating of 3.76. Now, compare that with someone like Logan Mankins for the Patriots. Mankins played over 400 more snaps than Pollak, but surrendered only 54 pressures. Like the Colts, the Pats run a very pass happy system.
Pollak's ranking puts him just slightly worse than Floyd Womack, who is a pretty putrid guard.
For me, I don't see PFF's system as 'proof' Pollak stinks. I don't need proof. I watched the games, and I saw him stink up the Luke when he played. And, I wasn't the only one. Also, players who are 'good' don't get benched twice in one calendar year in favor of undrafted rookies than no one has heard of. The PFF evaluations simply offer another point of view, and it's one that agrees with what I think is the correct assessment: Mike Pollak is a bad football player who is, in essence, playing for his career this season. He did close the 2010 season strong, winning back his starting job (for the second time). So, there is hope for the former-Arizona State center, but I'm not holding my breath.
This is a big year for Pollak. If he wants to shake off that 'bust' label, he needs to go out there and dominate at his position. Jacques McClendon and Ben Ijalana weren't drafted just because the Polians liked the sound of their unique names. Also, Charlie Johnson is a natural guard, and Anthony Castonzo was drafted to take his place at left tackle. It's likely Charlie is going back to guard, which means Pollak has less of an opportunity to shake the 'bust' label.
Side note: Speaking of Charlie, he was ranked as the 14th worst left tackle from 2008-2010. He surrendered 150 QB pressures, second most behind Levi Brown. It really is amazing just how prolifically awesome Peyton Manning is. Bill Polian put utter garbage in front of him from 2008-2010, and yet Manning won two league MVPs and took the Colts to a Super Bowl with that. Unbelievable. Imagine if he'd have had a proper o-line during that span.