The Colts Offensive Line, like most elite lines, doesn’t get the credit they deserve, especially considering that they went from being dead last in 2017 with 56 sacks allowed to 1st in 2018 with only 18.
Yes, part of it was due to the fact that Reich’s offense protected Luck by letting him get the ball out quickly and allowing him to rely on a much improved run game (thanks to the OL). However, this should not undermine the incredible jump that the Colts linemen made last season in regards to their pass protection and run-blocking.
And PFF took notice. Here’s what they had to say.
Quenton Nelson, LG
Last season, the Colts offensive line finally gave quarterback Andrew Luck the chance to flourish — and flourish he did. First-year offensive guard Quenton Nelson was a huge reason for that. He just allowed 23 quarterback pressures from a monstrous 684 pass-blocking snaps on the year, and his resulting pressure rate of 3.4% was good for 13th among the 75 guards who played at least 200 pass-blocking snaps last year. As a run-blocker, he was one of the league’s best. His 13.4% impact run-block percentage ranked fourth among the 63 guards who played at least 200 run-blocking snaps, while his 73.7 run-blocking grade was good for third.
And while I have personally bashed PFF in the past for some of their takes, they pretty much hit the bullseye on this one. Some may point to the fact that Nelson allowed a high amount of QB pressures last season, but when you take into account he played 100% of all possible snaps last season (1137/1137) and ranked 2nd in the whole league when it came down to offensive snaps, only behind Matt Skura’s 1189, it makes you realize 23 pressures isn’t that much.
But Nelson truly makes his name as a run mauler, where he ranked 4th among guards with an impact run-block percentage of 13.4% and a run-blocking grade of 73.7 (3rd). Just look at how he flattens Telvin Smith.
Colts got so much attention for Quenton Nelson’s screaming block vs. Jacksonville - see Twitter - that the NFL fined Indianapolis’ first-round pick $26,739 for leading with his helmet, per source. Nelson is appealing the fine from the play on which no penalty was called. pic.twitter.com/s82oQuIkoO— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 16, 2018
Mark Glowinski, RG
However, PFF wasn’t done applauding Colts’ guards just yet, as Nelson’s partner in crime also drew some warranted attention.
Thanks to his teammate’s remarkable rookie year, Mark Glowinski was cast in somewhat of a shadow last season, but the reality is that Glowinski was a vital piece to the Colts’ offensive puzzle. As a pass-blocker, Glowinski allowed just 11 total pressures from 329 pass-blocking snaps — he was one of only seven guards who played more than 300 pass-blocking snaps and didn’t allow a sack — and his resulting pressure rate of 3.3% was good for 12th among the 75 guards who played at least 200 pass-blocking snaps last year. Like his teammate, he also made his mark as a run-blocker; his 13.3% impact run-block percentage ranked fifth among the 63 guards who played at least 200 run-blocking snaps.
Again, some great statistics and analysis from PFF, especially because everyone knows who Nelson is. Touted as one of the greatest guards to come out of college in decades, there was a lot of hype and a lot of eyes on him. Glowinski on the other hand, was on his second team, after being cut by the Seahawks, and was seen as nothing more than a waiver claim.
His statistics are actually awfully similar to Nelsons in the sense that he had a pressure rate of 3.3% (compared to 3.4%) and a impact run-block percentage of 13.3% (compared to 13.4%).
Colts fans already knew that we had something special at tackle, but I’m glad our two studs are starting to get some very well deserved national recognition.