JJ Cooper of the soon-to-be-defunct AOL Fanhouse has had a project for the last couple of years: he keeps tabs on the amount of sacks each quarterback takes. Not too sophisticated right? I wasn't finished yet. He tallies the sacks, then he times each sack to see how long it took. Cooper breaks them down into "short sacks" (three seconds or less) and "long sacks" (more than three seconds) to see which quarterbacks merely scrambled around a lot, and which actually hurt themselves with pocket presence.
Matt Schaub took 32 total sacks last year: 23 were short sacks, and just 9 were long ones. Only five quarterbacks took more short sacks last season, and most of them played with much less highly regarded offensive lines. Jay Cutler led the NFL with 33, then Jimmy Claussen had 29, Donovan McNabb had 28, Phillip Rivers had 25, and David Garrard had 24. As I said, unlike those squads, the Texans had a fairly well-regarded offensive line. In fact, Pro Football Focus' all-AFC South squad had an entire team of Texans offensive linemen.
There were some very real problems with the Texans blocking last year. One was that just about every offensive lineman the Texans have was far better suited for run blocking than pass blocking, especially the interior line. When teams blitzed up the middle, they typically had their way with the Texans. One was that once offensive guard Mike Brisiel was hurt (as he normally is), backup guard Antoine Caldwell was downright horrendous. Finally, Eric Winston really struggled in pass protection last year, especially against Jason Babin. Maybe there's some bounce back coming for Winston, but the rest of the line's issues really lead to the conclusion that this team should look into bringing on another new one in this year's draft, if not in free agency.
Matt Schaub would sure appreciate it.â†µ