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Did Duane Brown Improve the Offense Last Season?

I was discussing this with someone recently and they took the stance that Duane Brown did not improve the offense when he was acquired in week 9, on the surface, it sounds an absolutely ridiculous claim. But did he?

To make this accurate, I’ve had to look at a variety of different stats as there are just so many variables. Did the game turn into a shootout? Bad weather? Receivers executing? There are so many ariables that can skew the stats so I’m going to take the approach of looking at multiple different ones to try and paint a ‘bigger picture’.

Firstly, let’s take a look at time to throw. This stat looks at the average time the QB has to throw the ball (passing downs only) over the duration of a game.

Week 1 - 3.2 seconds

Week 2 - 2.6 seconds

Week 3 - 2.91 seconds

Week 4 - 2.94 seconds

Week 5 - 3.08 seconds

Week 6 - BYE

Week 7 - 2.9 seconds

Week 8 - 3.1 seconds

In the weeks where Duane Brown was not the Seahawks left tackle, Wilson had an average of 2.96 in the pocket before getting hit.

Below are the numbers with Duane Brown on the left side -

Week 9 - 3.32 seconds

Week 10 - 3.07 seconds

Week 11 - 3.11 seconds

Week 12 - 3.21 seconds

Week 13 - 3.04 seconds

Week 14 - 3.66 seconds

Week 15 - 2.94 seconds

Week 16 -2.99 seconds

Week 17 - 3.07 seconds

With Duane Brown on the roster Russ had an average of 3.15 seconds to release the ball.

Obviously, an improvement. How about ‘average completed air yards’?

Week 1 – 5.7 yards

Week 2 – 4.7 yards

Week 3 – 6.7 yards

Week 4 – 10.9 yards

Week 5 – 4.6 yards

Week 6 – BYE

Week 7 – 7.6 yards

Week 8 - 13.3 yards

Week 9 – 7.5 yards

Week 10 – 7.9 yards

Week 11 – 7.9 yards

Week 12 – 7.1 yards

Week 13 – 6.1 yards

Week 14 – 11.1 yards

Week 15 – 7.5 yards

Week 16 -6.7 yards

Week 17 – 8 yards

Average before 7.64

Average after 8.58

Obviously, this stat isn’t definitive and the exact reason why I’m looking at multiple measurements. For example, the week 8 shootout against the Texans increases the ‘before Duane Brown’ stats considerably, but as it stands Duane is two for two on improving the offense.

Next is ‘Air Yards to the Sticks’. Air Yards to the Sticks shows the amount of Air Yards ahead or behind the first down marker on all attempts for a passer. The metric indicates if the passer is attempting his passes past the 1st down marker, or if he is relying on his skill position players to make yards after catch. This may seem a bit irrelevant on the surface, however is directly linked to pressure (quicker pressure means the QB doesn’t have time to complete all his reads and may simply get the ball out and hope the receiver can gain the first down via YAC (yards after catch).

Week 1 – 3 yards

Week 2 – -1.5 yards (negative)

Week 3 – 0.7 yards

Week 4 – 2.5 yards

Week 5 – -1.2 yards (negative)

Week 6 – BYE

Week 7 – 1.5 yards

Week 8 – 3.3 yards

Week 9 – 2.7 yards

Week 10 – -1.9 yards (negative)

Week 11 – -1.4 yards (negative)

Week 12 – 2.3 yards

Week 13 – -1 yards (negative)

Week 14 – 4.8 yards

Week 15 – 0.5 yards

Week 16 – 4.1 yards

Week 17 – 2.6 yards

Before Duane Brown – 1.18 yards after the stick

With Duane Brown – 1.41 yards after the stick

So far, all three of these stats support the argument that Duane Brown was having a real impact on the offensive production (in a positive way).

Passer rating is always a good one to measure, let’s take a look –

Week 1 – 69.7

Week 2 – 80.9

Week 3 – 110.3

Week 4 – 107.5

Week 5 – 76.2

Week 6 – BYE

Week 7 – 121.1

Week 8 – 123.2

Week 9 – 70.3

Week 10 – 112.2

Week 11 – 85.2

Week 12 – 86.4

Week 13 – 118.6

Week 14 – 76.9

Week 15 – 71.8

Week 16 – 107.8

Week 17 – 108.5

Average passer rating before Duane Brown – 98.41

Average passer rating with Duane Brown – 93.07

As you can see Wilsons passer rating went down, obviously you can’t pinpoint that purely on Brown, that would be ridiculous, but as I mentioned at the start of this article I wanted to take a scatter approach and look at various angles to try and ‘paint a picture’. Considering Russell’s historically horrible December I can’t say I’m too surprised that his passer rating is down.

Firstly, to evaluate the running game I looked at ‘average time behind the line of scrimmage (ATBLS). However, this stat can give different views depending on how you read it, is a RB behind the LOS for a long time because no gaps are being opened? Or is it a case that a defender breaks through the LOS disrupting the play? Plus, the stat only includes RB’s with 10+ carries a game and the amount of times Seattle didn’t have a runner with 10 or more carries was alarming so I’ve decided to leave this out as it really does nothing for the argument for or against…

I’ve also not looked at rushing efficiency as the bulk of this accounts for the second level so again, probably wouldn’t help the argument either way. Football Outsiders would have been perfect to use as they measure rushing stats based on the gap the runner uses (C and B gap in this article) however, unfortunately, they don’t give you a week by week breakdown so it’s impossible to differentiate between before and after Duane Brown was on the roster.

Unfortunately, it seems there are no stats available that you can break down week to week to get an informed decision on How Duane Brown impacted the run game which is a real shame. If anyone is aware of how I can do this (including week to week, not season stats, please do let me know).

Another stat I managed to find was how PFF graded both Rees Odhiambo from weeks 1 to 8 and Duane Brown from weeks 9 to 17.

Rees Odhiambo PFF grade (weeks 1-8) -

Duane Brown PFF grade (weeks 9-17) –

Obviously, there is a staggering difference in how the two players performed.

Rees Odhiambo run block snaps & run block grade– 166/31.9

Rees Obhiambo pass block snaps & pass block grade – 318/28.8

Duane Brown run block snaps & run block grade – 180/78

Duane Brown pass block snaps & pass block grade – 372/77.5

It’s a real shame I wasn’t able to go into more depth into how Brown impacted the run game but ultimately everything I’ve looked at shows an increase in efficiency between Rees Odhiambo and Duane Brown apart from Russell Wilsons passer rating. Many won’t be surprised by this but it’s always nice to be able to support my assumption with fact.

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