During last week’s Giants-Cowboys game, I heard Troy Aikman applaud the Giants’ offensive line for surrendering only six sacks this season. After we at PFF frequently documented the ineptitude of New York’s front line last season, should we now join Aikman in praising them for their improvement? Not quite. Though only five teams have allowed fewer sacks this season than the Giants, only three have allowed more QB pressures. If we are going to applaud anyone for New York’s low sack-total, it should be Eli Manning and his ability to get rid of the ball in the face of frequent pressure. Whereas last season the Giants’ tackles were the problem, William Beatty and Sean Locklear have been a marked improvement over David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie. Instead, it’s the inside of the Giants’ line that is leaking pressure. Chris Snee and Kevin Boothe are both in the bottom-half of NFL guards in Pass Block Efficiency. However, their performance isn’t as bad as David Baas, whose 15 QB pressures allowed leads all centers.
In years past, a weak interior line would be a death knell for a team playing the Steelers. Not so this season. Through the first eight weeks, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, and Ziggy Hood have been the hands-down worst 3-4 defensive line in the league. In 359 combined run snaps, they have just 12 defensive stops. In 499 combined pass rushes, they’ve pressured the quarterback just 13 times. Facing Baas, Boothe and Snee could be this beleaguered trio’s chance to excel, but nothing they’ve done this season indicates that they’ll do so.