When it comes to evaluating offensive lines, quarterback sacks are certainly telling, and from a team perspective, the most significant issue. If the quarterback is getting sacked a lot, the offense is taking a lot of negative plays that take yards and ultimately points off the scoreboard. But they're not the entire story.
Another important statistic is quarterback hits -- not only sacks, but the number of times the quarterback is hit even on plays where he's able to get rid of the football. Because even if he wasn't sacked, the most important player on the field is still taking a beating out there.
That's why it was particularly impressive that Deshaun Watson was able to get through last season healthy. No team's quarterback was hit more than Houston's last season, and no quarterback was hit on a higher percentage of his team's pass plays, either.
|OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY, 2018|
I got thinking about this from the Aaron Rodgers discussion yesterday. The Packers gave up 53 sacks; only two teams allowed more. Note, however, that their quarterbacks were hit on 14.7% of pass plays, and that's right at the middle of the league (16th). At least in terms of getting their quarterback hit, Green Bay wasn't one of the worst teams in the NFL last year.
Back to Houston. The Texans were certainly poised to select Andre Dillard in the first round of the draft, one of the draft's best pass protectors. Instead, the Eagles traded ahead of them to take him; Houston ended up selecting Alabama State's Tytus Howard. Who knows, maybe he'll work out better than Dillard. But offensive line will most likely be a concern again for Houston.