The New York Giants’ offensive line has been a disaster this season. The unit routinely ranks dead last in Pro Football Focus’ weekly rankings of the units around the NFL.
Entering Week 6, Big Blue had surrendered 30 sacks on the season, an average of six sacks per game. But in the most recent contest, Tyrod Taylor was sacked only three times.
Taylor got the start this week filling in for the injured Daniel Jones. Despite facing a Buffalo Bills defense that leads the NFL in sacks, Taylor did an excellent job mitigating pressure and found increased success behind the team’s poor offensive line in Week 6.
Tyrod Taylor did well to mitigate the pressure in Week 6
The Giants’ offensive line wasn’t any better in Week 6 than it had been through the first five weeks of the season; Taylor just did a better job dealing with it than Jones has so far.
According to Pro Football Focus, Jones has been pressured on 46.2% of his dropbacks this season. His pressure-to-sack rate is 30.8%.
Taylor was pressured on 43.2% of his dropbacks in Week 6. His pressure-to-sack rate was only 15.8%. Taylor did a better job of mitigating the pressure and avoiding sacks.
Getting the ball out of your hands 15% more often is quite significant. Taylor was still pressured at a high rate comparable to that of Jones, yet, he took only three sacks (one of which came from him mishandling and dropping the football in the backfield).
The common perception regarding Big Blue’s most recent matchup was that the offensive line finally held up due to the low sack number. However, the stats do not back up that argument, as Taylor was among the most-pressured quarterbacks in the NFL this week (ranking seventh).
Taylor earns high marks under pressure from PFF
When kept clean this season, Jones has earned a respectable PFF grade of 83.2. Inversely, his PFF grade under pressure plummets to an abysmal 40.6.
It is normal for quarterbacks’ PFF grades to decline under pressure, however, Jones’ drop-off is steep. Taylor’s drop, on the other hand, is not nearly as steep.
In Week 6, Taylor earned a 76.0 PFF grade when kept clean. That dropped to only 72.8 while under pressure.
Jones adds plenty of pressure on himself
According to PFF, Daniel Jones is responsible for 20% of his pressure this season.
Tyrod Taylor is responsible for only 7.7% of the pressure he has faced this season.
Even with superstar running back Saquon Barkley in the lineup, Jones is still allowing a higher rate of pressure than Taylor.
Jones’ pressures with Barkley in the lineup:
Taylor’s pressures with Barkley in the lineup:
Taylor deserves credit for the way he performed in Week 6
Jones has been hindered by poor offensive line play in front of him throughout his five-year NFL career. A lack of sufficient protection, subpar playcalling, and underwhelming groups of playmakers have constantly dragged Jones down.
Fans expected Taylor to be dragged down as well by the bad offensive line in front of him in Week 6. Instead, Taylor exceeded expectations and mitigated the pressure well enough to keep the Giants in the game until the final second.
A costly mistake at the end of the first half may be overshadowing Taylor’s performance, but it shouldn’t. Taylor deserves praise for the way he performed in Week 6. He played a good, clean game and found ways to mitigate intense pressure, elevating the performance of those around him.
Do the Giants have a quarterback controversy on their hands?
Jones has flashed enough potential to make one believe that he could be elite if he had a great offensive line and an elite group of playmakers.
But Taylor may just be better suited to play under these circumstances. He sees the field well while pressured and gets the ball out of his hands quickly. Tyrod is a 10+ year NFL veteran with loads of experience. That helps when playing behind such a bad offensive line.
Until Jones learns how to handle this pressure and gets better at avoiding sacks, he is going to continue to struggle this season.
While it is highly unlikely Taylor would take over as the starting quarterback, it will be interesting to see how he performs if Jones is ruled out for an extended period of time. Taylor may stand a better chance behind the Giants’ offensive line than Jones.