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Judging New Steelers Offensive Line Coach Sean Kugler By Stats Unfair


The Steelers officially named Sean Kugler as the new offensive line coach on Thursday and instantly it sent shock waves through Steeler Nation. Kugler spent the last 2 seasons as the Bills offensive line coach before being let go at the end of the season. Kugler coached a Bills offensive line in 2009 that was ravished by injuries and saw 9 different starting line combinations during the season. Center Geoff Hangartner was the only lineman to play every game at the same spot and 4 linemen who started during the season finished on injured reserve. The Bills 2009 line had only 91 combined career starts total for the two guards, two tackles and center on the team with the most starts in the 2009 season. That number was the lowest in the NFL with the closest being 66 away. Despite the adversity, the Bills still managed to rush for 1867 yards, which was 16th best in the league and averaged 4.4 yards a carry for 8th best. The line only allowed a toal of of 37 rushes for negative yards which was 12th lowest in 2009. While the quarterback hits and sacks were high it is not surprising given the rash of injuries and quarterback shuffling that went on in Buffalo.

The biggest concern the Steelers will have with Kugler is the power rushing in which the Bills finished with a 55% first down conversion rate on ALL running plays on 3rd & 4th down with 2 or less yards to go. It should be noted that starting Bills running back Marshawn Lynch was also suspended for the first 3 games of the season and the Bills only had 22 opportunities all year at these situations. In 2008 the Bills had 28 such opportunities and converted 64% of them. Those numbers are still not great, but the 2008 Steelers team only had 29 such opportunities at a 66% conversion rate and yet won the Super Bowl.

While there is concern about the short track record that Kugler has as an offensive line coach in the NFL, he proved in 2009 that he can get the most out of unit that looked like a M.A.S.H. unit mixed with has beens and free agent scraps. Merely judging him on 2 years worth of stats does not tell the story. Kugler definitely will have a more experienced group of linemen in Pittsburgh and an organization that seems destined to want to run more. Kugler is also only 43 years old and may relate better to the current offensive line better than Larry Zierlein did. Also Kugler played tackle in college at Texas El-Paso as well.

2009 Offensive Line Stats
Exp = Combined career starts for the two guards, two tackles and center on team with the most starts in the current season.
Rush 1st = Rushing first downs.
Rush Neg = Rushes for negative yards.
Rush +10Y = Rushes for 10 or more yards.

Rk Team Exp Att Yds Avg TDs 1st Neg +10Y Sacks QB Hits
1 NYJ 560 607 2,756 4.5 21 132 42 71 30 52
2 TEN 507 499 2,592 5.2 19 115 50 65 15 44
3 CAR 313 525 2,498 4.8 18 123 59 76 33 62
4 MIA 254 509 2,231 4.4 22 129 37 53 34 63
5 BAL 260 468 2,200 4.7 22 115 46 51 36 72
6 NO 215 468 2,106 4.5 21 115 38 51 20 52
7 DAL 578 436 2,103 4.8 14 110 40 61 34 78
8 CLE 297 498 2,087 4.2 10 102 41 57 30 61
9 CIN 203 505 2,056 4.1 9 109 50 55 29 56
10 JAX 296 447 2,029 4.5 19 114 34 50 44 125
11 KC 246 438 1,929 4.4 8 91 53 49 45 83
12 NE 440 466 1,921 4.1 19 114 35 50 18 70
13 MIN 326 467 1,918 4.1 19 99 51 56 34 83
14 GB 412 438 1,885 4.3 20 102 32 42 51 93
15 ATL 295 451 1,876 4.2 15 105 32 46 27 59
16 BUF 91 424 1,867 4.4 6 81 37 42 46 103
17 NYG 525 443 1,837 4.1 14 103 43 52 32 74
18 DEN 354 440 1,836 4.2 9 95 36 53 34 61
19 PIT 256 428 1,793 4.2 10 96 40 47 50 77
20 STL 296 411 1,784 4.3 4 79 40 53 44 95
21 OAK 207 410 1,701 4.1 7 81 31 42 49 95
22 PHI 241 384 1,637 4.3 14 87 29 43 38 61
23 TB 276 404 1,627 4 5 80 37 43 33 94
24 DET 349 409 1,616 4 9 82 54 45 43 94
25 SF 268 371 1,600 4.3 12 77 40 41 40 84
26 SEA 193 395 1,566 4 7 80 45 39 41 91
27 WAS 392 391 1,510 3.9 8 72 29 36 46 94
28 ARI 329 365 1,494 4.1 16 77 42 51 26 93
29 CHI 463 373 1,492 4 6 71 34 32 35 78
30 HOU 157 425 1,475 3.5 13 93 39 38 25 92
31 SD 199 427 1,423 3.3 17 80 39 32 26 53
32 IND 386 366 1,294 3.5 16 69 43 37 13 43

2009 Offensive Line Power Rushing Stats
3rd & 4th Down with 2 or less yards to go

TEAM 3rd RUSH FD FD% 4th RUSH FD FD% TOT RUSH TOT FD TOT FD %
MIA 35 30 85.71% 7 7 100.00% 42 37 88%
TEN 16 12 75.00% 5 5 100.00% 21 17 81%
CIN 29 22 75.86% 3 3 100.00% 32 25 78%
JAX 38 28 73.68% 10 8 80.00% 48 36 75%
NYJ 26 18 69.23% 10 9 90.00% 36 27 75%
OAK 24 17 70.83% 3 3 100.00% 27 20 74%
NO 28 23 82.14% 10 5 50.00% 38 28 74%
HOU 29 21 72.41% 5 4 80.00% 34 25 74%
GB 13 10 76.92% 2 1 50.00% 15 11 73%
BAL 27 19 70.37% 6 5 83.33% 33 24 73%
CAR 29 22 75.86% 7 4 57.14% 36 26 72%
NE 34 25 73.53% 12 8 66.67% 46 33 72%
ATL 24 16 66.67% 6 5 83.33% 30 21 70%
PHI 28 20 71.43% 5 3 60.00% 33 23 70%
SF 18 13 72.22% 4 2 50.00% 22 15 68%
IND 22 15 68.18% 3 2 66.67% 25 17 68%
CLE 27 17 62.96% 7 6 85.71% 34 23 68%
MIN 31 21 67.74% 5 3 60.00% 36 24 67%
PIT 25 15 60.00% 7 6 85.71% 32 21 66%
PIT 08 24 16 66.67% 5 3 60.00% 29 19 66%
NYG 28 17 60.71% 6 5 83.33% 34 22 65%
BUF 08 25 16 64.00% 3 2 66.67% 28 18 64%
TB 19 13 68.42% 3 1 33.33% 22 14 64%
CHI 26 15 57.69% 4 4 100.00% 30 19 63%
DET 20 13 65.00% 7 4 57.14% 27 17 63%
DAL 25 17 68.00% 4 1 25.00% 29 18 62%
KC 20 12 60.00% 8 5 62.50% 28 17 61%
WAS 20 13 65.00% 5 2 40.00% 25 15 60%
SEA 28 17 60.71% 4 2 50.00% 32 19 59%
STL 25 14 56.00% 6 4 66.67% 31 18 58%
DEN 27 17 62.96% 6 2 33.33% 33 19 58%
BUF 19 9 47.37% 3 3 100.00% 22 12 55%
SD 16 9 56.25% 6 3 50.00% 22 12 55%
ARI 21 9 42.86% 4 3 75.00% 25 12 48%

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