"O-Line 'Em Up" is a regular feature that analyzes offensive line play each week of the 2010 season.
Every week, O'Line 'Em Up focuses on some aspect of offensive line play, but when it comes to sacks, it's not all about the offensive line. Even if a line plays well, if the wide receivers don't get open or the quarterback holds the ball, then the sack totals are going to climb.
So here's a look at which quarterbacks have held the ball for a long time on sacks, and which ones get rid of the ball quickly. I've logged the time of each sack in the NFL this year. Now, it's possible that a quarterback could get rid of the ball quickly on all other plays, but holds the ball too long when he gets sacked (it's possible but highly unlikely). But what we're just studying here is how long the quarterback holds the ball when he's sacked.
If you're wondering, the median time for sacks in the NFL in 2010 is 2.7 seconds (it was also 2.7 seconds in 2009). So in case you're wondering how long a quarterback has to get rid of the ball before his internal alarm clock should start ringing, it's 2.7 seconds. The average time of every NFL sack is 3.0 seconds, but that time is skewed by the occasional six-second sack -- a lengthy sack can take six, seven or even eight seconds, but on the other end of the spectrum, no sacks occur in less than one second.
|Quarterback||Sacks||Mean Time Of Sack||Median Time|
|Josh Johnson, TB||1||3.5||3.5|
|Vince Young, TEN||8||3.73||3.45|
|Dennis Dixon, PIT||5||3.26||3.3|
|Jake Delhomme, CLE||1||3.3||3.3|
|Jason Campbell, OAK||14||3.69||3.25|
|Todd Collins, CHI||3||3.27||3.2|
|Colt McCoy, CLE||6||3.13||3.15|
|Ben Roethlisberger, PIT||6||3.08||3.1|
|Brett Favre, MIN||17||3.2||3.1|
|Joe Flacco, BAL||14||3.51||3.1|
|Matt Cassell, KC||12||3.37||3.1|
|Michael Vick, PHI||13||3.19||3.1|
|Seneca Wallace, CLE||6||3.65||3.05|
|Charlie Batch, PIT||4||3.73||3|
|Kevin Kolb, PHI||11||3.21||3|
|Kyle Orton, DEN||21||3||2.9|
|Tarvaris Jackson, MIN||1||2.9||2.9|
|Chad Henne, MIA||13||2.75||2.8|
|Josh Freeman, TB||16||3.16||2.8|
|Drew Staton, DET||2||2.8||2.8|
|Jay Cutler, CHI||28||3||2.75|
|Philip Rivers, SD||22||2.93||2.75|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF||12||2.79||2.75|
|Shaun Hill, DET||8||2.83||2.75|
|Aaron Rodgers, GB||18||2.73||2.7|
|Chase Daniels, NO||1||2.7||2.7|
|Jimmy Clausen, CAR||12||2.68||2.7|
|Jon Kitna, DAL||9||2.98||2.7|
|Kerry Collins, TEN||5||2.6||2.7|
|Matt Ryan, ATL||13||2.82||2.7|
|Matt Stafford, DET||4||3.88||2.7|
|Sam Bradford, STL||17||3.52||2.7|
|Tom Brady, NE||13||3.03||2.7|
|Trent Edwards, BUF/JAX||9||2.72||2.7|
|Carson Palmer, CIN||14||2.61||2.65|
|Derek Anderson, ARI||16||2.81||2.65|
|Alex Smith, SF||13||3.13||2.6|
|Donovan McNabb, WAS||25||2.89||2.6|
|Matt Schaub, HOU||21||2.9||2.6|
|Todd Bouman, JAX||1||2.6||2.6|
|David Garrard, JAX||14||2.89||2.55|
|Max Hall, ARI||12||3.15||2.55|
|Eli Manning, NYG||12||2.57||2.5|
|Matt Hasselback, SEA||22||2.63||2.5|
|Matt Moore, CAR||12||2.68||2.5|
|Mark Sanchez, NYJ||12||3.09||2.45|
|Bruce Gradkowski, OAK||7||2.36||2.4|
|Drew Brees, NO||13||2.65||2.4|
|Peyton Manning, IND||10||2.5||2.4|
|Tony Romo, DAL||7||2.91||2.4|
|Caleb Hanie, CHI||2||2.35||2.35|
|Tony Pike, CAR||1||2.2||2.2|
|David Carr, SF||1||1.5||1.5|
Manning and Brees would rank near the top of the chart for getting rid of the ball last year as well -- when they get sacked, it almost always is the fault of their offensive line. Brady is usually among that list as well, but he has five sacks this year of three-plus seconds. Either Brady is taking longer to go through his progressions (unlikely) or his receivers are having more trouble getting open (likely).
On the other end of the spectrum, Jason Campbell is not an offensive lineman's best friend. He may have the Raiders winning some football games, but he's also had five sacks this season where he held the ball for 3.5 seconds or more, and three sacks where he held the ball for more than six seconds.
Vince Young also appears at the top of the list for long sacks -- Tennessee's pass protection is still exceptional. But the Titans use plenty of rollouts to take advantage of Young's mobility. That often works, but when everyone is covered, Young gets some sacks where he holds the ball too long. Of his eight sacks this season, only two have happened in less than three seconds.
It's also worth noting that Ben Roethlisberger has been blamed in part for the Steelers' high sack totals over the past several years, but it appears to also be part of the Steelers' play design. All three Steelers quarterbacks who have started this season have a median sack time of three or more seconds. Four of Roethlisberger's six sacks have taken three or more seconds. Three of Dennis Dixon's five sacks took three or more seconds and two of Batch's four sacks took more than three seconds.