2018 OL overachieved — but how?
While this article is generally critical of the coaching of the fat kids since 2014, 2018 was a miraculous year for the offensive line. The facts are that Baker Mayfield was upright the entire second half. It’s hard to believe that the offensive line allowed seven sacks in the first game; 33 sacks for the first eight games of 2018, but then only five sacks over the last eight games, a ridiculously low total
In terms of hits on the quarterback, for the first half of 2018, the Browns allowed 62 quarterback hits. but in the second half of 2018, they allowed only 11. Cleveland gave up 49 tackles for loss in the first eight games, and cut them almost in half in the last eight games with 25. Statistically, they went from the bottom five to far and away the best in the NFL. These numbers are insane. Can any fans out there find anything like it in the history of the NFL?
There was only one lineup change the entire season. Free-agent pickup Greg Robinson went in for Desmond Harrison in game nine and played by far the best ball of his career for eight games. Other than that one switch, there were zero missed snaps by any lineman the entire season.
Chris Hubbard at right tackle was probably the weakest of the five but even he hung in as best he could and missed zero snaps the entire season. Probably that has never happened before in NFL history.
It did not last. Robinson’s performance dropped noticeably in 2019. When last seen, Robinson was caught allegedly trying to sneak 157 pounds of illegal marijuana across the border in El Paso Texas. So you could say he had a bit of a drop-off since then.
Zeitler was traded to New York for Olivier Vernon, and is still playing well. Pro Football Focus graded him seventh overall among guards this year after having judged him to be First-Team All-Pro in 2018 for Cleveland.
Is it possible to duplicate the Browns feat of only one lineup change the entire season and four players with zero missed snaps? The answer is simple: No.