Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Apr 2008

FO on ESPN: Odom Will Miss Playing Alongside Haynesworth

Here is part II of my look at quarterback hits. This time, I look at defenses, including a weird little trend involving Tennessee and what that might mean for the 2008 Bengals. Because I needed to focus this more on one story for ESPN, we cut out the table that would have shown the ten defenses with the FEWEST knockdowns, so here is that list for the benefit of FO readers:

Houston: 7.6% (18 adjusted hits, 28 sacks with hit)
Carolina: 8.3% (29 hits/20 sacks)
Atlanta: 8.9% (33 hits/18 sacks)
San Francisco: 9.3% (27 hits/29 sacks)
Buffalo: 9.9% (38 hits/22 sacks)
Cleveland: 10.1% (36 hits/27 sacks)
Washington: 10.1% (38 hits/29 sacks)
Arizona: 10.2% (30 hits/34 sacks)
Oakland: 10.2% (23 hits/26 sacks)
Philadelphia: 10.2% (29 hits/33 sacks)

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Apr 2008

13 comments, Last at 05 Apr 2008, 2:41pm by Ryan Mc

Comments

1
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 4:32pm

It seems really strange, and counter to the point, to exclude strip-sacks.

2
by MarkV (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 4:59pm

Houston #32. Bet they regret taking bush over Williams now.

3
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 5:53pm

I am a little stunned that Indy, with all the rookies who started on the DL, no blitzing to speak of, and injuries on DL, are not in the bottom third of the league.

No, make that a lot stunned. Especially considering they had one of the highest completion %ages against (but the shortest avg comnpletion against), meaning the opponents' QBs couldn't have been spending too much time on their asses....

Maybe it's a factor of Freeney(when healthy) and Mathis putting pressure, but closing in a half step late. Still making contact, but allowing a completion. Just plain weird.

4
by sam_acw (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 6:19pm

So Houston are poor at hitting but not too bad at sacking? Is Super Mario reponsible for half of all that by any chance?

5
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Thu, 04/03/2008 - 7:53pm

I think i may point to next year mario has 10 sacks and 10 hits instead of 15 sacks and 5 hits...(or whatever the actual numbers were) just a guess

6
by Alex (not verified) :: Fri, 04/04/2008 - 12:27am

#2: Clearly, the Texans screwed up the 1st overall pick. I mean, when you've got a chance at a guy who can rush for 580 yards/season and have 3.7 ypc, you've just got to take it. To think that Houston practically threw away their high pick on a guy that's only had 18.5 sacks in his first two years. Pathetic.

7
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Fri, 04/04/2008 - 8:20am

Another team that's something of a surprise near the top of the 'knockdown %' chart is the Lions. I've thought they were pretty good at generating pressure with their front four (they rarely blitz) and this tends to support that.

A bit surprising (given this success) that they got rid of half their starting DL this offseason. Of course, if they kept the best half (White and Redding) maybe it won't make much difference.

8
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/04/2008 - 8:42am

This just reminds me of the " worst super bowl team ever" New York Giants who led the league in sacks and are still giving Tom Brady nightmares. Oh yeah, and the Patriots are better than the 85' Bears or any other team that ever played.

9
by shake\'n\'bake (not verified) :: Fri, 04/04/2008 - 8:59am

Re:3
I think the 1/2 a season they got from Freeney and the 3/4th season healthy from Mathis and Brock each, is the reason they stayed out of the bottom. For just the last few games and playoffs I'd guess they are near the bottom.
The cover 2 doesn't work without pressure and the Colts finished with the #1 scoring D, #3 total and passing D by DVOA. They got their pressure early on. It wasn't until Freeney was on crutches and Mathis/Brock were out/hobbled that the pass rush died.

10
by Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabbadu (not verified) :: Fri, 04/04/2008 - 11:59am

#3, 7: Could there be something about Tampa-2 defenses that generates a lot of hits without blitzing? Along with Tampa itself, the Colts and Lions are probably the most "pure" Tampa-2 defenses.

11
by ch (not verified) :: Fri, 04/04/2008 - 1:32pm

Odom had 8 non-sack QB hits at home, 6 non-sack QB hits on the road. Of those 8, 3 were against David Carr, and Culpepper and Harrington both got hit twice.
Not only are those QBs unusually prone to getting sacked, they all play behind below-average offensive lines (according to the FO adjusted sack rate metric.)
I don't see any evidence of official scorer bias towards Odom.

12
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Fri, 04/04/2008 - 4:14pm

I'd be interested to know if the Texans blitzed an unusually small proportion of the time. Three of the top four safeties going into camp were on IR by opening day (the fourth was future KCW HOFer CC Brown), and the guys signed to replace them were too late to learn the coverages properly. As a result, at least according to quotes from Kubiak and D-Con Richard Smith (not to be confused with GM Rick Smith Jnr), the scheme had to be massively simplified and much of the blitzing removed. Of course, that could be a PR move designed to account for more general suckiness, courtesy of Mssrs. Brown, Faggins, Clark et al . . .

13
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Sat, 04/05/2008 - 2:41pm

Losing Justin Smith does nothing to hurt the Bengals pass rush. His main strength was as a run defender; he was a very weak pass rusher. Certainly Geathers has been the better pass rusher on the team for at least a couple seasons now.

PS Where are the Bengals in the above list of teams with the fewest knockdowns? Were they NOT amongst the ten worst teams in this category?