Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Jun 2011

Team Counts of Broken Tackles 2010

A couple days ago, I posted some numbers for broken tackles by defenders. But with all those tables of individual leaders in broken tackles or "broken tackle rate," I forgot to post team numbers as well. So here is a table showing which defenses had the most or fewest broken tackles in 2010. There are two columns with totals because it is possible to have more than one broken tackle on the same play (sometimes even by the same person, who is often named "Alphonso Smith"). The percentages represent the percentage of plays with broken tackles, not any kind of team-wide "broken tackle rate."

Rk Team Plays Plays w/ BTkl Pct Total BTkl
1 HOU 998 81 8.1% 91
2 DET 996 77 7.7% 89
3 ARI 1084 80 7.4% 95
4 TB 980 70 7.1% 75
5 IND 996 71 7.1% 80
6 ATL 954 66 6.9% 76
7 TEN 1135 77 6.8% 90
8 NO 944 63 6.7% 75
9 PHI 992 63 6.4% 77
10 BUF 1062 67 6.3% 70
11 CAR 1049 65 6.2% 75
12 SEA 1058 65 6.1% 79
13 STL 1003 59 5.9% 66
14 JAC 941 55 5.8% 62
15 WAS 1039 60 5.8% 69
16 CIN 947 53 5.6% 63
Rk Team Plays Plays w/ BTkl Pct Total BTkl
17 BAL 1001 56 5.6% 63
18 MIA 969 53 5.5% 60
19 SD 927 50 5.4% 59
20 OAK 985 53 5.4% 61
21 CHI 987 52 5.3% 57
22 KC 1017 52 5.1% 63
23 SF 1024 52 5.1% 59
24 DAL 965 49 5.1% 54
25 NYG 966 49 5.1% 54
26 CLE 1028 50 4.9% 59
27 PIT 975 46 4.7% 53
28 NYJ 976 45 4.6% 50
29 GB 971 42 4.3% 49
30 DEN 1042 45 4.3% 50
31 MIN 964 41 4.3% 47
32 NE 1058 42 4.0% 44

Next week, I'll post broken tackle numbers from the other side -- which running backs and wide receivers had the most broken tackles, and totals for all 32 offenses.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 10 Jun 2011

16 comments, Last at 20 Jun 2011, 6:48pm by notque_deeproute

Comments

1
by Dean :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 2:27pm

The interesting thing to me here is that I don't really see a correllation between broken tackles and wins.

2
by Kal :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 3:54pm

Why would you? It's like saying that there is no correlation between catch% of receivers and wins. There's too many other things that contribute.

That being said, there's a reasonable correlation between broken tackles and defensive strength.

3
by ammek :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 3:58pm

Some parallels with defensive DVOA though. The five teams with the highest % broken tackles are all in the bottom third in DVOA. The top teams in DVOA mostly have a lower than average % of broken tackles. Denver is obviously the big exception, but it might be expected that a team with unusually small variance would have a low % of missed tackles.

It also substantiates, to some extent, the idea that the Pats, Packers, Jets and Vikings defenses are "well coached".

15
by thebuch :: Mon, 06/20/2011 - 2:06am

Among the six teams at the bottom, I see the Packers, Patriots, Steelers, and Jets.. That's the Super Bowl champion, loser, top DVOA, and a conference championship loser right there.

4
by Biebs (not verified) :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 4:40pm

As a Jets fan, I'm curious how many broken tackles were in the AFC Championship game. Because it seemed like there were about a dozen of them. I'm not surprised the lowest rate of broken tackles throughout the season, but that 1st half... oof.

5
by commissionerleaf :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 7:14pm

Good to see that Bullitt, Sessions and Wheeler being out, inactive, or benched part or all of the season hasn't prevented the Colts from maintaining their ability to utterly fail to make perfectly normal tackles a large proportion of the time. Nice to see Gary Brackett contributing to the butterfingered, limp wristed, Jell-o chested extravaganza that is the Colts defense now that we're overpaying him, too!

Bonus Wheeler pic! http://ph.cdn.photos.upi.com/view/e94d26ecffc757ab92aa89e5d1a79c15/Colts...

8
by Ben :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 10:58pm

Yeah. It's good to have some concrete proof that the Colts can't tackle. It's been that way for years...

6
by tunesmith :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 7:23pm

So what does this say about Denver? They were making the tackles when they were in the place to make the tackles. Maybe this means their weakness was more the defensive coaching/scheme than the talent?

7
by deflated (not verified) :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 8:18pm

Nah, I'd stick with lack of talent - too many times the front 7 got hopelessly hung up on blocks and unable to get close to the ball carrier. No scheme would survive that many players who can't fight off contact.

9
by Mission Marauders (not verified) :: Sat, 06/11/2011 - 1:45pm

I wonder if this stat will end up like errors in baseball - not really correlating well with actual defensive value - because to get dinged with a broken tackle, you have to get to the guy first.

A low "broken tackles" number could either mean your defenders are really good tacklers - or that your defensive schemes never put them in the right place at the right time.

10
by Whatev :: Sun, 06/12/2011 - 6:31am

Well, let's put it this way. Having a ton of errors in baseball is bad. Not having many errors can be bad, too, but that doesn't mean having errors is better--letting a hit through because you screwed up and letting a hit through because you were nowhere near the ball are probably not that much different.

Likewise, having a lot of broken tackles is bad. It could even be because your guys are decent tacklers being subjected to that bad defensive scheme, they could be getting there just a little bit too late and thus be forced to try to arm tackle the ballcarrier, which won't stop him. There are a lot of factors; you can definitely be bad without broken tackles, but you can't be good with them.

12
by Annnnonymous (not verified) :: Sun, 06/12/2011 - 2:58pm

This is largely true, but in the baseball case it's also been recognized that errors can be misleading becasue their assignment is kind of arbitrary, and it can penalize guys who have enough range to look like they should make a clean play on the ball and possibly don't" situations that by rule probably shouldnt be an error, but are assigned as an error to that player because the scorer assumes he should have had the time to make the throw or cleanly field the ball, etc.

Players in that position will get slightly more errors assigned to them than they should.

Its similar here, though, where having tackles broken is never good, though sometimes it will be suggestive of getting one hand on the guys arm without ever having a real chance to make a good tackle on him, and it isn't a full barometer of performance because you could be so bad you can't even come close to making a play.

11
by BurkieInBoston (not verified) :: Sun, 06/12/2011 - 8:05am

The Pats HAD to be the most sure tackling team in the league because they don't believe in improving their pass rush. Somehow this team thinks it can win on defense with great tacking, great coverage, and ZERO pass rush. It's pretty sad when people (like me) get excited when that McGinnest "comeback rumor" came out yesterday. That being said, great job Aaron!

13
by panagle (not verified) :: Mon, 06/13/2011 - 3:53pm

You realize that this is showing which teams miss the most tackles on defense, right? That is why the Texans and Lions are at the top of this list. It is a bit confusing the way it is presented. The percentages show how often that team lets up a broken tackle - not how often an offensive player breaks a tackle.

14
by alaano (not verified) :: Tue, 06/14/2011 - 12:59pm

All things considered, a broken tackle is better than nothing. That makes this an interesting but not very telling statistic. The Patriots--are big and probably get to fewer ball carriers than say, the small and fast Colts, but bring them down a higher percentage of the time. OK. But that was no surprise.

16
by notque_deeproute (not verified) :: Mon, 06/20/2011 - 6:48pm

Great, another stat I can use to correlate with my simulation football game http://deeproute.com

These are my favorite kind of articles! :)