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03 Dec 2010

2010 Hits and Hurries

by Aaron Schatz

Hey kids! I've finally had a chance to put together some numbers from our early game charting data, and I wanted to share some of them with our readers. Today, let's look at "auxiliary" pass rush numbers -- in other words, all the things we track that aren't sacks.

First, we've got quarterback hurries from the FO game charting project. We score a quarterback hurry when a defender either forces a quarterback out of the pocket or pressures the throw. It doesn't necessarily mean that the defender actually forced the quarterback to make a bad throw. This year, we've tried to emphasize judging hurries based on what the defense does, not what the offense does. We don't want to penalize quarterbacks who throw well under pressure by not marking pressures just because those quarterbacks stand tall in the pocket and deliver the ball.

We've got things working more smoothly this year, and we've got fewer holes in early games. Right now we've got the season done through Week 10 for about half the teams, and only one team has less than 7.5 games charted. So these numbers represent a good chunk of the season. They are not yet adjusted for charter tendencies, and I didn't add in hurries that cause offensive holding... but that's okay, we'll be getting to that in a minute.

One player is completely dominating this category so far in 2010: Chris Long of St. Louis, who is finally breaking out and playing like a second overall pick in his third season. Right now, we have Long charted with ten more hurries than any other player in the league. That's a little nuts. I went to look to see if this might be the fault of one overzealous charter, but we don't have one charter who does St. Louis every week -- eight different charters have done the Rams this season. It looks like Long really is having a giant effect on opposing offenses.

The total here for games refers to games charted through December 2, not games played in total.

Most QB Hurries, Weeks 1-10 (Based on FO Charting Project)
Rk Player Tm Hur G Avg | Rk Player Tm Hur G Avg | Rk Player Tm Hur G Avg
1 72-C.Long STL 33 9 3.7 | 8 91-R.Edwards MIN 17 8 2.1 | 15t 55-T.Suggs BAL 16.5 9 1.8
2 91-C.Wake MIA 23 8 2.9 | 9 94-A.Smith HOU 19 9 2.1 | 15t 92-J.Harrison PIT 16.5 9 1.8
3 90-M.Williams HOU 22.5 9 2.5 | 10t 91-T.Hali KC 18 9 2.0 | 17t 90-J.Peppers CHI 15.5 8.5 1.8
4 56-L.Woodley PIT 22 9 2.4 | 10t 93-K.Vanden Bosch DET 15 7.5 2.0 | 17t 94-D.Ware DAL 15.5 8.5 1.8
5 93-D.Freeney IND 20 8.5 2.4 | 12 92-C.Avril DET 14.5 7.5 1.9 | 19 97-G.Atkins CIN 14 8.5 1.6
6 58-T.Cole PHI 20.5 9 2.3 | 13 98-B.Orakpo WAS 17 9 1.9 | 20 52-C.Matthews GB 14.5 9 1.6
7 55-J.Abraham ATL 18.5 8.5 2.2 | 14 91-C.Clemons SEA 13 7 1.9 | 21 93-J.Babin TEN 12 7.5 1.6

What about hurries that lead to offensive holding penalties? Well, we actually have a new category this year: Offensive Holding Penalties Drawn. We're tracking which defender draws every offensive holding call, whether that call is at the line of scrimmage or downfield, whether it is accepted or declined. These totals don't include special teams, but they do include both runs and passes, so this isn't purely a pass rusher metric. Nonetheless, we've got seven different defenders who have been marked with at least four holding calls drawn so far this year:

Most Holding Penalties Drawn, Weeks 1-10
(Based on FO Charting Project)
Player Team Penalties
98-B.Orakpo WAS 7
91-C.Wake MIA 7
92-J.Harrison PIT 6
96-J.Hall STL 4
55-J.Porter ARI 4
94-R.Starks MIA 4
96-K.Wimbley OAK 4

Finally, we've got quarterback hits. You score a quarterback hit when you knock the quarterback to the ground -- technically, this includes both sacks and knockdowns after a pass, although for FO purposes we count them separately from sacks so our count of hits only includes those post-pass knockdowns. Quarterback hits are an "unofficial" stat that appear in the official play-by-play. However, scorers around the league are mind-blowingly inconsistent about marking these, so you end up with certain teams that will get marked with three times as many hits on the road as they have at home -- on both offense and defense. We do help the league with this problem by reporting missed quarterback hits that we discover during game charting, and we've added a number of them every year. Anyway, these numbers aren't adjusted for official scorer tendencies right now, but because this doesn't come from game charting, it includes all games up to last week. Also, these totals include hits on plays cancelled by penalties.

Most QB Hits, Weeks 1-12 (includes plays cancelled by penalties, but not sacks)
Rk Player Team Hits x Rk Player Team Hits x Rank Player Team Hits
1 90-J.Peppers CHI 14 x 7t 91-C.Wake MIA 10 x 7t 90-M.Williams HOU 10
2t 69-J.Allen MIN 12 x 7t 91-J.Tuck NYG 10 x 14t 90-D.Dockett ARI 9
2t 93-J.Babin TEN 12 x 7t 72-O.Umenyiora NYG 10 x 15t 55-J.Porter ARI 8
2t 74-A.Kampman JAC 12 x 7t 72-C.Long STL 10 x 15t 58-M.Benard CLE 8
5t 94-A.Smith HOU 11 x 7t 52-C.Matthews GB 10 x 15t 92-J.Harrison PIT 8
5t 93-K.Vanden Bosch DET 11 x 7t 91-T.Hali KC 10 x 15t 92-S.Rogers CLE 8

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Dec 2010

55 comments, Last at 22 Feb 2011, 6:11pm by Corners

Comments

1
by dbt :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 6:23pm

I know he doesn't have that many sacks, but peppers has just been a beast. I haven't been able to watch enough of Long, but I want to.

10
by Jim Z. (not verified) :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 8:19pm

He had better be a beast for all the money the Bears are paying him.

And he had better help take them to the Super Bowl this year or the next, because that whole defense has one, maybe two more years before all of those aging Pro Bowlers hit the wall, and hard. The Bears don't really have anyone in the pipeline to replace the defensive core of older players such as Peppers, Urlacher, Briggs, and Harris. After giving away all of their draft picks for two years in a row, their future is pretty bleak after this core of players declines.

15
by Eddo :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 9:36pm

Wow, Bears fans will be negative about anything, won't they?

As to the window-is-closing talk, I recall fans and commentators saying the same thing in 2007, the year after they went to the Super Bowl. If there's one thing the Bears front office and coaching staff have a track record of doing, it's building a defense.

18
by Independent George :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 11:26pm

Well, the fans & commentators were right - the Bears defense has declined since 2007. They've still been good, but nevertheless a shadow of their peak years.

19
by Dan :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 12:15am

Tommie Harris is neither core nor older.

22
by vague (not verified) :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 2:12am

I very strongly disagree. I do think Matt Toeaina has been (this year) and seems likely to continue to be an excellent 3 technique. Nick Roach played very well last year if not dominant. Major Wright has played very well in limited action at safety. DJ Moore though undersized has demonstrated outstanding ball skills as a nickel.

Lets look at how old this defense is...

LE Isreal Idonije 30 - 7th season, 97 games (first year starting on Defense)
3 Matt Toeaina 26 - 4th season, 14 games
DT Anthony Adams 30 - 8th season, 104 games
RE Julius Peppers 30 - 9th season, 133 games
WB Lance Briggs 30 - 8th season, 118 games
MB Brian Urlacher 32 - 11thseason, 149 games
SB Pisa Tinoisamoa29 - 8th season, 96 games
RC Charles Tillman29 - 8th season, 109 games
SS Daniel Manning 28 - 5th season, 72 games
FS Chris Harris 28 - 6th season, 80 games
LC Tim Jennings 27 - 5th season, 63 games
NC DJ Moore 23 - 2nd season, 14 games

key reserves:
CB Zack Bowman 26 - 3rd season, 24 games (6 picks last year)
DT Henry Melton 24 - 1st season, 10 games (dl rotation)
S Major Wright 22 - 1st season, 3 games (3rd round pick)
LB Nick Roach 25 - 4th season, 39 games (led Bears in tackles last year)
DT Tommie Harris 27 - 7th season, 98 games (3 pro bowls)

Ok, so 30-32 at some key spots with young reserves, so 1 or 2 years is definitely a pessimistic interpretation. Maybe only 1-2 years of being a threat at the SB without a consistent offense. With the cover 2 and the 4-3 seemingly out of vogue more talent should be available to the Bears in both the draft and free agency. Aside from the line its highly unlikely the Bears will add much to the offense in the offseason.

As the decline of Tommie Harris demonstrates catastrophic injury occurs to all skill levels and even to very young players. Its hard to see a team with the core of its defense at around 30 and around 100 games on the cliff to collapse because of geriatrics. It could happen I suppose but I'd hardly say its a certainty.

The idea that L Smith doesnt develop talent ignores players like Tommie Harris, Chris Harris, Manning, Toeaina, Moore, Bowman and others. There are young players with upside at all three levels of the defense if and when injury occurs.

My big question for this defense remains with the secondary. So far the corners have played well and the safeties have made few mistakes. This must continue for the team to have a hope for a deep playoff run.

2
by Spielman :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 6:32pm

Long has been impressive this whole season. Early on, the sacks hadn't come yet, but it was obvious to anyone who was paying attention to line play that he'd taken a huge step forward. He's got six sacks in the last six games, and I don't think he's playing any better than he was early on... he's just gotten to finish a few plays himself instead of chasing QBs into James Hall or forcing them to step up into Fred Robbins.

I don't know what his improvement is due to, but it's absolutely legit. He's generating consistent pressure, and every time I think he's disappeared, like in the second half of the Broncos game this week, he seems to come up with a big play.

25
by Podge (not verified) :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 6:56am

According to what I read preseason, he much prefers playing at LE rather than RE. He said his stronger arm is his right, so he feels his got more strength on his moves, and he feels he has a wider variety of moves that he can use coming from LE. I guess playing against RTs helps a little as well.

I wouldn't say he needs to stop chasing guys into Hall and Robbins - he just needs to get better at tackling the QB. I'd say he could have had another 3 or 4 sacks easily on plays where he had the QB dead to rights and then just missed him.

27
by Spielman :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 10:21am

Eh... to my eye, he hasn't been any worse than any other DE about missing the QB.

And I certainly didn't mean to say that he should STOP chasing QBs into his teammates. Far from it. It's just that while he's made plays the whole season, those plays seemed to result in sacks by other players in early games, and in sacks for Long himself in more recent games. That's all.

29
by Sam Bradford (not verified) :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 11:04am

He hasn't been missing the QB, he mostly forces the QB to throw it early, usually ending in a bad play. Sacks are obviously better, but who doesn't want someone who has put up 33 pressures, 10 hits and 7 sacks? Also, left tackles aren't always better than right tackles, that was a dumb comment. The GOOD left tackles are special but there are just as many on the right side who are just as good.

35
by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 3:49pm

Let's not so quickly forget that RE and LE area very different positions. They have very different responsibilities, and they call for players of very different talent sets. I remember watching chris long in college and thinking that he would be a total failure as a RE because he lacked the speed and quickness to get around good left tackles, but he's got tremendous power and is very smart while being still very quick if not outlandishly so, so he fits in very well on the left side where he'll face tackles who aren't as athletic. Also, a LE is naturally going to force a higher ratio of incompletes and hurries to sacks than a RE because most QBs are right handed and will see the LE coming.

I was actually hoping that year watching him that he would fall to the mid first round so the ravens could take him and make him a 3-4 LE, the trevor pryce role, which I see as his natural and most valuable position. I still think he was overdrafted a bit, though if he can maintain his current performance for the next several years I'll be proven wrong perhaps.

40
by Independent George :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 7:08pm

I haven't seen Long play, and I'm not saying he's going to be the same calibre of player, but the descriptions sound a lot like Strahan in his early years. He didn't have double-digit sacks until his fifth year, but he was very effective at being generally disruptive in his third year (2nd as a starter). And as a LE, that was valuable enough in itself; learning to finish with a sack was just a bonus.

3
by ammek :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 6:42pm

From these stats, you'd have to say: advantage, 4-3 defenses.

6
by Nathan :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 6:58pm

isn't one of the advantages of the 3-4 that the 4th rusher can come from a number of different positions? stands to reason that if you're spreading the sacks out over a potential 7 rushers instead of rushing the same 4 guys over again that you'd see fewer hurries by any one player in a 3-4.

9
by justanothersteve :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 8:02pm

I don't follow. There's almost as 3-4 players as 4-3, and more teams play the 4-3. Factor in the top 5 in sacks all play in the 3-4 (Matthews, Wake, Harrison, Phillips, Ware), and it's at best a wash.

23
by BigCheese :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 2:43am

The diference between the number of 4-3 and 3-4 teams in the league is 2. One more switch and the number will be even.

Meanwhile, by my count, the players from the tables above break down as 13-8 and 10-8 in favor of 4-3. So there's more 4-3 players represented there than the league ratio would suggest.

But I agree that it's probably a wash overall.

- Alvaro

4
by zenbitz :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 6:49pm

should this be divided by passes attempted against?

11
by Fool_Rider (not verified) :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 8:34pm

Agreed, this should be per pass play, not per game.

12
by Fool_Rider (not verified) :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 8:35pm

Agreed, this should be per pass play, not per game.

26
by Podge (not verified) :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 6:57am

But then you should adjust for the number of plays where the guy is on the field as well.

31
by Sander :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 11:13am

Which won't be done. FBO isn't getting the participation data from the league for as far as I know, and it isn't being tracked by the charters (because a) it's impossible to get right on a lot of plays and b) it would take a ton of time).

5
by theshadowj :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 6:54pm

Antonio Smith is a strange player. He is generally always a league leader in hurries but has not had more than 5.5 sacks in any one season in his career. For every other player it seems that a lot of hurries and minimal sacks means they were somewhat unlucky, but that doesn't appear to be the case with Smith.

17
by Mr Shush :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 11:15pm

1. On the hits front, Smith is kinda dirty. He's continually flirting with late hit penalties, so there are probably times when other guys might stop but he carries right on and hits the QB after the ball is out.

2. Smith is a DE/DT tweener with good pass-rushing technique but not stand-out speed. Maybe he often (more often than other guys) beats his blocker but is then unable to bring down a quarterback who he harasses but is too quick for him to wrap up.

3. Smith plays for the Texans. The last time the Texans had an NFL calibre secondary was 2004. It doesn't seem like a stretch to think that bad coverage is apt to turn sacks into hurries.

7
by TomC :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 7:33pm

I think Wake got 21 of his hurries and 6 of his holding calls against J'Marcus Webb and the Bears.

13
by Noah of Arkadia :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 8:56pm

He's been pretty awesome, though

55
by Corners (not verified) :: Tue, 02/22/2011 - 6:11pm

Julies Peppers also got 3 sacks that game.....against a one armed Jake Long T who 3 days earlier separated his shoulder. I would love Peppers on my team but he didn't have as great a season stat wise as many think. Guess what do you expect when people game for you tho.

8
by tuluse :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 7:54pm

I was wondering what the league wide ratio of hurries to hits to sacks is, and if it's consistent from year to year.

14
by Splattered :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 9:02pm

Atkins? Huh. Not bad for a rookie only playing 1/3 of the snaps.

16
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 9:46pm

Long fibally coming. through. A chip off the old block.

Think Alan Page waa first guy who caussed people to keep travk of hurries.

21
by andrew :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 1:08am

Page in '71 was just ridiculous. He was also responsible for officials deciding they couldn't call holding on every play, because he was just disrupting the flow of the game too much.

36
by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 4:12pm

Page 223 of pro football Chroncile;

"...Bud Grant, his coahc with the Vikigns, came up with the term to better measure Page's effect on opposing quarterbacks. Sacks didn't tell the whole story. Grant defined a hurry as making the quarterback throw the ball before he wamnnted to..."

1971 Page states-
42 hurries
10 sacks
109 takcles
35 asisits
3 sfaties

37
by Purds :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 5:20pm

That seems like a TON of tackles for a guy who could also rush the passer so well, and in a 14-game season, right?

20
by Will S :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 12:46am

I'm surprised to see Jared Allen so high in QB hits, but I guess even a down year for a guy like him can't be all that bad. Although it makes you wonder if his decline after chopping off his Samson-like magic mullet is whats keeping Tom Brady from cutting off his locks.

24
by Southern Philly :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 2:57am

This stat needs a name. I suggest MAMULA.

32
by Harris :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 1:14pm

Hurtful. Funny, yes. But hurtful.

Hail Hydra!

34
by Southern Philly :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 3:46pm

I'm an Eagles fan, so don't take it the wrong way.

28
by Jonadan :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 10:28am

As a Lions fan, I've got to say that one redeeming feature of this season has been finally having a pass rush. If Mayhew+Schwartz can find us a secondary-like substance this offseason, and if we can keep the same quarterback in for at least six straight games, and if there's actually an NFL season, I predict the Lions have a winning record next year.

39
by zlionsfan :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 7:04pm

It's not just in the passing game, although that's been the more dramatic improvement: as the stats show (jumping from an ASR of 4.4% to 7.7%), instead of occasional pressure, it's much more consistent this season, and they're getting much better results. The line has improved against the run as well (2nd in power situations and 4th in stuffs). It's just so much harder for offensive lines to contain the pressure, both from player quality (Suh with a huge rookie season, Williams very effective inside, Avril and KVB on the outside, quality depth as well) and formation (the wide splits have given certain lines great difficulty).

If the DBs weren't horrible, the defense would be pretty good this season. Hopefully Schwartz will be able to upgrade the defensive backs like he did with the line.

42
by Mr Shush :: Sun, 12/05/2010 - 11:42am

Has there ever been a year in which the OROY and DROY were the top two overall picks? Because it sure seems possible this time around.

48
by TomC :: Mon, 12/06/2010 - 5:48pm

And while I'm sure the close losses are frustrating, you're also in line for a much better draft pick than a team with this much talent usually is. 2nd or 3rd overall is not always a blessing, but it's pretty good if you're looking for a shutdown corner.

30
by BJR :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 11:12am

When Long was drafted I remember analysts focussing on his relentless work rate and high motor. They may sound like cliches, but I can clearly recall him making a lot of plays late on in games this year. He's obviously a phenomenally fit player.

In addition, for the first time in Long's pro career, the Rams actually having a functioning NFL offence which is capable of sustaining drives and keeping the defence off the field. That must be of great help to a pass rusher I'd have thought.

33
by bubqr :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 2:47pm

How can Hurries leaders from #4 to #8 (Woodley, Freeney, T.Cole, Abrahama, R.Edwards, can't be on the QB Hits list ? Just an anomaly ?

38
by Phil :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 6:42pm

People only want to talk about the fines these days, but Harrison is still playing at a DPOY level. He and Wake are the only two guys on all three of this lists, and both are in the top 3 in sacks. But Harrison has more tackles, INTs and forced fumbles. And yes, fines. Time will tell if the perception of those fines will prevent him from winning another DPOY award.

41
by Vicious Chicken Of Bristol (not verified) :: Sun, 12/05/2010 - 10:35am

No chance he wins DPOY, even though he deserves it. Just look at the NFL's most recent defensive player of the month award. Suggs got it. Now compare Suggs numbers to those of Harrison over the same period. Harrison wins in every category, some by a large margin. Harrison wont win an NFL award when the NFL is making him their whipping boy.

Interesting that he is 3rd in holding calls drawn. I wonder where he would be if they called them every time he gets tackled from behind by an OT.

43
by dbostedo :: Sun, 12/05/2010 - 12:19pm

Well one thing about the holding calls is I think Harrison is to the point where he gets the benefit of the doubt. A few times it seems that he is running while leaning into the lineman, and slips and falls, and the lineman gets a holding call. This is partly because he gets very low around the edge, and sometimes the lineman is pulling him down, but not always. So if you factor those in with the times he's held and it isn't called, maybe it's a wash?

51
by BK (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 10:41am

I'm just curious as to how the charting is collecting the QB hit numbers, because unofficially officially (i.e. looking at the box scores) Suggs has had 20 QB hits this year, but didn't even make the cut on this list. Seems like a little bit of a disconnect that he didn't even get credited for 9 to make the list.

Anyway, not taking away anything from Harrison, who is obviously great, but Suggs is actually having a really good year too (playing the run in addition to the pass).

44
by NWebster :: Sun, 12/05/2010 - 2:25pm

I'd say Harrison, Wake and Ngata should be 1-3 in some order for DPOY. Would really hate to see Harrison get punished due to the hits - not a single Brandon Merriweather variety among them. I think each of these guys (excepting possibly Wake) will struggle as they've all been consistently good without that singular prime time game with 3+ sacks or a TD return or the like.

I think Harrison may be the most underrated player of the last few years (exception of his DPOY year) he literally does everything and the sack/hit/hurry numbers are impacted by a scheme which asks him to drop into coverage much much more than Ware or Wake.

I think if there was a vote today it would go to Matthews - whose been great - but it would be a shame.

45
by Arkaein :: Mon, 12/06/2010 - 1:02pm

Matthews was probably the first half DPOY, however his play has slipped after the first month of the season (which was pretty tremendous). It seems like he might be suffering from missing a few practices each week due to a reoccurring shin injury.

He's still drawing a decent share of double teams, and in the past few weeks he deserves some credit for generating pressure that has lead to sacks on the other side by Cullen Jenkins and Frank Zombo.

If he can put together a final four games close to what he did in his first four he deserves to be right back in the DPOY race. More likely it seems like will have to "settle" for a Pro Bowl spot.

46
by ja471 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/06/2010 - 2:31pm

I would say Peppers is the DPOY to this point. A massive effect on the Chicago D. The Cover 2 is only effective with a strong rush provided by the front four and no blitzing allowing the rest to drop into coverage. Last year the Bears provided a pass rush through blitzing which caused the Cover 2 to fail. Enter Peppers and the Bears are a top 3 defense in the league. The Dline is basically the same, a non-achieving group whose only name player Tommie Harris is now an average player post-knee surgery. Peppers is providing relentless pressure, often taking on a double team or at least a chip block and has been great against the run on his side and in backside pursuit to the opposite field. There isnt another DE playing with less talent along the line. Israel, the oppposing DE, has a career high in sacks and after 80 some odd games and at the age of 30, is set to have more sacks this year than in the entirety of his previous seasons.

47
by BigCheese :: Mon, 12/06/2010 - 3:02pm

Idonije's stats alone are enough for me to realize just what an impact Peppers has had on that line. However, since it isn't Peppers getting said stats, there's no way he'll even be considered for DPOY.

- Alvaro

49
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:06am

I think there is another reason why he won't be seriously considered. Urlacher is going to split the vote so to speak. The Bears added 2 future HOF players this year compared to last

50
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:24am

Top 6 defenses by
Yards:
San Diego Chargers
New York Giants
New York Jets
Chicago Bears
Miami Dolphins
Pittsburgh Steelers

Points:
Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Steelers
Chicago Bears
Baltimore Ravens
New Orleans Saints
New York Jets

DVOA:
Pittsburgh Steelers
San Diego Chargers
New York Giants
Green Bay Packers
Tennessee Titans
Chicago Bears

I used top 6 instead of top 5 because the Steelers and Bears just missed the mark for one of the 3 lists.

From these lists I think we can eliminate a DPOY being chosen from the following teams: Chargers because special teams fiasco has masked their good defense. Jets, Dolphins, Saints because they aren't actually very good. Titans because their traditional stats aren't very good, also I suspect their DVOA will drop rapidly in the coming weeks. Packers because no one is really talking about their defense and Woodson just won last year.

Unless I missed a team that leaves the Steelers, Giants, and Bears defenses and probably DPOY candidates. The most visible/impactful player from each team would probably be Troy Polamalu, Justin Tuck, and Julius Peppers, respectively. I would guess that Polamalu is the favorite to win it.

52
by mansteel (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 11:13am

As a Giants fan, I can tell you that while Tuck (and Osi, and Rolle, and Webster, and even Jonathan Goff, believe it or not) has been very good, he has not played at a DPOY level. There are times when he disappears for a while and plenty of games where he makes a few nice plays but does not seem to have a huge impact on the game. Really no one on the G-Men deserves it although their defense as a unit has been great.

53
by dbostedo :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 12:18pm

Polamalu may be the most visible, but I doubt voters really think he's the best. He doesn't have the numbers for it anyway I wouldn't think (tackles, INTs, fumble recoveries, or TDs). I'd think Woodley or Harrison are more likely candidates, particularly Harrison as a previous winner.

54
by ja471 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:00pm

I discount Tuck and the any other giant Dlinemen for the simple fact that they play alongside each other, when you have the most talented dline you really have to have numbers that pop or be unbeaten or do something that really separates you. I think Polamulu is good but really hes on the tip of the tongue for his game winning play against the Ravens, he has actually been having an average season at best.