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22 Jun 2011

Pass Tackles 2010

by Aaron Schatz

Time to continue our series presenting various 2010 stats from the multitude of Football Outsiders spreadsheets. Today, we're going to look at pass tackles. You've seen our numbers on run tackles and Stop Rate against the run. If we are separating plays into run and pass categories, that also means that we can track pass tackles as a specific stat. These totals include any tackle or assist on a receiver after a catch, but do not include sacks, passes defensed, or interceptions.

We also can measure Stop Rate on pass tackles, just as we can on run tackles. Click here for the definition of when a tackle counts as a Stop. Stop Rate on pass tackles gives us a way to measure defensive backs that comes straight out of the play-by-play, rather than being filtered through the eyes of our game charters. This is all "official" NFL data. (I say "official" in quotes because tackles and passes defensed in the official play-by-play are technically "unofficial" stats according to the NFL. It's complicated.) There's usually a good amount of crossover between the players with the best Stop Rate on pass tackles and the players who do best in Success Rate from game charting, although there are also some players with big differences. For one thing, players in Cover-2 defenses tend to do better when it comes to Stop Rate on pass tackles because they are often allowing short completions in front of them in the zone, rather than trying to prevent a catch. So this shouldn't be seen as a definitive declaration of which players were best and worst last year. It's simply one piece of the puzzle in figuring out how good defenders are, and where they excel or do not excel.

For the most part, the leaders in pass tackles are cornerbacks, but there was one big exception last year. Jerod Mayo of the Patriots led all players with 72 pass tackles. Chad Greenway of Minnesota had 61 pass tackles, making him the only other linebacker in the top dozen:

Most Pass Tackles, 2010
Player Team Pos Pass Tkl Stops Stop Rate
51-J.Mayo NE LB 72 22 31%
23-D.Hall WAS CB 70 24 34%
31-C.Finnegan TEN CB 70 14 20%
20-A.Verner TEN CB 69 23 33%
26-A.Winfield MIN CB 68 28 41%
24-T.Thomas NYG CB 65 15 23%
20-B.McFadden PIT CB 64 18 28%
33-C.Tillman CHI CB 64 11 17%
31-R.Marshall CAR CB 62 15 24%
52-C.Greenway MIN LB 61 19 31%
41-T.Newman DAL CB 61 11 18%
23-M.Trufant SEA CB 61 8 13%

That list gives you the top ten cornerbacks. Here's a look at the top players in pass tackles, specifically for linebackers and safeties.

Most Pass Tackles for Linebackers, 2010
Player Team Pass Tkl Stops Stop Rate
51-J.Mayo NE 72 22 31%
52-C.Greenway MIN 61 19 31%
55-S.Tulloch TEN 59 28 47%
54-B.Urlacher CHI 57 19 33%
52-R.Lewis BAL 56 16 29%
52-R.McIntosh WAS 53 19 36%
52-P.Willis SF 52 20 38%
57-D.Jones CIN 52 19 37%
55-L.Briggs CHI 48 17 35%
56-D.Johnson KC 47 14 30%
Most Pass Tackles for Safeties, 2010
Player Team Pass Tkl Stops Stop Rate
33-M.Griffin TEN 55 11 20%
30-L.Landry WAS 47 8 17%
43-C.Dahl STL 46 9 20%
25-R.Clark PIT 46 4 9%
43-T.Ward CLE 45 8 18%
26-D.Landry BAL 44 13 30%
31-B.Pollard HOU 44 8 18%
20-D.Whitner BUF 43 8 19%
31-B.Meriweather NE 42 3 7%
Tied for 10th with 41: Y.Bell, P.Chung, C.Hope, E.Weddle

Now, of course, often a high tackle total for a cornerback is evidence of a cornerback who lets a lot of receivers catch passes on him. But not necessarily. That's where pass Stops come in. Two players led the league with 28 pass Stops last year: Linebacker Stephen Tulloch of Tennessee, and Cornerback Antoine Winfield of Minnesota. Those two players were actually the only players with more than 25 pass Stops. DeAngelo Hall was third with 24.

Let's look at which players had the highest and lowest Stop Rates on pass tackles, by position. All of the tables below use a minimum of 20 pass tackles.

Best Pass Tackle Stop Rate for CB, 2010
Player Team Pass Tkl Stops Stop Rate
22-A.Samuel PHI 20 10 50%
27-M.Adams ARI 30 14 47%
26-A.Winfield MIN 68 28 41%
32-O.Scandrick DAL 37 15 41%
21-J.Hanson PHI 25 10 40%
30-D.Moore CHI 26 10 38%
21-C.Woodson GB 47 18 38%
22-N.Clements SF 50 19 38%
27-J.Lacey IND 46 17 37%
30-D.Coleman NYJ 22 8 36%
Worst Pass Tackle Stop Rate for CB, 2010
Player Team Pass Tkl Stops Stop Rate
20-C.Gamble CAR 23 2 9%
21-J.Arenas KC 33 3 9%
21-K.Jennings SEA 31 3 10%
39-B.Carr KC 41 4 10%
32-B.Fletcher STL 40 4 10%
23-C.Webster NYG 39 4 10%
29-W.Middleton JAC 25 3 12%
26-S.Routt OAK 32 4 13%
31-F.Washington BAL 24 3 13%
28-W.Thurmond SEA 24 3 13%

Stanford Routt is a good example of how Pass Tackle Stop Rate doesn't necessarily agree with Success Rate from game charting. Routt had a surprisingly strong year in the game charting, but does poorly in Pass Tackle Stop Rate because when he did allow a catch, it was generally for a good amount of yardage. On the other hand, Asante Samuel was the best player this year in Success Rate from game charting and in Pass Tackle Stop Rate (just barely getting past our 20-tackle minimum). If we wanted to make the minimum 25 tackles instead of 20, we would add Johnathan Joseph of Cincinnati and Carlos Rogers of Washington to the Best list, and Chris Owens of Atlanta, Marcus Trufant of Seattle, and David Jones of Jacksonville to our Worst list. (Jones, of course, is the player who earned the rare title "worse than a hole in zone" according to this year's game charting.)

Best Pass Tackle Stop Rate for SAF, 2010
Player Team Pass Tkl Stops Stop Rate
26-C.Peprah GB 27 12 44%
27-J.Babineaux SEA 25 10 40%
47-J.McGraw KC 20 8 40%
37-S.Considine JAC 24 9 38%
34-M.Mitchell OAK 25 9 36%
34-D.Grant NYG 40 14 35%
43-G.Sensabaugh DAL 36 12 33%
41-C.Ndukwe CIN 25 8 32%
26-L.Delmas DET 39 12 31%
24-A.Wilson ARI 33 10 30%
38-D.Manning CHI 33 10 30%
Worst Pass Tackle Stop Rate for SAF, 2010
Player Team Pass Tkl Stops Stop Rate
31-J.Byrd BUF 37 1 3%
41-A.Bethea IND 35 1 3%
43-A.Francisco IND 28 1 4%
20-A.Ball DAL 28 1 4%
49-R.Johnson ARI 21 1 5%
24-C.Hope TEN 41 2 5%
26-A.Elam CLE 34 2 6%
36-J.Leonhard NYJ 33 2 6%
20-M.Williams MIN 31 2 6%
26-E.Wilson HOU 28 2 7%
Best Pass Tackle Stop Rate for LB, 2010
Player Team Pass Tkl Stops Stop Rate
55-R.McClain OAK 24 13 54%
51-P.Lenon ARI 37 20 54%
52-Da.Smith JAC 36 19 53%
54-S.Nicholas ATL 35 18 51%
99-K.Burnett SD 42 21 50%
58-Q.Black TB 24 12 50%
50-J.Anderson CAR 37 18 49%
58-D.Washington ARI 23 11 48%
57-K.Bentley HOU 21 10 48%
55-S.Tulloch TEN 59 28 47%
Worst Pass Tackle Stop Rate for LB, 2010
Player Team Pass Tkl Stops Stop Rate
59-L.Fletcher WAS 38 7 18%
51-P.Angerer IND 31 6 19%
59-D.Ryans HOU 25 5 20%
51-K.Brooking DAL 35 8 23%
54-D.Levy DET 34 8 24%
92-W.Witherspoon TEN 38 9 24%
51-G.McRath TEN 21 5 24%
51-B.Ruud TB 33 8 24%
58-S.Shanle NO 41 10 24%
54-Z.Diles HOU 41 10 24%

If you are interested in more numbers on Pass Tackles and Pass Tackle Stop Rate, those numbers are available on every FO player page, going back to 1997. Scroll down to "Advanced Stats vs. Pass," and those numbers are shaded in a darker green than the rest of the pass stats.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 22 Jun 2011

14 comments, Last at 16 Dec 2011, 6:37pm by Nat1969


by tuluse :: Wed, 06/22/2011 - 3:07pm

Manning comes out looking good in another stat. I may have underestimated what he brings to the team.

Out of curiosity, what is the median stop rate for pass tackles for each position?

by Travis :: Wed, 06/22/2011 - 3:28pm

Is there any kind of adjustment for solo tackles versus assisted ones? Does Mayo get full credit for a tackle/stop on one of the 61 plays when he only assisted?

Just based on eyeballing NFL.com's team tackle stats for the last few years, some scorers (especially New England's) will give assists quite frequently, while some (St. Louis) do so rarely.

by speedegg :: Wed, 06/22/2011 - 3:38pm

Hm, might also due to the defense scheme each teams runs. Would be interesting to see the breakdown vs 4-3 and 3-4 (and 1 gap 3-4 vs 2-gap 3-4).

by Travis :: Wed, 06/22/2011 - 4:24pm

Some of it, sure, but not all.

Not that this means anything, but:
Patriots at Rams, 2004: 94 total tackles, 9 assists. The Patriots were credited with ONE assist in this game (288 in the other 15).

Rams at Patriots, 2008: 92 total tackles, 42 assists.

by Kent (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2011 - 7:10pm

Interesting with the success rates of LB's that the lessor coverage LB's are tending to be higher success rate LB's while those who are good in coverage tend to be on the lower success rate list.

I assume this is due to a staff's trust in allowing the better coverage LB's drop deeper vs TE's or in zones, giving them less of a chance to chart a "success".

by prophetik (not verified) :: Thu, 06/23/2011 - 1:18pm

worst tackle stop rate for safeties needs to be split between FS and SS. best TSR is all SSs that play on the line for their defenses, worst TSR is all FSs that play center field. it's kind of a worthless breakdown, just as bad as the run TSR for DBs. the main problem stems from the fact that most DL guys play the same distance from the line, most LBs play the same distance from the line, but DBs are all over the field. if you're separating based on position, then you can't just say DB in that way because a cornerback is technically around the same distance from the line - and has roughly the same distance to go to the ball on an outside run - as an MLB, whereas the FS is 20y off the line. i don't know if it's possible to properly rank DBs without separating them into their respective positions, as (unlike the DL and LB positions) their positions are so diverse in what they're doing, moreso than any other position in football besides maybe the tight end/fullback position, where players are blocking for the pass and run on the move or in the pocket, running the ball, and running various routes, as well as often playing ST (in the case of the fullback).

by ChicagoRaider :: Thu, 06/23/2011 - 4:28pm

It should be mandatory to disclose Nnamdi Asomugha's numbers in CB ratings, despite the fact that they don't meet the statistical significance criteria. He plays himself off of too many charts!

by chemical burn :: Thu, 06/23/2011 - 8:53pm

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about Revis. It's the rare case where small sample size isn't actually skewing results, but proving something important...

by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 06/27/2011 - 2:34pm

Amazing to see a stat involving Asante Samuel and tackling - and it's positve!

by smellslikemike (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2011 - 9:47pm

because the Pats were terrible at 3rd down defense last year, is it possible Mayo had so many pass tackles because he was bad at coverage?

by mikelewski (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2011 - 8:43pm

These lists are completely useless and subjective. These are based on an "expert and intelligent analysis". Give me a break.

by Dean :: Thu, 06/30/2011 - 4:39pm

Well, I'm convinced. How can one possibly argue with such illumination? Sorry Aaron, I'm done with you.

by Nat1969 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/15/2011 - 7:26pm

RAIDER NATION, support STANFORD ROUTT #26, on his way to PRO BOWL and SUPER BOWL... Vote him in, tell everyone to vote when it starts and meawhile wear the button... http://www.picbadges.com/lets-vote-stanford-routt-raiders-cb-26-to-the-p... and check out the SUPER BOWL HOTELS http://14sb.com and http://2020Hotels.com . to vote GO here.. http://www.nfl.com/probowl/ballot?pos=CB&optid=622592_02_1_28 , click on DEFENSE then CB and at the bottom left is STANFORD ROUTT, (10 tackles this week-end, WOW), click on STANFORD the at the bottom right click on SUBMIT BALLOT. Do it and REPEAT; you can vote as many times as possible... THANKS for your support!

by Nat1969 :: Fri, 12/16/2011 - 6:37pm

THANKS for your support!