Quentin: Since I didn't see it mentioned in the book, I was wondering if anyone managed to snap Ronde Barber's streak as the king of run support. Did he still manage to lead all corners in tackles on running plays, or did someone outdo him this year? Also curious about the league-leading cornerback in yards from scrimmage allowed in tackles on running plays.
Barber did in fact lose his title as king of run support last year, after leading all cornerbacks in run tackles for three seasons. This may be related to the fact that Tampa Bay ran a Cover-4 scheme the majority of the time last year, rather than their well-known Tampa-2 that keeps the cornerbacks in zones close to the line of scrimmage. Barber fell from 43 run tackles in 2006 to just 19 in 2007, tied for 26th among cornerbacks. Instead, the leading tacklers on run plays were Nate Clements, Cortland Finnegan, and Champ Bailey, 32 each, and Marlin Jackson with 31. (Jackson had more than Barber in 2006, but he was playing safety most of the time.)
Barber still did a good job of making tackles close to the line when he was playing the run, however. Here are the leaders in Stop Rate (defined here) on running plays among cornerbacks with at least 15 run tackles.
Antoine Winfield, MIN: 83% (average 2.4 yards)
Ronde Barber, TB: 63% (average 4.2 yards)
Richard Marshall, CAR: 63% (average 6.0 yards)
Brian Williams, JAC: 63% (average 4.6 yards)
Hank Poteat, NYJ: 61% (average 5.4 yards)
Ike Taylor, PIT: 61% (average 4.0 yards)
Nick Harper, TEN: 61% (average 5.0 yards)
Nate Clements led the league in raw total of "successful" run tackles, with 18 out of 32 tackles (Stop Rate of 56%).
The good news for readers interested in more of our defensive stats: We're working on a "player cards" addition to the FO Premium Database that will include both offensive and defensive players, with stats like Stop Rate and Defeats as well as split counts of run and pass tackles going back to 2000. It probably won't be ready until midseason, but we're getting there. Something to look forward to.