Pro Football Weekly has an interview with Bart Scott (hat tip: PFT) that discusses Rex Ryan's love of the blitz.
PFW: Ryan’s defense has the reputation of being very blitz-happy. Is that accurate?
Scott: A lot of people think that we blitz a lot, but when you break it down and see how many people are actually rushing, it’s usually not more than four. So if only four people are rushing, how is it a blitz? It’s all about switching up your rushes and not having a blueprint. If you’re constantly changing things up, how are teams going to get a read on you and expect you to be in certain places at certain times? You can’t.
Is Scott correct? Well, this is the exact sort of question the Game Charting Project can answer.
The answer is, somehow, both yes and no. Here's the Ravens' blitz frequencies in 2008:
Scott is technically right -- the Ravens did blitz four or fewer 64 percent of the time. However, as you can see from their league-wide ranks, they blitzed five or more far more than the average team.
They did not, however, lead the league in blitzes of five players or more.
|Team||3-4 Rushers||5+ Rushers||% of Plays
So then, it all depends on your baseline. If your baseline is in a vacuum, Scott is right. If your baseline is the rest of the league, Scott is wrong.
Of course, if you want to get this sort of information for every team, you can head to our Online Store and purchase the PDF of Football Outsiders Almanac 2009.