Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Oct 2013

Early Leaders in FO Defensive Stats

Here's a look at some of the early leaders in FO defensive stats. (At some point, we're going to work it so we update these on the site weekly, I swear.) These are all stats based on play-by-play, not game charting.

Some definitions to remind you:

Plays include (almost) any time a defender is listed in the standard play-by-play: tackles, assists, passes defensed, interceptions, fumbles forced, sacks. It does not include QB hits or fumble recoveries.

Defeats total up tackles for a loss, tackles/PDs to prevent conversion on third- or fourth-down, and turnovers forced.

Pass Stops are tackles on pass plays which prevent success according to the FO definition of a successful play (45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down, or 100 percent on third and fourth down).

Highest Rate of Involvement in Team Defensive Plays
Linebackers, Weeks 1-5
Player Team Plays Rate
55-L.Briggs CHI 56 21.1%
55-V.Burfict CIN 51 20.3%
51-P.Posluszny JAC 53 20.2%
59-L.Kuechly CAR 40 20.2%
53-N.Bowman SF 51 19.8%
50-S.Lee DAL 52 19.5%
51-J.Mayo NE 50 19.2%
51-D.Smith BAL 50 19.0%
56-K.Dansby ARI 50 18.8%
52-D.Jackson CLE 50 18.0%
Highest Rate of Involvement in Team Defensive Plays
Defensive Backs, Weeks 1-5
Player Team Plays Rate
42-B.Church DAL 42 15.7%
29-E.Thomas SEA 38 15.7%
31-B.Pollard TEN 39 15.1%
33-D.Ihenacho DEN 39 14.9%
23-M.Barron TB 32 14.7%
32-E.Weddle SD 37 14.6%
21-R.Mundy NYG 41 14.5%
25-R.Clark PIT 29 14.4%
22-H.Smith MIN 33 14.3%
41-A.Bethea IND 35 14.0%
Highest Rate of Involvement in Team Defensive Plays
Defensive Linemen, Weeks 1-5
Player Team Plays Rate
99-J.Watt HOU 31 13.4%
91-S.Richardson NYJ 25 10.5%
76-G.Hardy CAR 19 9.6%
96-C.Dunlap CIN 24 9.6%
50-R.Ninkovich NE 24 9.2%
99-M.Dareus BUF 25 9.0%
99-L.Houston OAK 23 8.7%
93-T.Kelly NE 22 8.5%
91-C.Peters ATL 20 8.4%
90-S.McLendon PIT 17 8.4%
Most Defeats, Weeks 1-5
Player Team Pos Dfts
55-L.Briggs CHI OLB 18
99-J.Watt HOU DE 16
50-J.Houston KC OLB 15
54-L.David TB OLB 13
51-D.Smith BAL ILB 12
59-L.Kuechly CAR MLB 12
96-C.Dunlap CIN DE 12
98-R.Mathis IND OLB 12
53-N.Bowman SF ILB 11
56-B.Cushing HOU ILB 11
55-T.Suggs BAL OLB 11
59-M.Foster TB MLB 11
94-K.Burnett OAK OLB 11
91-S.Richardson NYJ DE 11
Most Tackles after Receptions, Weeks 1-5
Player Team Pos Pass Tkl Pass Stop
27-R.McClain ATL CB 25 7
50-S.Lee DAL MLB 25 3
54-D.Levy DET OLB 24 8
42-B.Church DAL FS 24 4
21-J.Robinson MIN CB 23 7
55-V.Burfict CIN OLB 23 5
32-T.Mathieu ARI FS 23 5
26-C.Williams PHI CB 23 4
29-N.Allen PHI FS 23 2
55-L.Briggs CHI OLB 22 5
24-B.Flowers KC CB 22 3
23-T.Newman CIN CB 21 6
Most Stops after Receptions, Weeks 1-5
Player Team Pos Pass Tkl Pass Stop
32-E.Weddle SD FS 17 9
54-D.Levy DET OLB 24 8
52-D.Jackson CLE ILB 20 8
52-D.Harris NYJ ILB 20 8
94-K.Burnett OAK OLB 19 8
30-J.McCourty TEN CB 19 8
55-S.Tulloch DET MLB 15 8
50-C.Lofton NO ILB 14 8
91-M.Lawson BUF OLB 10 8

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 11 Oct 2013

4 comments, Last at 14 Oct 2013, 2:17pm by tuluse


by Topas :: Sat, 10/12/2013 - 6:01am

Interesting. JJ Watts is insane. He gets all the attention from O Lines (I assume) and nonetheless he is the most involved DLiner in the League. Insane.

And I do not knwo what to do with the numbers for tackle after reception. I would think that is a bad thing, right? Depending on the down and distance. This is only helpful in combination with yards. Or defeats, what was added below.

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 10/12/2013 - 12:25pm

Yeah. Everyone's gameplanning around him, and he still has 16 defeats when no other DL has more than 12, and a big gap between him in the number two guy in play percentage too. He is probably both the best run defender and best pass defender in the league at any position. I have to assume he will be a very, very rich man when he gets extended next summer. Also, barring injury, he is going to have two games against Jacksonville, no-OTs edition, this season. That could be truly ugly.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 1:46pm

"And I do not knwo what to do with the numbers for tackle after reception. I would think that is a bad thing, right?"

It doesn't really mean anything. It's an interesting number, but not really meaningful without knowing the player's role in the defense.

Often safeties making tackles after receptions means they're doing their jobs. Cornerback? Depends on where the tackle was made, and whether the CB was the primary defender. Linebacker? Depends on the defense, the play, and the call.

For example, in NE, Mayo is the fastest linebacker, and often does a lot of cleaning up for Spikes when they're in 3 LB set.He makes a lot of tackles on guys where hes not the primary defender.

by tuluse :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:17pm

It's better to tackle a receiver after a reception, than not to, but it's better still to prevent the reception in the first place. I don't think the numbers by themselves are very meaningful, they need more context.