Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Jun 2014

Mandatory Monday: Front Seven Ratings

Lots of FO analysis weaved into these ratings. After years working here in various capacities, I still discover new things hidden right under my nose, in plain sight. The defensive DVOA ratings against running backs and tight ends makes a fascinating indicator of the "shape" of a front seven's performance: maybe they are forcing tight ends and backs to block all the time, or covering them well, or abandoning too much in the name of pass rush (the Browns), leaving the screen and hot read game wide open. It's something to focus on when trying to figure out why some well-regarded, successful defense has a low sack total, or when a defense with a big-name pass-rush reputation doesn't get things done in other elements of the game.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 09 Jun 2014

7 comments, Last at 16 Jun 2014, 9:42pm by panthersnbraves


by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 06/10/2014 - 2:41pm

I was surprised at the Dolphins ranking as one of the worst front-seven's in the league. The linebacking is bad except for Misi, no doubt, but the DL is a team strength. DL and WR are the only units I'm not worried about this year.

Who, me?

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 06/10/2014 - 7:58pm

FO must disagree. They have the Fins 29th in run DVOA, 25th in run ALY, 28th in stuff rating and 2nd level run D, and otherwise mediocre in pass rush.

by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 06/10/2014 - 9:13pm

Do you mean the front seven or the DL? Overall they were mediocre on defense last year, so they must be not terrible at something, especially considering how awful the linebacking was. The secondary wasn't exactly star-studded, either.

I don't have any grades to go on, but I'd say Odrick and Oliver are solid starters, while Wake -who missed a lot of time last year- and Starks are great and very good, respectively. Expectations for Dion Jordan are very high after as well, as he's been having a very good offseason.

Improvement on run defense and TE/RB coverage are quite uncertain this year, but I'm pretty confident the pass rush will be fun to watch this year, health allowing.

Who, me?

by tuluse :: Wed, 06/11/2014 - 12:36am

Well it's a front 7 ranking, not a front 4. In Four Downs linebacker was just named the Dolphin's biggest hole on the roster.

Also, with a good d-line and bad linebackers, you would expect a good number of stuffs, but the Dolphins ranked 28th.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 06/11/2014 - 10:24am

Yeah, they were bad against the run, which was surprising because they were usually pretty good in that area from year to year. Again, the big change in personnel was the LBs, but I suppose some of those DTs didn't play as well as their reputation, either.

Who, me?

by johonny :: Wed, 06/11/2014 - 5:48pm

Jeff Ireland blew up the linebacker corps last year losing two good 30+ starters that played very good last year for other teams while signing two players that were younger but not nearly as good. While Ireland seemed to find front 4 help and Miami's front 4 appears to be okay with a solid DT and DE rotation he never drafted many quality line backers. There is little help with the young players, and last years starters are expensive iffy stopgaps. Currently the plan is to rotate the line backers in hopes that the play better in different roles. This is not very optimistic. There is little help in free agency or the draft so if they suck as bad in their new positions as they did last year...

by panthersnbraves :: Mon, 06/16/2014 - 9:42pm

I'll have to go back and look at the Panthers' Nickel Percentage. Their Front 7 was really their Front 6 and 1 (a decent enough LB or a pretty good Joker NB.) It will be interesting to see how they do this year with all the Secondary changes.