Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

29 Oct 2009

WaPo: Sack Leaders Aren't Built Overnight

This week's Washington Post stat column features a quick look at the Gaines Adams trade and early-career histories of recent sack kings, with the help of Defensive Similarity Scores put together by Vince Verhei.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 29 Oct 2009

5 comments, Last at 29 Oct 2009, 6:23pm by NWeb


by Soulless Mercha... :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 11:29am

Absolutely true. I've seen Bills fans online freak out over the lack of sacks from this year's first-round pick DE, Aaron Maybin, and I keep thinking of this fact. Defensive linemen take years to develop, dang it. Even the Greatest DE Who Ever Lived, Bruce Smith, praise be to his ass-kicking name, wasn't great his rookie season.

Maybin may not work out, but how the hell can you say he's a bust after seven games into his rookie season?


by Sifter :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 4:48pm

Yeah indeed. Look at Manny Lawson who was slammed by 49ers fans for a year or two, now they don't mind him. It's called coaching and development people...

And for Gaines, just look at a guy picked in top 10 the year after him, Vernon Gholston. Now THERE's a man who's done bugger all so far. Chris Long hasn't been great either from what I hear. But it's early days yet, I personally think Gaines will do pretty well in Chicago.

by Bobman :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 2:25pm

Further emphasizing the greatness that is Dwight Freeney (and, Jared Allen). I know Freeney only started half his rookie year and led all rookies in sacks, over #2 pick Julius Peppers (who started 12 games because he missed 4 with a suspension and won DROY). As they said back then, the only person who can stop Freeney is Tony Dungy. Strangely, because Freeney takes up so much of the OC's time and energy, Mathis on the other end gets less attention and has out-sacked him the past three years.

Now onto forced fumble stats.... where these two guys and Allen are pretty much on their own at the top, I believe.

by NWeb (not verified) :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 6:23pm

Not sure that Mathis and Harrison don't belong up there on the FF front.

Tried recently looking at the most "efficient" fumble forcers - ie: fumbles forced / hits - some interesting stuff. I think ideally there is some expectation for a tackle on a particular player (QB, RB, WR)in a particular area of the field (behind line, beyond line) causing a fumble. For example QB sacks cause more fumbles than RB stuffs. May be worth comparing guys on their ability to force fumbles within the context of these types of hits - and potentially their position as well. What's more impressive on Mathis is that he's forcing them from the strong side which certainly complicates the strip-sack.

by NWeb (not verified) :: Thu, 10/29/2009 - 6:15pm

I recall an article prior to what was, i believe, his third season in which Dr.Z referred to Neil Smith as a potential top 10 all time draft bust. This after 2.5 sacks in his rookie year - nice arc for Neil though 2.5, 6.5, 9.5, 8, 14, 15 . . . Never was sure the degree to which those figures should have been netted against his offsides calls - man was he jumpy.