Meet Eric Olsen

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  Eric Olsen (born June 16, 1988) is an American football center for the New Orleans Saints of theNational Football League. He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played collegiately for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He...

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Meet David Hawthorne

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David Hawthorne (born May 14, 1985) is an American football linebacker for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He played college football at TCU. Seattle Seahawks Hawthorne received his first start...

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Will Smith’s tackling efficiency analysis by Monson of ProFootball Focus

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Will Smith’s tackling efficiency analysis by Monson of ProFootball Focus

Monson has the tenacity to perform the homework and brings home some great analysis  

Three Years of Tackling Efficiency: Edge Rushers

July 7th, 2012 | Author: 

Our three-year look at missed tackles has focused primarily on the back seven on defense, but today we’re moving toward the line of scrimmage.

We’ve combined 3-4 outside linebackers with 4-3 defensive ends to produce a list of ‘edge rushers’ and run the missed tackle numbers for them all. What we find is the biggest spread in performance yet, ranging from the near-perfect to the worryingly poor.

 

As a reminder, Tackling Efficiency is a simple ratio of missed tackles to number of attempts: Solo tackles + Assists + Misses / Missed Tackles = TE. As with the other studies, we imposed a threshold of 1,200 snaps for a player to meet before they were included in the list. This eliminated all rookies and provided a healthy sample size or more than a full season’s worth of play over the past three years.

 

The Active Outside

No edge rusher has made more tackles over the past three years than the Cowboys’ Anthony Spencer. The Dallas defender gets criticized for failing to deliver big sack numbers opposite DeMarcus Ware, but a closer look reveals Spencer does bring pressure, and is an extremely active and effective player against the run. Over the past three seasons he has notched 162 solo tackles and 23 assists and earned a +35.2PFF grade for his work in the run game. Spencer may never be the player Dallas fans want him to be, but it would be a mistake to write him off as inadequate; he is a solid performer in all areas of the game.

Close behind Spencer is Pittsburgh’s James Harrison, who has recorded 155 solo and 29 assisted tackles over the same period. Harrison is a player that has a legitimate case to be called the best outside linebacker in football, bringing a devastating pass rush along with prolific tackling. These two players are some way clear of the chasing pack in terms of their volume of tackling alone.

 

Rank Player Snaps Tks Ass Tot Tkls
1 Anthony Spencer 2888 162 23 185
2 James Harrison 2735 155 29 184
3 Kamerion Wimbley 3113 133 26 159
4 Terrell Suggs 2807 117 30 147
5 Mario Haggan 1948 124 18 142
6 Calvin Pace 2354 125 16 141
7 Trent Cole 2500 115 21 136
8 Manny Lawson 1982 121 14 135
9 Clark Haggans 2547 116 17 133
9 Tamba Hali 3142 109 24 133

 

Missing Many

Here is where the angry Dallas fans do have something they can rightly complain about, because in addition to leading the edge rushers in tackles made over the past three seasons, Spencer has also led them in missed tackles over that period with 18. To be fair to him, he is tied for the lead with the Patriots’ Rob Ninkovich, who has missed the same number with a little more than half of Spencer’s tackle count.

Clark Haggans, a player that always looked a little light for the position, is next in line with 17 misses, one ahead of the Jets’ Calvin Pace. Next follows a trio of players with 15 missed tackles: Tamba HaliClay Matthews and Brian Orakpo prove that missing tackles won’t hold you back from becoming an elite playmaker if you can do everything else pretty well.

 

Rank Player Snaps MT
1 Anthony Spencer 2888 18
1 Rob Ninkovich 1568 18
3 Clark Haggans 2547 17
4 Calvin Pace 2354 16
5 Tamba Hali 3142 15
5 Brian Orakpo 2834 15
5 Clay Matthews 2707 15
8 Trent Cole 2500 14
8 Lamarr Woodley 2506 14
10 Manny Lawson 1982 13
10 Justin Tuck 2206 13

 

The Good and Bad of the TE Ratio

Now we get down to the important part–the players who have managed the best and worst ratios when it comes to missed tackles.

At the top we find Alex Brown, who despite not playing in 2011, was good enough in the two seasons prior to miss just a single tackle on 68 attempts. He is followed by Elvis Dumervil, who is, it turns out, a very reliable tackler in addition to being a speedy pass-rusher. Dumervil has also only missed one tackle, although with fewer opportunities than Brown, with 61 attempts.

Derrick Harvey might be seen as a significant draft bust, but he also has just the lone missed tackle to his name over the past three seasons from his 59 attempts. Those three players have a significant gap at the top of the table, with the next man up having a ratio of one miss for every 31.8 attempts (Spencer Johnson).

 

Rank Player Snaps Tks Ass MT Tackling Efficiency
1 Alex Brown 1448 60 7 1 68.0
2 Elvis Dumervil 1743 51 9 1 61.0
3 Derrick Harvey 1300 50 8 1 59.0
4 Spencer Johnson 1686 104 19 4 31.8
5 Bryan Thomas 1624 79 7 3 29.7
6 Israel Idonije 2126 70 14 3 29.0
7 Lawrence Jackson 1221 63 10 3 25.3
8 Ahmad Brooks 1713 56 12 3 23.7
9 James Hall 2278 118 12 6 22.7
10 Tyler Brayton 1914 72 14 4 22.5
11 Andre Carter 2483 89 17 5 22.2
12 Jason Hunter 1672 87 17 5 21.8
13 William Hayes 1569 61 20 4 21.3
14 Stylez G. White 1331 48 10 3 20.3
15 Tim Crowder 1362 63 11 4 19.5

 

The player with the most misses, Ninkovich, also holds the worst ratio among edge rushers with a miss every 6.9 attempts. That’s not quite Asante Samuel territory, but for a linebacker like him it’s a pretty poor ratio, especially given how many of them came against Tim Tebow and the Broncos’ option offense. One of Ninkovich’s former teammates, Tully Banta-Cain is next up with a miss every 7.5 attempts andDwight Freeney is close behind with a miss every 7.8 attempts.

People have accused PFF of being a little too hard on Jason Pierre-Paul after the season he had, but we can’t deny there was negative in that season as well. A double-digit total of missed tackles left him with a ratio of a miss every 8.1 attempts and landed him in the Bottom 5 league-wide. As we have discussed before, missed tackles don’t preclude you from great play, but they’re always going to drag your performance down somewhat, and it’s an area we would look for JPP to improve on as he goes forwards.

John Abraham and Lamarr Woodley are another pair of big name pass rushers with poor ratios that find themselves in the Bottom 10 (along with Matthews and Chris Clemons) while Julius Peppers only narrowly escapes that unwanted distinction.

 

Rank Player Snaps Tks Ass MT Tackling Efficiency
1 Rob Ninkovich 1568 84 23 18 6.9
2 Tully Banta-Cain 1418 63 8 11 7.5
3 Dwight Freeney 2094 22 12 5 7.8
4 Jason Pierre-Paul 1380 59 12 10 8.1
5 Robert Geathers 2159 58 30 12 8.3
6 John Abraham 1950 72 9 11 8.4
7 Will Smith 2534 66 17 11 8.5
8 Juqua Parker 1484 48 5 7 8.6
9 Lamarr Woodley 2506 92 16 14 8.7
10 Clark Haggans 2547 116 17 17 8.8
11 Mike Vrabel 1705 78 17 12 8.9
12 Chris Clemons 2015 54 10 8 9.0
13 Clay Matthews 2707 101 20 15 9.1
13 Julius Peppers 2670 81 8 11 9.1
13 Jason Taylor 1963 58 7 8

 

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