The fallacy of the NFL sack leaders
Posted 29 July 2013 - 06:30 PM
This held true back in '08 when people were trashing Schobel for his double-digit sack seasons, and seems to hold true again in 2012.
Here are all the players with 12 or more sacks.
JJ Watt - His 20.5 sack season was freakish. He did pile up 8.5 sacks in 3 games, recorded 1 sack in 11/16 games.
Aldon Smith. 19.5 sacks. 5.5 of them came in a single game against a horrific chicago OL. He recorded sacks in 10/16 games.
Von Miller: 18.5 sacks, 10 of them came in 4 games, but he amazingly did manage to record a sack in 12/16 games.
Cameron Wake: 15 sacks, 7.5 of which came in 2 games. He recorded a sack in 9/16 games.
Clay Matthews: 13 sacks, 6 of which came in 2 games. Recorded a sack in 8/12 games.
Geno Atkins: 12.5 sacks, 6 in 3 games. Recorded 1 sack in 9/16 games.
Charles Johnson: 12.5 sacks. ultmate hit or miss. 1 game with 3.5 sacks, 4 games with 2 sacks. Sacks in only 6/16 games.
Jared Allen: 12 sacks. 6 sacks in 3 games. 9/16 games with a sack.
So the data seems to bear out that the top players pile up large sack numbers in relatively few games. And unless one of your players puts up a freakish season for the ages (like Miller or Watt last season), the top sacks guys still go plenty of games without recording a sack.
Posted 29 July 2013 - 06:58 PM
Now, just because he was lacking compared to the above, or maybe even my own expectations... he's still our best DE, and he's still a good player.
Edited by Dorkington, 29 July 2013 - 06:59 PM.
Posted 29 July 2013 - 07:20 PM
You might also notice some other things:
1. Sack leaders often lead in QB pressures as well.
2. Sack leaders often get a lot of offensive attention, including double teams. Coaches do read stat sheets.
I'm sure you could devise a more comprehensive statistic to measure the effectiveness of DEs but sack totals are simple and a fair indicator.
Posted 29 July 2013 - 07:32 PM
Posted 29 July 2013 - 09:59 PM
It would be interesting to chart pressures too. Also the great pass rushers always seem to be a factor, even when they're doing nothing more than drawing double teams.
Mario Williams had sacks in 7 out of 16 games. Compared to the guys above, I'd say he was lacking.
FWIW, Mario had 7 sacks in the last 9 games and had sacks in 5 of those 9 games. All of these games came after his wrist surgery.
Interestingly he had zero sacks in the last 3 games.