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Playoffs
03-29-2012, 04:18 PM
2011 Run Stop Percentage: Linebackers (http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/03/29/2011-run-stop-percentage-linebackers/)
March 29th, 2012 | Author: Khaled Elsayed

If there’s one thing that irritates me more than anything, it’s people quoting tackle numbers at me as if a high tackle count automatically makes a player great. It doesn’t.

There are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration when looking at the tackle stat, and being the type of people we are at Pro Football Focus, we go through them. The outcome? Well, we’ve got a stat that does a far better job of giving you an idea of which players are the most impactful run defenders in the league.

Yes, it’s our Run Stop Percentage Signature Stat, and for this piece we’re examining all linebackers (except those who play outside in a 3-4) who were in run defense for at least 200 snaps. That gives us 82 to dissect with some stats you won’t see anywhere else.

What’s in a Tackle?
Where better to start than looking at our tackle numbers? You’ll notice these are always different to the official ones as we have the rather easier job of jotting them down retrospectively. As for the player who leads the way, it’s none other than D’Qwell Jackson who recorded 19 more tackles than any other linebacker in run defense. Astonishing. In years gone by, the 74 tackles (not including assists) that London Fletcher managed would have led the way, but he could only manage the second spot in 2011, one ahead of Derrick Johnson in third.

Here are the Top 10 tacklers in run defense from 2011:
Rank Name Team Tackles
1 D'Qwell Jackson CLV 94
2 London Fletcher WAS 75
3 Derrick O. Johnson KC 74
4 James Laurinaitis SL 70
5 Pat Angerer IND 68
6 Donald Butler SD 65
7 Chad Greenway MIN 64
8t Ray Lewis BLT 60
8t James Anderson CAR 60
10t Curtis Lofton ATL 59
10t Nick Barnett BUF 59

So What?
But there’s an inherit problem in comparing the number of tackles each player made: some players are on the field more often than others. Until we came along there really was no way of looking at how many tackles a player made relative to how many snaps he played. Fortunately, we record every player on every play, and as a result we can tell you that no player in the NFL had a higher percentage of his plays in the run game end with him making a tackle than Desmond Bishop. He picked up a tackle on a rather remarkable 21.71% of all plays he was in on in run defense. That was significantly better than the man in second place (Donald Butler), who himself had a decent sized gap to third place (where Ray Lewis is firmly situated).

Rank Name Team Run Snaps Tackles Tackle %
1 Desmond Bishop GB 258 56 21.71%
2 Donald Butler SD 328 65 19.82%
3 Ray Lewis BLT 322 60 18.63%
4 NaVorro Bowman SF 315 58 18.41%
5 D'Qwell Jackson CLV 511 94 18.40%
6 London Fletcher WAS 408 75 18.38%
7 Joe Mays DEN 322 58 18.01%
8 Curtis Lofton ATL 343 59 17.20%
9 Brian Cushing HST 330 56 16.97%
10 Dan Connor CAR 281 47 16.73%

But Tackling Numbers are Limited, Right?
While Tackles Per Snap is a more meaningful number than simple tackles, it still doesn’t address one fatal problem with the tackle number: it doesn’t tell you where it happened and whether or not it represented a win for the defense. For this you need to look at the Defensive Stop stat that measures where a tackle was made relative to the down and distance. D’Qwell Jackson is at the top much as he was in the tackle stat, but it’s worth noting that while he had 20 more tackles than Derrick Johnson, he only managed two more stops.

Rank Name Team Run Snaps Tackles Stops
1 D'Qwell Jackson CLV 511 94 52
2 Derrick O. Johnson KC 476 74 50
3 Joe Mays DEN 322 58 46
4 Brian Cushing HST 330 56 46
5 NaVorro Bowman SF 315 58 45
6 Ray Lewis BLT 322 60 44
7 E.J. Henderson MIN 369 58 44
8 Curtis Lofton ATL 343 59 43
9 Daryl Smith JAX 404 51 43
10 Lance Briggs CHI 362 49 41
11 London Fletcher WAS 408 75 41

Which Brings Us to the Run Stop % …
To fully appreciate the how many stops a defender has made, you need to once again look at how much they’re on the field. That’s what brought the Run Stop Percentage Signature Stat to life; that desire to measure how often defenders were responsible for offensive failures relative to how often they were on the field. It’s through this stat we see that the Denver Broncos may have scored themselves a bargain with the re-signing of Joe Mays, as their middle linebacker led the league with a stop percentage of 14.29%. He was joined at the top by NaVorro Bowman who had an identical number as both men frequently left their mark on running backs.

Mays was one of a number of linebackers who were/ are free agents to fare well. Curtis Lofton was ranked sixth overall, a massive 42 spots ahead of a man he is likely to replace in Jonathan Vilma. The Henderson brothers also both impressed, with E.J. Henderson just edging out his brother Erin Henderson as they finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Cowboys fans will also be happy to note that Dan Connor excelled in this area (not a surprise to anyone who has watched him) with a 12th place finish. With Stephen Tulloch in 19th, this was certainly a year for teams to get linebackers who could make an impact in run D.

Rank Name Team Run Snaps Tackles Stops Stop %
1 Joe Mays DEN................ 322 58 46 14.29%
2 NaVorro Bowman SF....... 315 58 45 14.29%
3 Brian Cushing HST....... 330 56 46 13.94%
4 Ray Lewis BLT............... 322 60 44 13.66%
5 Perry Riley WAS............. 207 30 26 12.56%
6 Curtis Lofton ATL........... 343 59 43 12.54%
7 Donald Butler SD............. 328 65 40 12.20%
8 E.J. Henderson MIN......... 369 58 44 11.92%
9 Erin Henderson MIN......... 267 43 31 11.61%
10 Karlos Dansby MIA......... 317 48 36 11.36%
11 Lance Briggs CHI........... 362 49 41 11.33%
12 Dan Connor CAR............ 281 47 31 11.03%
13 Rey Maualuga CIN......... 318 49 35 11.01%
14 Colin McCarthy TEN....... 200 32 22 11.00%
15 Desmond Bishop GB........258 56 28 10.85%
16 Daryl Smith JAX............ 404 51 43 10.64%
17 Sean Lee DAL.............. 282 45 30 10.64%
18 Sean Weatherspoon ATL 341 43 36 10.56%
19 Stephen Tulloch DET..... 379 57 40 10.55%
20 Derrick O. Johnson KC.... 476 74 50 10.50%

Of course, there’s more to playing linebacker and contributing in run defense than making tackles and defensive stops–you need to be able to stand-up blockers, blow-up fullbacks, and re-direct runners–but it doesn’t hurt if you can make those plays that result in a defensive win. The Run Stop Percentage does as good a job as any at showing who is really getting it done.

Line_Producer
03-29-2012, 07:35 PM
Thank for posting, great read!

pec0sb0b
03-29-2012, 07:50 PM
Had just finished reading this article on PFF (my favorite source for meaningful statistics). Cushing is a beast.

Dutchrudder
03-30-2012, 12:04 AM
Obviously absent, Demeco Ryans. People who are upset about losing him should check this out. He ain't worth the money he was getting.

Alternatively, check out their WR article and see how high AJ rates on their yards per route stats. Very optomistic for AJ assuming hies healthy.

Playoffs
03-30-2012, 12:18 AM
Obviously absent, Demeco Ryans.
Demeco was in the bottom 5 in run-stop-percentage for LBs who took at least 50% of run snaps:


Rank...............................Run Snaps/Tackles/Assists/Missed/Stops/RS%
32 DeMeco Ryans HST...... 295 36 09 05 20 6.8
32 Mason Foster TB......... 409 44 11 10 28 6.8
34 David Harris NYJ.......... 401 46 09 01 27 6.7
35 A.J. Hawk GB.............. 300 35 07 05 17 5.7
36 Paris Lenon ARZ.......... 422 43 13 01 20 4.7

80tothezone
03-30-2012, 12:36 AM
Had just finished reading this article on PFF (my favorite source for meaningful statistics). Cushing is a beast.

please houston when the time comes pay that man.

drs23
03-30-2012, 03:16 PM
please houston when the time comes pay that man.

Oh, don't worry 80, The Cush Monster WILL be paid!