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Avoiding sacks

Posted by Darren Urban on June 7, 2011 – 9:29 am

The website ProFootballFocus.com posted a study yesterday about different ways teams handled pass-rush pressure last year and how it broke down in terms of “blame” for the offensive line, other skill positions when blocking and on the quarterback (Kent Somers broke it down further in terms of the Cardinals here.) The Cardinals actually weren’t as low as some might expect — 22nd in terms of pressure per play in the NFL, 23rd with the offensive line allowing pressure per play and, somewhat surprisingly, only 10th when it came to “QB-invited” pressures. It’s worth noting that the worst team in the NFL in allowing pressures per play was Pittsburgh at more than 50 percent of the time. The Steelers, who just happened to make the Super Bowl.

It goes to show that a) Ben Roethlisberger probably makes more plays with his feet than anything and b) a good quarterback changes the equation with things like this.

That’s why today’s PFF post about the percentage of times a team allowed pressure to become a sack becomes even more relevant. Is it any surprise that the best two teams in the league when it comes to making sure pressure doesn’t become a killer sack have quarterbacks named Manning? Eli and the Giants are first, Peyton and the Colts are second. Roethlisberger still takes too many sacks — the Steelers were 27th — but his percentage was still a tick better than the 28th-ranked Cardinals, who at 17.86 percent were 28th in the NFL. The Bears, Seahawks, Ravens and Panthers were worse.

I’d be curious to know what the Cards’ percentage was in 2009 when Kurt Warner was still QB.


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Posted in Blog | 4 Comments »


4 Responses to “Avoiding sacks”

  1. By Peter in Canada on Jun 7, 2011 | Reply

    I too would be curious to know about 2009 but my guess is we looked a lot better. Warner was brought up in the Arena league and then worked under Mike Martz with often times five pass receivers running routes. His health depended on makiing quick reads and getting rid of the ball quickly, two factors which were often absent last year.

  2. By D on Jun 7, 2011 | Reply

    The longer the lockout goes, the more likely we will not see any significant changes on the O line, besides Faneca’s old spot

  3. By Matt H on Jun 7, 2011 | Reply

    That tells me the Mannings are wusses

  4. By Jeff Gollin on Jun 8, 2011 | Reply

    So what you’re saying is that the percentage of hurries that wind up being sacks is the most relevant available pass pro stat.

    It makes sense – inferring that the difference between how quickly Warner got rid of the ball and how, say, Skelton, Hall (& Leinart!!!) got rid of the ball is, perhaps, “the” critical factor in how successful our passing attack turned out to be.

    To a point, but it doesn’t reflect the whole story:

    – The total number of hurries does reflect on the job our pass blockers are doing and also provides the potential-“umbrella” for the total number of times our QB’s needed to get rid of the ball quickly.

    – The “sacks to hurries” ratio doesn’t factor in “outcomes” in the form of passes completed (i.e. when Warner pulled the trigger, he’d complete a higher percentage of certain kinds of passes than would the less experienced Skelton, Hall or Leinart because he was better at reading defenses, sorting out his options and making quick, accurate decisions).

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