As we continue to search for things to ponder football-wise while hoping the current labor talks evolve into an end of the lockout, another Football Outsiders breakdown brings us the subject of broken tackles on the defensive side for 2010. The Cards had a handful of players show up on the list.
FO makes it clear — and this almost goes without saying — that charting broken tackles is an inexact science at the very least. It’s like charting dropped passes in many ways; it’s always going to be a judgement call and even then, it is usually debatable. So keep that in mind. They are also working off TV video that doesn’t always provide the best angles. You have to take it for what it is worth. For instance, they have safety Adrian Wilson allowing a player to get away 16 times in 2010. That may or may not be totally exact, but they point out they only charted him with two such broken tackles in 2009, so it is the swing in statistics that is noteworthy.
Obviously, the Cards’ defense had it’s ups and downs in 2010. Realistically, given the talent level on all teams in the NFL, good and bad, it’s usually stuff like this — missed tackles, mental mistakes — that separate success and failure, moreso than a massive gap in talent (and why coach Ken Whisenhunt wanted to see his a handful or normally quality defenders be able to up their play in 2011 from 2010). Football Outsiders counted 28 defenders across the NFL with at least 10 broken tackles last season; four were Cards — Wilson, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (10), safety Kerry Rhodes (11) and linebacker Paris Lenon (14). If you have a shot to bring a guy down, you need to bring him down.
The other part of this study is how the percentages fall. FO bases their percentages on total tackles. I am not sure if they chart broken tackles via their own study or by NFL gamebook, but the totals are, not surprisingly, different than the coaches’ tallies that the Cardinals (and every team, for that matter) release.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, DRC, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Rhodes, Paris Lenon
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