Posted in NFL Stats

In-depth look at pressure not just sacks

by Roland Johnson on September 4, 2009

Most pundits & fans equate pressure as being a team’s flamboyant like ability

Adams sacking Falcons QB Matt Ryan

Adams sacking Falcons QB Matt Ryan

to sack an opposing quarterback. But what we here at Bucs Central think of when we reference the word pressure is the entire entity of a team’s relentless ability to effectively rattle, force into, or cause a quarterback to either hold onto the football, with just indecisiveness, make a bad decision or break the timing an rhythm in the passing game between receivers and quarterbacks.

The false sense that many get when glancing at the sack totals from last year is that because a team has a high number of sack they must be better at applying pressure then a team with a limited number of sacks, but this is where the naiveness comes in. By just looking at sacks as the only barometer to judge a team’s ability to effectively harass opposing quarterbacks you are leaving out two very important stats that ultimately have the same effect or ability to apply just as much doubt or inept decision making from a quarterback.

They are not widely discussed or even main stream, they are QB HITS & QB PRESSURES after crunching the numbers from 2008 using sacks, QB hits & QB pressures to determine pressure percentage where all three of the stats are used to effectively calculate a teams ability to get after the quarterback. We get a much clearer look at how often a defense got pressure per passing attempt, not just sacks, but anything that caused the QB to escape the pocket, force a bad throw or cause the QB to take a hit right at the second he releases the football.

The following is the complete list.

Team Sacks QB Hits QB Pres. Total Pres. Pass Att. % Pres. Pres. per Att.
Minnesota Vikings 45 79 192 316 530 60% 1.68
Dallas Cowboys 58 71 147 276 508 54% 1.84
Philadelphia Eagles 48 53 165 266 525 51% 1.97
Tennessee Titans 44 77 164 285 575 50% 2.02
Baltimore Ravens 33 66 153 252 528 48% 2.10
Carolina Panthers 37 49 178 264 557 47% 2.11
Oakland Raiders 32 34 154 220 471 47% 2.14
New England Patriots 30 49 137 216 474 46% 2.19
New York Giants 42 50 132 224 503 45% 2.25
Atlanta Falcons 33 54 155 242 549 44% 2.27
Arizona Cardinals 31 56 128 215 517 42% 2.40
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29 55 113 197 475 41% 2.41
Pittsburgh Steelers 51 47 121 219 533 41% 2.43
Green Bay Packers 34 58 120 212 518 41% 2.44
Jacksonville Jaguars 29 43 118 190 465 41% 2.45
Houston Texans 25 45 121 191 471 41% 2.47
Seattle Seahawks 35 49 139 223 566 39% 2.54
Indianapolis Colts 30 37 122 189 481 39% 2.54
Detroit Lions 28 36 110 174 443 39% 2.55
New Orleans Saints 28 39 136 203 526 39% 2.59
New York Jets 40 31 145 216 572 38% 2.65
Washington Redskins 24 48 120 192 511 38% 2.66
San Francisco 49ers 30 41 124 195 545 36% 2.79
St. Louis Rams 30 31 96 157 444 35% 2.83
Chicago Bears 27 53 138 218 622 35% 2.85
Miami Dolphins 40 42 109 191 551 35% 2.88
Cleveland Browns 17 44 120 181 541 33% 2.99
Kansas City Chiefs 10 32 131 173 522 33% 3.02
San Diego Chargers 27 28 135 190 605 31% 3.18
Denver Broncos 25 29 94 148 495 30% 3.34
Buffalo Bills 23 32 90 145 492 29% 3.39
Cincinnati Bengals 17 35 96 148 506 29% 3.42
NFL Average 32 47 131 210 519 41% 2.54

Even, though the Dallas Cowboys had the most sacks last season with 58, they were not the best team when is comes to pressure percentage per pass attempt. That honor goes to the Minnesota Vikings who managed to pressure the QB once every 1.68 pass attempts.

Also it’s worth noting that even though the Kansas City Chiefs were dead last registering a meager 10 sacks through 16 games, they were not the worst at applying pressure, that dubious honor goes to the Cincinnati Bengals who managed to have the worst percentage of any team with a 3.42% meaning that they were able to apply pressure once every 3.42 pass attempts.

The NFL average for pressure per pass attempt in 2008 was 2.54.

Though the Bucs ranked 20th in sacks, they ranked 13th in pressures per pass attempt.

Four of the bottom five teams spent first round picks on prospects, that either play defensive end or outside rush linebacker positions, while one drafted a player that many had graded as a first round talent, but fell to the third round.

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