32 Teams, 32 Observations, Week 6

| October 20, 2011

We’ve had so much talk about quarterbacks on pace to break records and how good they’ve been, and I’m tired of it. Because of that, in this week’s 32 Teams, 32 Observations, we’re going to get defensive.
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Each of the following observations will come from the defensive side of the ball … bite-sized bits to give you some idea of who’s standing out in good ways (and bad) when we dig into the numbers.
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AFC EAST
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Buffalo Bills: While the team has been good at bringing pressure, they haven’t been as good at actually getting to the quarterback. They have just five total sacks, with no individual having more than one.

Miami Dolphins: Their leader in stops is Yeremiah Bell with 12; tied for the lowest total for a team leader.

New England Patriots: While some thought Andre Carter would retire because no one came after him in free agency, he is now second among 4-3 defensive ends with a +7.2 run defense rating.

New York Jets: When people talk of the top Jets defenders, Calvin Pace’s name isn’t usually at the top of the list. His 21 stops, though, are dominating all other 3-4 outside linebackers.
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AFC NORTH
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Baltimore Ravens: Future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis is just as good as ever, with 21 stops over the past four games. Only four other inside/middle linebackers have more on the season

Cincinnati Bengals: Previously known most for his hair, Domata Peko this year is known for his tackling. No other defensive tackle has brought down more runners than Peko with 21 tackles and five assists.

Cleveland Browns: Safety Usama Young has been in coverage on 76 plays this season. He has been thrown at just once, and on that play he had an interception.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Safety Troy Polamalu has six passed deflected. Only one other safety has more than three.
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AFC SOUTH
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Houston Texans: By far the best pass rushing inside linebacker this season has been Brian Cushing. He’s had 20 overall pressures; eight more than anyone else.

Indianapolis Colts: Predictably, over 61% of the Colts pressure has come from the duo of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars are one of just a few teams at the bottom of the league in terms of batted passes with just one.

Tennessee Titans: Last year Jason Jones was able to get pressure on 1-in-11 pass plays. This year he has only been able to get pressure once every 20.
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AFC WEST
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Denver Broncos: While Champ Bailey’s return to the line-up will help the secondary; it can only help so much. The top four defensive backs without him have a combined -17.7 coverage rating.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs have had a number of problems, but the run defense isn’t one of them. Nine of the 11 starters have positive run D ratings.

Oakland Raiders:  After starting the past two games, rookie cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke has only allowed 35.3% of passes thrown his way to be caught (6 of 17); third best in the league.

San Diego Chargers: While Takeo Spikes was supposed to be a large upgrade on defense, he has already had two games with a negative run defense rating; as many as last year.
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NFC EAST
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Dallas Cowboys: While Sean Lee has surrendered among the most completions into his coverage, he has three interceptions which is more than any non-defensive back.

New York Giants: Safety Antrel Rolle leads all safeties in both stops (22), and passing yards allowed (318).

Philadelphia Eagles: One of the problems the Eagles’ defense has had is missed tackles. So far they’ve missed 44; tied for the league lead.

Washington Redskins: While London Fletcher-Baker has been thrown at 13 times, he has only allowed two catches. The catch rate of 15.4% is by far the best for inside linebackers.
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NFC NORTH
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Chicago Bears: The Bears have eight players with at least 10 stops; more players than any other team.

Detroit Lions: So far Stephen Tulluch has been an upgrade for the Lions. He has only allowed 37 yards in coverage – the fewest for linebackers that have played at least half of their team’s snaps.

Green Bay Packers: The Packers only have two players with more than 11 stops; Desmond Bishop with 21 and Clay Matthews with 14.

Minnesota Vikings: Cornerback Cedric Griffin has had a penalty problem. He tops all cornerbacks in penalties accepted with six, as well as penalties declined with four.
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NFC SOUTH
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Atlanta Falcons: No player on their team has more than two sacks.

Carolina Panthers: Investing in Charles Johnson has paid off so far, as he’s come up with over half of the team’s sacks with five of their nine.

New Orleans Saints: Safety Roman Harper has four sacks on the season; twice as many as any other safety

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cornerback Ronde Barber is known for his versatility, but this year he has eight missed tackles;
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NFC WEST
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Arizona Cardinals: In the past four games, cornerback A.J. Jefferson has had at least two passes deflected in each game. He is now leading the league with nine deflections.

St Louis Rams:  The Rams have had 12 different defensive players register a QB hit or a sack.

San Francisco 49ers: If you’re confused as to why the 49ers are doing so well, one of the many reasons is this: they have only missed 17 tackles thus far; tied for lowest in the league.

Seattle Seahawks: The pass rush in Seattle has been a one man force with Chris Clemons generating 25 of the team’s 77 pressures this year.
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Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke and check out our main Twitter feed too: @ProFootbalFocus
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