After three straight weeks of not mentioning any defensive players, it is time for the 32 Observations series to show the defenders in the league some love. Here you’ll find anything from how teams are using their players to when they are successful to any other interesting tidbit I found when researching.
Buffalo Bills: There have been six plays where an offensive player was thrown at behind the line of scrimmage and Manny Lawson was the man in coverage. The offense has only been able to manage 3 total yards on those six plays, with five of the six being coverage stops for Lawson.
Miami Dolphins: Of the 31 times that Nolan Carroll has been the man in coverage on a targeted pass, six have come on plays where the receiver was running a ‘go’ route. Carroll did not allow a catch on any of those six passes.
New England Patriots: This year the Patriots have put their cornerbacks in press coverage more than any other team. All four of their cornerbacks with significant playing time rank in the Top 7 in terms of percentage of plays lining up in press. Alfonzo Dennard is at the top at 78.2%, followed by Kyle Arrington at 71.7%, Logan Ryan at 65.3% and Aqib Talib at 63.1%.
New York Jets: Cornerback Kyle Wilson has the lowest Yards Per Coverage Snap in the league at 0.53.
Baltimore Ravens: Inside linebacker Daryl Smith has a Yards Per Coverage Snap of 0.44, which is the lowest for all inside/middle linebackers who have been targeted 19 or more times.
Cincinnati Bengals: Backup Defensive End Wallace Gilberry has rushed the passer 21 times on third downs, and has managed a sack on three of those plays. His three third-down sacks total is second in the league.
Cleveland Browns: Looking at passes that are in the air for 10 or more yards, Buster Skrine has been targeted the most in the league, and Joe Haden is tied for the second most. They both have been very successful on these plays, as Skrine has allowed just seven of 29 passes thrown his way to be caught for 111 yards, while Haden has allowed five of 24 passes thrown his way to be caught for 89 yards.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers have one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers in pass rushing with Lamarr Woodley who brings pressure on 20.2% of his pass rushes. The frequency his teammates at outside linebacker bring pressure are less than half as often as Woodley. Jarvis Jones has pressure on 10.0% of his pass rushes and Jason Worilds at 7.0%.
Houston Texans: When the offense runs between the guards, Brian Cushing has a Run Stop Percentage of 20.5% which is the highest rate for all starters in the league regardless of position.
Indianapolis Colts: Outside linebacker Robert Mathis has been able to turn 30% of his pressures into sacks, which is tied for the highest rate in the league for those with at least 20 pressures.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Outside linebacker Russell Allen has six run stops when the opponent is in the red zone, which is the second-highest total for all players regardless of position.
Tennessee Titans: Linebacker Zach Brown has an average depth of tackle of 9.1 on his run tackles, which is the worst for all players in the front seven with at least 10 tackles.
Denver Broncos: Tied for the most pressure so far on the team are Shaun Phillips, Robert Ayers and Derek Wolfe at 19 each. They each represent 14.5% of the team’s pressure. 30 of the 32 teams have at least two players that have made 14.5% of their team’s pressure, with ten teams having three.
Kansas City Chiefs: The two players leading the league in overall pressure regardless of position are Tamba Hali at 51 and Justin Houston at 34.
Oakland Raiders: By far the best player on the Raiders defense so far is Lamarr Houston. He is one of just two players in the league to lead their team in both Run Stops (15) and total pressures (30).
San Diego Chargers: The team leader in Run Stops is Jarret Johnson with 12. Every other team in the league has at least one player with 12 run stops with some teams having as many as six.
Dallas Cowboys: While DeMarcus Ware is known for his pass rushing, in the run game he has an average depth of tackle of 0.0 yards, which is the best for all defensive players with at least 10 run tackles.
New York Giants: There have been 33 plays where the offense runs outside of the left guard, and Jason Pierre-Paul has lined up on that side of the field. He has run stops on six of those plays. Those six stops are tied for the most in the league regardless of position.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have rushed their inside linebackers more than any other team, with DeMeco Ryans having 64 pass rushes which is the most for all inside/middle linebackers and Mychal Kendricks with 50 which is third-most. They only have one sack, one hit and five hurries to show for these 114 pass rushes.
Washington Redskins: Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has only rushed the passer 14 times in the fourth quarter, but on those plays he has gotten pressure six times. That is a rate of 42.9% which is the most for players with more than five pass rushes regardless of position.
Chicago Bears: In Major Wright’s first three years in the league, he has seen his total number of missed tackles increase from zero to six to 10. He is on pace to have that streak continue into his fourth year, as he already has nine missed tackles which leads all safeties.
Detroit Lions: Of all defensive lineman and 3-4 outside linebackers with at least 25 pass rushes, Israel Idonije has been the most successful pass rusher who has yet to have a sack on the season. He has gotten pressure on 13.5% of his pass rushes, but still no sacks.
Green Bay Packers: Defensive end Mike Daniels has the fourth-highest grade for all 3-4 defensive ends despite only being in for 42 run snaps. Part of the reason is that on his six run tackles, the offense averages -1.0 yards. That is the best average depth of tackle in the league for all players with more than four run tackles. Half of those tackles happened in the red zone.
Minnesota Vikings: There are 13 players who have been targeted six or more times while the offense was in the red zone. The only one of those 13 players not to allow a touchdown is Xavier Rhodes.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons as a team have only been able to get pressure on 59 plays so far, which is the lowest amount in the league.
Carolina Panthers: Defensive end Charles Johnson has been able to get pressure on 18.5% of his pass rushes, which is the second-highest rate in the league for those with at least 100 pass rushes regardless of position.
New Orleans Saints: One of the best pass rushing safeties this year has been Malcolm Jenkins, who has three sacks and two hurries on his 16 pass rushes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Of all the starting cornerbacks in the league, Johnthan Banks lines up in press coverage the least. He has only lined up in press coverage on 5.2% of his snaps this year.
Arizona Cardinals: When Karlos Dansby is covering a running back and the running back is targeted, he has allowed all 13 passes to be caught. However on five of those plays he has a stop. Those five stops are the most for any defensive player on receiving running backs.
St. Louis Rams: Defensive tackle Michael Brockers has 13 tackles in the run game. All 13 have been stops. That is tied for the most tackles for all players regardless of position who have had all of their run tackles be stops.
San Francisco 49ers: So far NaVorro Bowman has been the best pass rushing inside linebacker this year. He has 13 pressures which is the most for inside linebackers, and he has done this on 33 pass rushes which is tied for 17th-most for inside linebackers.
Seattle Seahawks: When Brandon Mebane lines up as a nose tackle in a three-man front, he has gotten pressure on five of 18 pass rushes, or 27.8%; the highest rate in the league. When lining up as a defensive right tackle in a four-man front that decreases to three hurries on 38 pass rushes or 7.9%. He has another 38 pass rushes from defensive left tackle, or defensive end in three-man fronts, but he has yet to have a pressure on those pass rushes.
Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke