Defensive Signature Stats

| 5 years ago

Defensive Signature Stats

Back in August we wanted to give our customers more. You see we have all this unique data and we thought to ourselves, how can we really appease fans insatiable need for more information and at the same time show off the ridiculous detail we go into in collecting information about the NFL.

Plus it gives something to the brigade who think our analysis is useless but our numbers are golden. You may hurt our feelings with your mean words but we won’t neglect you despite your ignorance (let’s hope that gets taken in jest).

Anyways you can see a list of our offensive signature stats by clicking the link, and now I’ll run through the defensive side of things. If you can resist our seductive stats and analysis no more, or are close to breaking, look here for more reasons why to subscribe before pulling the trigger on taking your relationship with PFF to the next level of Premium Subscription status.


What is there for the Defensive Line?

● Well for starters you have our utterly incomparable Stop Percentage stat that looks at the worth of a player. So what if a guy is making a lot of tackles after the defense has the lost the battle for yardage and keeping those chains where they are? The stop percentage uses our unique data of how many times a player was in run defense and the percentage of those plays he made a defensive stop.

What it tells us: That Brodrick Bunkley is blooming awesome. B.J. Raji hasn’t been.


● It’s not just run defense mind you. We’ve also brought in the first ever signature stat we created (back in 2009), Pass Rushing Productivity. A stat that looks at how many times a player picks up a sack, hit or hurry (with hits and hurries valued at three quarters the worth of sacks) and turns that number into the PRP Rating by dividing by the number of pass rushes and multiplying by 100.

What it tells us: That in 2012 Pernell McPhee is one player everyone needs to watch.


These are the two categories for defensive line play but to get these numbers you’ll get a little bit more bang for your buck. Our pass rushing productivity number features unique data regarding total pressure and the amount of times a pass rusher drops into coverage. How else would we know that John Abraham drops into coverage more than any other 4-3 defensive end?



What about the Linebackers?

● Well you’ll get all that is above and more. The classic Pass Rushing Productivity is rolled out as we split linebackers by what type of position and scheme they play; 3-4 OLB, 4-3 OLB or MLB/ ILB.

What it tells us: That despite the sacks Brooks Reed is a long way off matching the production of Mario Williams, and that there isn’t a more ineffective blitzing MLB than Jonathan Vilma. Nothing objectively measures a players actual pass rushing display like our analysis team, but the PRP comes pretty close.


● The big one for linebackers; Stop Percentage. We’re not looking at linebackers making tackles down the field – we want our guys making stops. Preventing big yardage and stop the chains being moved. So for all linebackers we’re looking at what they do in run defense; how many snaps they’re in and how many stops they make.

What it tells us: No inside linebacker makes a lower percentage of stops in the run game than Paris Lenon and that Patrick Willis would look even better if NaVorro Bowman wasn’t beating him to the ball carrier.


● We’ve also given the linebackers their own Tackling Efficieny rating. You know what this does right? It looks at how many tackles a linebacker has attempted and how many they’ve missed then gives you a nice figure that tells you for how many successful tackle attempts do they miss one. It even breaks it down by whether it was in run defense or the passing game while giving you an overall figure.

What it tells us: That Kelvin Sheppard is one fine tackler. Pat Angerer? Not so much.


● But don’t think we’re ignoring the fact linebackers have to cover. We would never do such a thing. Instead we’ve got a host of coverage stats that tell you how often a player is targeted in relation to his time in coverage, how many targets he gives up in relation to times in coverage and how many yards he gives up on a per snap in coverage basis.

What it tell us: The Ravens were shrewd bringing in Brendon Ayanbadejo to their nickel; he only gives up a reception for every 19 snaps he’s in coverage.



And lastly, the Defensive Backs?

● There’s no doubt the defensive backs focus is on coverage. So we bring you all the same coverage stats we mentioned before to look at not just numbers that could be impacted by playing a lot of snaps; but breaking down how many snaps players had in coverage.

What it tells us: He had some troubles in Philadelphia but Nnamdi Asomugha still scares quarterbacks. He’s thrown at once for every 11.4 times he’s in coverage.


● We redo the tackling efficiency rating to look at which defensive backs miss the most tackles per attempt.

What it tells us: That somehow two cornerbacks missed more tackles per attempts than Ronde Barber.


● We’ve also thrown in our stop percentage for good measure. So ignore people who tell you such and such is really good in run defense because they’ve got airtime to fill, and instead look at which defenders are really helping their team in the run game.

What it tells us: It isn’t just sacks where Roman Harper is making a big impact.


The PFF Signature Stats aren’t our end game nor are they complete. We’re always looking at ways to add new data for our fans and bring a further layer of debate to the discussion of all things NFL. If you think we should be looking at something, give us the idea and we’ll see how it can be done (unless it’s to do with double teams, that’s something for another day). We hope to keep adding to what we offer and we hope you stay with us on that journey.


Follow Khaled on Twitter @PFF_Khaled and be sure to follow our main Twitter feed @ProFootbalFocus




  • snowman88

    is there a kind of data u collect for players that “blow up” plays like Bart Scott, “set the edge” like Jarret Johnson. also how are the NTs that dont get alot of tackles like Casey Hampton graded in stop percentage?? one last thing are u guys going to do a PRP for DBs???

  • Khaled Elsayed

    Its something we’re looking into – the problem is the sample size.

    I don’t think you quantify the work Johnson or Scott do, other than to look at the grading which shows the impact they have in the run game.

  • Steve Palazzolo

    Defensive sig stats, oh what a glorious day!

  • snowman88

    Khaled you guys list T-Suggs wit the best coverage rating for 4-3 DE but i dont see any coverage stats for the 4-3 DE…how is dat particulary graded??

    • Khaled Elsayed

      Re: tackling efficiency for DL it can be a bit of a misleading number because sample sizes are so small (DL don’t tend to miss tackles). Something to consider.

      Re: Coverage – for a 4-3 DE who drops into coverage as rarely as Suggs he tends to pick up his positive grade on sniffing out screens for example as opposed to being the primary coverage a great deal.

  • snowman88

    Tackling efficency for DL??

  • sgtrobo

    very interesting. Looking forward to seeing how these pans out. Great idea.