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Diagnosing the cause of apparent individual achievement in "sack artists"

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by betterthanthealternative, Mar 21, 2012.

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  1. betterthanthealternative

    betterthanthealternative Rookie

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    We see interceptions easily because of the spacing between the players, and with replay. The knowledgeable football fan will know that most of them happen because the player was in the right place at the right time, based on what the coaches schemed up. Most interceptions are less the result of a great athletic play by an individual, more the result of a good defensive play call, carried out by a team, that caused the ball to end up near one of the defensive players.

    There are a few interceptions that are the result of exceptional individual effort, outside the scheme and play call, but far fewer than ESPN and Neon Sanders would have us believe. We get seduced by the cult of individualism that sells the NFL.

    We look at Mark Anderson and ask, "How will the team replace those 10 sacks?" as if they were all his doing. I wonder, though, how many of those sacks would have happened if it weren't Anderson but instead were any average DE, doing what the coaches told him to do, and who drew that particular blocking assignment on plays where the coverage had the QB spend the same amount of time going through that same progression.

    In other words, if it weren't Anderson (or Carter, or...etc.) how many sacks would have been recorded by Player X or Player Y?

    How much of a sack total is the result of the individual's capability, and how much of it is coaching, team defense, and luck?

    That answer would allow us to get a better fix on the true value of the "pass rush specialist" and on the importance of drafting the next great DE or OLB athlete. It would also tell us how much of the defense is already in place with signings like Fanene.
  2. voluntarysaftey

    voluntarysaftey Rookie

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    I agree scheme plays an important factor, and the player needs to be in the general area of where the ball is thrown, but I think you're way underplaying talent / judgement.

    Compare Ty Law Samuel to the dozens of other CBs the pats have had in the last decade.
    Or Brusci in his prime to Mayo
    Or Rodney to Chung
    when it comes to interceptions.

    Some players are just better at reading the QB, providing the false sense of open-ness, and have the ability to catch the ball.

    Likewise with pass rushers -- there's reasons why some LB, DEs have consistently better sack totals -- and its cause they are just better players.
  3. Jangles

    Jangles PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nice rationalization on why it's ok to be losing one of our very, very few good defensive players.
  4. Patriots Nation NY

    Patriots Nation NY Banned

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    "it's not like you stole a million dollars .. right?"

    hahah, rationalization at it's finest ..
  5. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    I like Anderson, but I agree with the premise of this thread. How many of his sacks were circumstantial - a product of scheme, team defense, or even hustle. Carter is the guy with technique, and who can power or speed rush. He's also going to come much cheaper.

    After what happened with Tully, you have to be careful with a guy like Anderson. Just get Carter for a reasonable one year deal and have Trevor Scott be this year's Mark Anderson.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  6. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    there is some logic to the notion......just not in the pats instance

    their coverage was horrible, so are we saying that for most of those sacks, the coverage got lucky or what?

    I recall many instances of both anderson and carter beating their blockers to get in there sooner than they should have.

    this notion would have had jermaine cunnigham get more than one sack in 2010
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  7. NEGoldenAge

    NEGoldenAge Banned

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    BB has said that a sack is usually a group effort and that they are an over rated stat. That does not mean that BB doesn't appreciate pressuring the QB. Consistent pressure on QB makes QBs throw earlier than they want to, makes throws without feet set and makes them much more likely to make bad decisions. This can result in incompletions, tipped balls, interceptions or sacks.

    That all said, if you do rack up double digit sacks, you're in the right place consitently which means not only are you doing your job, but you're also winning physical battles. I don't want to lose Carter or Anderson, but neither to I want the Pats to overpay for them. A consitent passrush requires several pieces.
  8. betterthanthealternative

    betterthanthealternative Rookie

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    Nice projection about my motives.

    I'm only interested in exploring the topic in a manner that is objective and knowledge based. This board, for example, had a lot of energy for signing very expensive individual stars, and that is supported by the media, which drives all of the coverage in the off-season. The evaluation of off season talent acquisition is done based largely on how many stars a team signs and drafts. I know they are important, but I'm just curious about how important they really are.
  9. PatsFan2

    PatsFan2 Rookie

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    #87 Jersey

    This Defense needs to get the next Jason Pierre or Justin Tuck...guys who can do it by themselves.
  10. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    you can't win without talent.......
  11. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Cannot find it right now, but seem to remember that BB saying something to the effect that he valued QB pressures more than sacks...
  12. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    Like the OP states, its VERY rare when a guy will "do it by themselves". Scheme has a lot to do with it. Luck as well, like when an good outside rush will chase the QB into someone else's hands. Most of the time the "sack" IS a group effort.

    However, BTTA's premise has a hole in it. If the sack is just a matter of scheme or randomness, why can't every body do it. Why is it that only 16 players managed to get 10 or more. Why is it that some people consistently get more sacks than others.

    So the real answer is somewhere in the middle. This OP was put out there to make us believe that Mark Anderson and/or Andre Carter are merely replaceable cogs in a greater scheme. But it only was a half truth. A half truth about sacks, and not the whole truth either when discussing QB hits and hurries the other under reported (and often subjective) aspects of applying pressure to the QB.

    So while I agree with the concept of the "sack" as a group activity, and that its rarely done strictly on an individual basis, Individuals with specific skill sets are needed to make those schemes effective.

    BTW- this is a great discussion point, and its clearly not a black or white answer. But PF2 is right on this point. You still do need to have guys like Tuck and JPP......and Mark Anderson....and Andre Carter to make those schemes work.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  13. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    2 ways to get sacks:

    1.) Talent

    2.) Scheme


    There aren't many players who can succeed at racking up sack numbers long term if they're getting them based on scheme. Teams just adjust their schemes to counter.

    Sack artists get sacks because they're good at it. Dwight Freeney doesn't get to the QB because of scheme. He gets there because he can beat his opponents one-on-one.
  14. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    LOL at the notion that cheaper players are better players

    now stop that or you will go blind
  15. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr Rookie

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    Regardless as to whether his sacks were because of scheme or not there are two parts to making a play and he has the one part that for some reason our recent DE/OLBs haven't had:

    1. You have to be put into position to be able to make the play
    2. You then have to actually make the play

    Don't ever undervalue #2 on that list. A lot of players in the NFL don't have that.
  16. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Albert Haynesworth and JaMarcus Russell say hello, among others.

    It's not as simple as always signing the most expensive player available.

    Nor is it as simple as only signing players below a certain dollar threshold.

    However, if you miss for whatever reason on a less expensive player it is far easier to recover from that than it is from missing on a more expensive player.

    I don't think anyone would reasonably argue that cheaper players will be expected to outperform more expensive players; that's not the point. However, there are very real limitations about what a team can and cannot do to improve itself due to the salary cap.

    This isn't major league baseball where a team can just outbid virtually every other team in the market for a certain player. And it isn't the NBA where all you need is one superstar and a couple of above average complimentary players either, due to there only being five players on the court.

    Somewhere along the line teams have to make a decision that they are going to spend less money on certain players and certain roster spots than others. Once they make the decision to spend a lot of money on a player/position, they have no choice but to live with that decision for several years.

    So now the question becomes which position does the team want to spend relatively more on? What position does the team want to spend relatively less on? How valuable is depth; do they want to spend as much as possible on a starter and the rookie minimum on a backup? Or do they perhaps want to spend almost equal amounts on two players at a certain position?
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