Assuming Assists are Bad Makes an Ass of U and Me

When you go through and look at defensive stats, there are all kinds of interesting things to look at that tell a defensive story.  However, trying to understand that defensive story can be like trying to read it in Mandarin Chinese.  Is a high number of passes defensed good or bad?  If it's high, does that mean that the defensive player is not very good and offenses are picking on that player?  If it's low does it mean that the defensive player is so bad that he can't defend any passes or does it mean that offenses just don't throw his way? 

What about QH (Quarterback Hits); does a high number of QH and a low number of sacks mean that the player does not get there quite fast enough and therefore a slow player?  Or is it more of, "well at least he did get there, albeit it wasn't fast enough..."?  Finally what about assisted tackles?  Are assists something you want to see a lot of, or not a lot of?  Or does it matter based on position; would you rather see your DL with assists and your LB's without assists or the other way around?

Find out after the bump...

2008 Denver Bronco Defensive Statistics Through 13 Games

Player

Total Tackles

Solo

Assisted

Sacks

Forced Fumbles

Jamie Winborn

80

59

21

0

0

D.J. Williams

77

57

20

2

0

Marquand Manuel

74

56

18

0

0

Wesley Woodyard

48

44

4

0

0

Dre' Bly

50

42

8

0

1

Nate Webster

65

41

24

2

1

Karl Paymah

36

32

4

0

0

Boss Bailey

40

31

9

0

1

Marlon McCree

29

23

6

0

0

Champ Bailey

28

23

5

0

1

Ebenezer Ekuban

26

22

4

4

0

John Engelberger

25

19

6

1

1

Spencer Larsen

22

19

3

0

0

Marcus Thomas

27

17

10

0

0

Dewayne Robertson

19

16

3

0

0

Josh Bell

18

15

3

0

0

Kenny Peterson

20

14

6

3

1

Elvis Dumervil

20

13

7

5

1

Mario Haggan

13

12

1

1

0

Jack Williams

12

12

0

0

0

Calvin Lowry

18

11

7

0

0

Niko Koutouvides

12

11

1

0

0

Jarvis Moss

12

10

2

2

0

Louis Green

9

7

2

0

0

Vernon Fox

8

7

1

0

0

Josh Barrett

8

5

3

0

0

Nic Clemons

8

3

5

0

0

Josh Shaw

2

1

1

0

0

Totals

806

622

184

20

7

 

As you can see, 23% of the total tackles on this team were not solo tackles. But what does that mean?  Does it mean that players are whiffing on tackles and require another defender to assist or does it mean that defenders are swarming to the ball carrier? 

More intriguing, how does one explain the large disparity between different players and the ratio of assists versus solo tackles.  Wesley Woodyard had only 8% of his total tackles assisted whereas Nate Webster had 37% of his total tackles assisted.  And we cannot say that it is position related because DJ Williams had 26% of his total tackles assisted and Spencer Larsen had 13% of his total tackles assisted.  Then you have anomalies like Jack "JMFW" Williams that have a 0% assisted tackle ratio.  Speaking of Nate Webster, we now pause for a Nate Webster Helmet moment brought to by Reebok Chinstraps Inc.

77585468_medium

via cache.gettyimages.com

 

I want to focus on our Rushing Defense because our defensive problems all seem to stem from our inability to stop the run, forcing us to put a Safety in the box, putting our DB's in winless battles, giving us a poor Pass Defense; you've heard the song and dance already.  In order to get to the bottom of this assisted tackle dilemma, I think we need to put these assists into perspective and compare our top 3 rushing defensive performances and our bottom 3 rushing defensive performances.  Since it's always good to end on a good note (like our season *fingers crossed*), let's start with the bad:

Week 4 - Den 19 @ KC 33 - KC Rushes For 213 Yards

Player

Total Tackles

Solo

Assisted

Sacks

Forced Fumbles

Marquand Manuel

9

7

2

0

0

Boss Bailey

8

8

0

0

0

DJ Williams

6

6

0

0

0

Dre Bly

6

5

1

0

0

Champ Bailey

6

4

2

0

1

Marcus Thomas

5

4

1

0

0

Kenny Peterson

4

3

1

1

0

Marlon McCree

4

3

1

0

0

Nate Webster

4

3

1

0

0

John Engelberger

3

2

1

0

0

Jack Williams

2

2

0

0

0

Nic Clemons

2

1

1

0

0

Jarvis Moss

1

1

0

0

0

Totals

60

49

11

1

1

In the Kansas City game, 18% of our tackles were assisted and we got run over.

Week 7 - Den 7 @ NE 41 - NE Rushes for 257 Yards

Player

Total Tackles

Solo

Assisted

Sacks

Forced Fumbles

DJ Williams

16

10

6

0.5

0

Calvin Lowry

12

7

5

0

0

Jamie Winborn

8

4

4

0.5

0

Marcus Thomas

6

4

2

0

0

Nate Webster

6

3

3

1

0

Marquand Manuel

5

5

0

0

0

Elvis Dumervil

5

2

3

2

0

Louis Green

4

3

1

0

0

Ebenezer Ekuban

3

3

0

1

0

Jarvis Moss

3

1

2

0.5

0

Dre Bly

2

2

0

0

0

Kenny Peterson

2

2

0

0

0

Dewayne Robertson

2

1

1

0.5

0

Champ Bailey

2

0

2

0

0

Jack Williams

1

1

0

0

0

Karl Paymah

1

1

0

0

0

Totals

78

49

29

6

0

In the New England game, 37% of our tackles were assisted and we got run over worse than the Kansas City game.

Week 10 - Den 34 @ Cle 30 - Cle Rushes For 160 Yards

Player

Total Tackles

Solo

Assisted

Sacks

Forced Fumbles

Jamie Winborn

13

12

1

0

0

Wesley Woodyard

10

10

0

0

0

Marquand Manuel

10

9

1

0

0

Dre Bly

5

5

0

0

1

Karl Paymah

5

4

1

0

0

Calvin Lowry

3

2

1

0

0

Louis Green

2

1

1

0

0

Elvis Dumervil

1

1

0

0

0

Kenny Peterson

1

1

0

0

0

Dewayne Robertson

1

1

0

0

0

John Engelberger

1

1

0

0

0

Ebenezer Ekuban

1

1

0

0

0

Nic Clemons

1

0

1

0

0

Niko Koutouvides

1

0

1

0

0

Totals

55

48

7

0

0

In the Cleveland game we only gave up 160 total yards of rushing which really isn't that bad in my opinion but still qualifies as the last of the bottom 3.  In the Cleveland game, only 13% of the tackles were assisted - the lowest number yet.

So now that we've shuddered our way through our bottom 3 rushing defensive performances, we get to bask in our top 3 rushing defensive performances.

Week 2 - SD 38 @ Den 39 - SD Only Rushes For 80 Yards

Player

Total Tackles

Solo

Assisted

Sacks

Forced Fumbles

Champ Bailey

6

6

0

0

0

Boss Bailey

6

5

1

0

0

DJ Williams

5

4

1

0

0

Dre Bly

5

3

2

0

0

Marquand Manuel

5

3

2

0

0

Marlon McCree

4

4

0

0

0

Karl Paymah

3

3

0

0

0

Nate Webster

3

3

0

0

0

John Engelberger

1

1

0

1

0

Ebenezer Ekuban

1

1

0

0

0

Calvin Lowry

1

1

0

0

0

Totals

40

34

6

1

0

We hold San Diego and their train wreck of a team to 80 yards rushing and 15% of our tackles are assisted.

Week 9 - Mia 26 @ Den 17 - Mia Only Rushes For 75 Yards

Player

Total Tackles

Solo

Assisted

Sacks

Forced Fumbles

Karl Paymah

12

11

1

0

0

Jamie Winborn

8

4

4

0

0

DJ Williams

8

4

4

0

0

Nate Webster

7

3

4

0

0

Jarvis Moss

4

4

0

2

0

Marlon McCree

4

4

0

0

0

Ebenezer Ekuban

4

3

1

1

0

Dewayne Robertson

4

3

1

0

0

Dre Bly

3

2

1

0

0

Elvis Dumervil

3

2

1

0

0

Marquand Manuel

2

1

1

0

0

Josh Bell

1

1

0

0

0

Marcus Thomas

1

1

0

0

0

Louis Green

1

1

0

0

0

Nic Clemons

1

0

1

0

0

Totals

63

44

19

3

0

While we lose to Miami, we only give up 75 rushing yards against the Wildcat Formation and 30% of our tackles are assisted.

Week 14 - KC 17 @ Den 24 - KC Only Rushes For 83 Yards

Player

Total Tackles

Solo

Assisted

Sacks

Forced Fumbles

Wesley Woodyard

8

7

1

0

0

Josh Bell

6

5

1

0

0

Jamie Winborn

4

3

1

0

0

Marquand Manuel

4

1

3

0

0

Dre Bly

3

3

0

0

0

Ebenezer Ekuban

3

3

0

0

0

Josh Barrett

2

2

0

0

0

Vernon Fox

2

2

0

0

0

Marcus Thomas

2

1

1

0

0

Elvis Dumervil

1

1

0

1

0

Karl Paymah

1

1

0

0

0

Mario Haggan

1

1

0

0

0

Dewayne Robertson

1

1

0

0

0

Jack Williams

1

1

0

0

0

Nate Webster

1

0

1

0

0

Totals

40

32

8

1

0

In the most recent victory against Kansas City with the leading rushing Quarterback in the NFL and the same running back that torched us in Week 4, 20% of the tackles were assisted.

So there are the top 3 and the bottom 3 rushing defensive performances by the Denver Broncos so far this year; but what does it all mean?  In our worst performances, we averaged 23% assisted tackles compared to our best performances averaging 22% assisted tackles; hardly definitive.  What happens if we break down our top and bottom 3 even more; by unit?

Our bottom 3:

  • Kansas City - DL 26% assisted, LB 6% assisted, S 23% assisted, CB 21% assisted
  • New England - DL 38% assisted, LB 41% assisted, S 29% assisted, CB 33% assisted
  • Cleveland - DL 16% assisted, LB 11% assisted, S 15% assisted, CB 10% assisted

Out top 3:

  • San Diego - DL 0% assisted, LB 14% assisted, S 20% assisted, CB 14% assisted
  • Miami - DL 23% assisted, LB 50% assisted, S 16% assisted, CB 13% assisted
  • Kansas City - DL 14% assisted, LB 23% assisted, S 33% assisted, CB 9% assisted

Top 3 / Bottom 3 Defensive Assisted Tackles Comparison

 

Defensive Line

Linebackers

Safeties

Cornerbacks

Bottom 3

27%

19%

22%

21%

Top 3

12%

29%

23%

12%

I love doing these statistical posts because I love doing the number crunching and seeing what the numbers show.  While Safety remains consistent, every other statistic virtually flip-flopped between our best and worst defensive performances!  "Great but what does it mean?!"

Let's start with the easiest statistic to dispel which is the Cornerbacks and the assisted tackles.  We do not really want our corner backs assisting in the running game.  Cornerbacks are built for speed, running routes, reacting to receivers, and tracking balls in the air; not shedding blocks, standing their ground, and taking on Tackles who outweigh them by 100+ pounds.  While we afforded with two corners who are not afraid to support the run game, if they are active in assists in the running game that tells me that they are chasing down runners (LJ's 65 yarder), our OLB's are not doing the job properly, and our DL is not getting outside leverage pushing the run back to the inside.

We want our linebackers to have a high assist ratio.  Look at the great linebacking corps in history, and while most of them are lead by a standout Linebacker, more than anything else they play great as a unit.  They all have, albeit cliché, "a nose for the ball" and you always see them involved in a play.  By our Linebackers having a high assist ratio, they are playing well as a unit, maintaining gap discipline, not over pursuing, and all swarming to the ball.

It all seems to start and finish with the Defensive Line; in our worst defensive performances, they averaged 27% assists while in the best they had only 12%.  The Defensive Line's role is dependent on the defensive scheme the team is running.  Do the linemen penetrate or do they occupy blockers?  Do the linemen stunt and twist or just mano-y-mano line up and push someone back?  It looks like for our scheme, we want our Defensive Line to play to the strength of our Linebackers which is their speed.  We want our DL to occupy blockers gap discipline and let those Linebackers swoop in for the kill.  This is also all about trust; the Defensive Linemen need to trust that if they do not make that tackle and keep that Guard, Center, or Tackle busy, that the Linebacker is going to be there and do their job and stop the runner.

In conclusion, assists are a good thing dependent on who is doing the assisting.  Just as you do not want the 90 year old woman moving furniture into your new 3rd floor apartment, you need to show some discretion in who is getting assisted tackles.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Mile High Report

You must be a member of Mile High Report to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Mile High Report. You should read them.

Join Mile High Report

You must be a member of Mile High Report to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Mile High Report. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker