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Stat Snip: Broncos Pass Rushing Productivity

John Grieshop

The mid-season reviews are in and the Broncos are moving on as they make a push to the playoffs. One of the biggest strengths of the Broncos is their pass rushers, but I wanted to delve further into these players. Often we hear a defensive pass rusher's impact isn't felt on the stat sheet but thankfully a number of sites have developed more accurate measures by watching the games and looking to see if a player pressured or hit a quarterback rather than purely looking at sacks. This way we can get a near perfect image of how a player is doing in terms of rushing the quarterbacks.

I'll be looking at only those players who have rushed the passer 20 times or more since less than that is just too small to really judge. Now I'll listing sacks, hits and hurries along with the total number of pressures. Then I'll be showing the pure pass rushing productivity (PRP) which takes the total pressures divided by pass rushing snaps. This percentage is the chance of creating a pressure per snap. So for Elvis Dumervil's pure PRP of 13.4% that means he has a 13.4% chance of pressuring the quarterback per pass rush snap. Then I'll also be adding a Weighted PRP which is created by Pro Football Focus which does the same as the pure PRP but gives more weight to sacks and takes into account double teams, untouched sacks and other factors.

Lastly I included the players rank in their specified position. For players like Ayers and Wolfe who play both DT and DE I included both.

The table is sortable if you want to view it in different orders.

Pos. Pass Rush Snaps
Sacks Hits Hurries Total Pressure Pure PRP Weight PRP Rank by Position
M. Unrein
DT 115 0 2 5 7 6.1% 4.6 33
K. Vickerson
DT 125 0 3 3 6 4.8% 3.6 40
J. Bannan
DT 121 0 0 2 2 1.7% 1.2 63
E. Dumervil
DE 276 6 7 24 37 13.4% 10.6 9
R. Ayers
DT/DE 103 0 2 4 6 5.8% 4.4 32/53
D. Wolfe DT/DE 264 3 3 4 10 3.8% 3.1 44/59
V. Miller
OLB 226 9 10 25 44 19.5% 15.6 9
W. Woodyard
OLB 71 4 1 4 9 12.7% 10.9 18
J. Mays
MLB 24 1 0 2 3 12.5% 10.4 18
C. Harris
DB 32 2 0 2 4 12.5% 10.9 20
M. Adams
DB 26 0 3 4 7 26.9% 20.2 6


- There's no question that Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil are the best pass rushers on the team. Despite playing over 200 snaps as pass rushers they both are just outrageously effective. Both rank in the top 10 for their position and have over 35 total pressures each, hard to argue with that production. Von Miller's Weighted PRP, which looks at a lot of factors, is just massive.

- Derek Wolfe, who was touted as a pass rushing specialist, has spent a lot of snaps rushing the passer, spending more snaps than even Von has spent trying to get after the quarterback. And while the stat sheet says he's been doing well, 3 sacks is nothing to laugh at, but it took him a long time to get it, especially considering he faced the least double teams of all the defensive lineman besides Elvis Dumervil. His pass rushing productivity is the worst for the defensive ends (even worse that the "bust" Robert Ayers) and is the 2nd worst defensive tackle. His numbers have come on a lot of snaps, he's just not very effective.

- The Broncos have a lot of very effective situational pass rushers. Looking at Woodyard, Mays, Harris and Adams you see a strong group of guys who may not rush the passer often but are very efficient when they do. Adams is just deadly when coming up from his safety spot and Harris, Mays and Woodyard are also causing some serious trouble when they rush the passer.

- Of the pure defensive tackles Unrein is the more productive, though not compared to Doom or Miller, he still ranks 33rd in the league, not bad. The rest of the DT's aren't very productive, but that's expected, they were still about average (outside of Bannan and Wolfe who were at the bottom of the barrel).

Those are just a few of my thoughts, I do have a few suggestions for Fox and Del Rio based on this, but let's hear what you think, any thoughts?