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How many “Watts” has the Denver Broncos pass rush generated?

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No player generates more sacks or hits on the quarterback then J.J. Watt. So how many “Watts” has the Denver Broncos generated?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

As much as I love Von Miller and all that he has contributed to the Denver Broncos, J.J. Watt has been the best pass rusher in the league during their shared time in the NFL. Both were drafted in 2011. I wanted to name this stat a “Von”, but I could not, in good conscience, do that after looking at the data.

So what is a Watt? In football terms One Watt is either a QB hit or a QB sack so total Watts = sacks + QB hits. This article will not discuss QB pressures since that is not a stat that the league officially tracks.

How many “Watts” did the Broncos defense generate?

Player Def Snaps Sack QH Watts
Von Miller 932 13.5 24 37.5
Shane Ray 666 8 21 29
Derek Wolfe 665 5.5 19 24.5
Jared Crick 942 3 13 16
DeMarcus Ware 317 4 8 12
T.J. Ward 987 1 5 6
Sylvester Williams 647 1 5 6
Shaquil Barrett 420 1.5 4 5.5
Todd Davis 698 0.5 4 4.5
Adam Gotsis 221 0 3 3
Justin Simmons 296 1 1 2
Corey Nelson 545 0 2 2
Darian Stewart 1085 0 2 2
Dekoda Watson 44 1 0 1
Bradley Roby 688 1 0 1
Aqib Talib 871 0 1 1
Darius Kilgo 81 0 1 1

If you want to parse that by Snaps by Watt to see who was the most effective pass rusher you get this

Player Def Snaps Watts Snaps/Watt
Shane Ray 666 29 23.0
Von Miller 932 37.5 24.9
DeMarcus Ware 317 12 26.4
Derek Wolfe 665 24.5 27.1
Dekoda Watson 44 1 44.0
Jared Crick 942 16 58.9
Adam Gotsis 221 3 73.7
Shaquil Barrett 420 5.5 76.4
Darius Kilgo 81 1 81.0
Sylvester Williams 647 6 107.8
Justin Simmons 296 2 148.0
Todd Davis 698 4.5 155.1
T.J. Ward 987 6 164.5
Corey Nelson 545 2 272.5
Darian Stewart 1085 2 542.5
Bradley Roby 688 1 688.0
Aqib Talib 871 1 871.0

You find that one a per snap basis, Shane Ray was slightly more effective than Von Miller. Note that not all of the defensive snaps here are pass rush snaps, so that to really make this number meaningful I would need to show pass rush snaps and not just defensive snaps. Darian Stewart, Bradley Roby and Aqib Talib rarely rushed the passer.

League-Wide Data

The general trend is that sacks are staying relatively constant while QB hits are increasing each year. Note that the NFL only starting tracking QB hits in 2006.

Oddly enough this was a down year for individual pass rushers with the league leader having only 39 Watts on the year.

Player Watts
Aaron Donald 39.0
Cliff Avril 37.5
Von Miller 37.5
Khalil Mack 37.0
Cameron Wake 35.5
Geno Atkins 35.0
Lorenzo Alexander 34.5
Markus Golden 34.5
Trent Murphy 33.0
Bruce Irvin 32.0
Chandler Jones 32.0
Cameron Jordan 31.5
Danielle Hunter 31.5
Joey Bosa 31.5
Olivier Vernon 31.5
Vic Beasley 31.5
Carlos Dunlap 31.0
Derrick Morgan 31.0
Ryan Kerrigan 31.0
Everson Griffen 30.0
Brian Orakpo 29.5
Whitney Mercilus 29.5
Calais Campbell 29.0
Shane Ray 29.0
Nick Fairley 28.5
Erik Walden 28.0
Frank Clark 28.0
Brandon Graham 27.5
Melvin Ingram 27.0
Nick Perry 27.0

Pass Rushing Effectiveness 2011-2016

Von Miller and JJ Watt have both been in the NFL for six seasons now. If you look at the best pass rushers in the league and track how well they have done over this time frame, you find that JJ Watt is a step above Von Miller. See below.

Player 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 Total Watts Watts/yr
JJ Watt 6.5 67.5 71.5 56.5 63.5 24.5 290.0 48.3
Aaron Donald 39.0 48.0 87.0 43.5
Von Miller 37.5 43.0 41.0 15.0 43.5 40.5 220.5 36.8
Aldon Smith 11.5 9.0 26.5 48.5 41.0 136.5 34.1
Cameron Wake 35.5 14.0 33.5 29.5 48.0 35.5 196.0 32.7
Khalil Mack 37.0 39.0 16.0 92.0 30.7
Elvis Dumervil 12.0 27.0 44.0 24.5 31.0 28.5 167.0 27.8
Demarcus Ware 12.0 23.5 30.0 18.0 34.5 48.5 166.5 27.8
Cliff Avril 37.5 36.0 24.0 22.0 23.5 23.0 166.0 27.7
Michael Bennett 24.0 40.0 26.0 34.5 27.0 12.0 163.5 27.3
Everson Griffen 30.0 40.5 36.0 15.5 28.0 11.0 161.0 26.8
Clay Matthews 14.0 25.5 33.0 18.5 37.0 31.0 159.0 26.5
Chandler Jones 32.0 30.5 17.0 34.5 18.0 132.0 26.4
Geno Atkins 35.0 32.0 12.0 19.0 33.5 25.5 157.0 26.2
Ndamukong Suh 22.0 26.0 28.5 25.5 40.0 13.0 155.0 25.8
Terrell Suggs 24.0 32.0 29.0 7.0 37.0 129.0 25.8
Tamba Hali 12.5 24.5 26.0 26.0 25.0 39.0 153.0 25.5
Robert Quinn 10.0 12.0 30.5 53.0 27.5 17.0 150.0 25.0
Justin Houston 10.0 20.5 47.0 26.0 28.0 14.5 146.0 24.3
Ryan Kerrigan 31.0 22.5 32.5 15.5 22.5 21.5 145.5 24.3
Cameron Jordan 31.5 20.0 23.5 15.0 21.0 5.0 116.0 23.2
Jason Pierre-Paul 23.0 8.0 33.5 8.0 16.5 44.5 133.5 22.3
Gerald McCoy 21.0 25.5 21.5 30.5 20.0 4.0 122.5 20.4
Bryan Orakpo 29.5 17.0 7.5 28.0 2.0 22.0 106.0 17.7

Note that while I did include Aaron Donald, who looks at this point in his career to as good as Von Miller at pressuring the QB, I did not include Joey Bosa, who had a great rookie year with 31.5 Watts (tied for 12th best in the league). If there are pass rushers that I have left off this list, let me know in the comments and I will provide their data. I’m sure their are those whom I have forgotten.

The reason why J.J. Watt should have this stat named for him is this: The league only started tracking QB hits in 2006. Only 4 players have had 50 or more Watts in a year. Demarcus Ware, Jared Allen, Robert Quinn and J.J. Watt. J.J. Watt has done it four times. The other three guys have done it once. So J.J. has more instances of 50 or more Watts than the rest of the league combined.

Player Year Watts
J.J. Watt 2014 71.5
J.J. Watt 2015 67.5
J.J. Watt 2012 63.5
J.J. Watt 2013 56.5
Jared Allen 2011 54
Robert Quinn 2013 53
DeMarcus Ware 2008 50