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PFF Stat Chat: Colts DE Henry Anderson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 18: Henry Anderson #96 of the Indianapolis Colts in action during a game against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 18, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Patriots defeated the Colts 34-27. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Each season, the analysis team at Pro Football Focus grades every NFL player on every single snap they take. As our crew travels to all 32 training camps, we're turning to the players to see how well they know their own grades.

Our first stop on the tour: Anderson, Ind.

Last season, Indianapolis Colts rookie defensive end Henry Anderson was the 10th-highest-graded defensive end in the league entering Week 9, before suffering a season-ending ACL injury. He begins training camp on the PUP list, but still found time to chat with our crew yesterday: 

Chase Howell: Through Week 8, you were the 10th-highest-graded 3-4 defensive end in the league. What do you think your highest-graded game in 2015 was?

Henry Anderson: Best game stat-wise was probably Buffalo. Or, maybe the game against the Jets?

CH: Wasn’t the Jets.

HA: Wasn’t the Jets… Carolina?

CH: It was actually Week 4 versus Jacksonville.

HA: I can actually see that. It wasn’t a good stat game, but I can see why — I did my job for most of the game.

CH: Removing your Week 9 game where you left injured, which game do you think was your lowest-graded?

HA: Saints.

CH: Nope. Saints was second-lowest.

HA: Really? Okay, New England?

CH: Yep.

HA: I thought I played worse in the Saints game. They had one or two 10-yard runs break through my gap. New England… I thought I did decent against New England, I didn’t think I did terrible — but I guess whatever you guys say is the truth.

CH: To be fair, you earned relatively average grades for the Saints and Patriots games. Neither were bad, they just happened to be your lowest-graded. Now, through Week 8, how many QB pressures (sacks, hits, or hurries) do you think you accumulated? 

HA: Maybe… not very many. 20?

CH: That’s close — 22.

HA: Not quite as many as I should have.

CH: Where do you think that ranked for your position through those eight weeks? A lot better than you think, it sounds like.

HA: Maybe in the middle?

CH: Eighth for 3-4 DEs.

HA: Well, I guess that’s good news. I actually thought I did terrible in that stat last year.

CH: How many tackles did you miss last season?

HA: I think there were probably two legit tackles that I should have made.

CH: We only had one for you, actually. Next question: Only one rookie defensive end earned a higher grade than you last season through Week 8 — any thoughts as to who?

HA: Leonard Williams.

CH: Yep. But, in college, where do you think you ranked at your position in terms of overall grade during your final season at Stanford?

HA: First.

CH: Right again, actually ahead of Williams by a decent margin.

HA: Yes, thank you guys. I actually saw a tweet about that in college.

Mike Renner: After talking to a few guys at the Colts' training camp last year, it seemed that they never really thought of you of a 3-tech. And then when they put you at 3-technique, you kind of opened their eyes. So, what’s your favorite technique to play along the defensive line — one-gap, two-gap — or do you prefer playing over guards or over tackles?

HA: I know I played a lot of 3-tech at Stanford because we played left side and right side, I didn’t always play 5-tech. I still played a fair bit of 3-tech at Stanford, but in the league, I just feel like you have no room to work in the pass-rush, so when I’m at 5-tech, I definitely feel a little bit more comfortable pass-rushing, because there’s just not another body outside of me. But as far as comfort , it’s probably pretty similar. As long as your taking a good first step, you should be good either 5- or 3-. It took a little getting used to when they put me there during the preseason, but once I had a couple practices there, it was pretty natural.

MR: If you have one go-to pass-rushing move to get the sack, what do you hit them with?

HA: My pass-rush was pretty poor last year, but in college it was the swipe. It’s a little different in the pros, because dudes aren’t really punching as much as they are grabbing, and you can’t really knock any hands down when they’re just waiting for you to work a move, so it’s still a work in progress as to what my go-to move is.

MR: You’ll find it.

HA: Hope so, hope so. But that’s definitely been a point of focus for me this offseason, just getting better at rushing the passer, because it was almost embarrassing for me last year — at least coming from college, where whenever I worked one of my moves, I kind of expected to beat the guy. In the league, I guess you kind of have to accept that the dudes across from you are getting paid quite a bit, too. You’re not going to win every single time, so that’s definitely been a focal point for me, working on that this offseason for sure.

CH: Entering Week 9 of last season (pre-injury), our analysts had you ranked second in our Rookie of the Year race. Do you think you can pick up right where you left off this season?

HA: I think so. Coming off the injury, I think once I’m feeling 100 percent things will come back pretty quick. I think I had a decent year, but definitely have some stuff, like I was just saying, pass-rush wise, I think I can get a lot better at. There’s a lot of things I can still work on in the run game, so I definitely think that I can pick up right where I left off.

CH: Talking about the run game, the Colts ranked 23rd in the NFL in run-defense grades last year. How do you think you guys are going to improve on that mark this season?

HA: Pretty much our whole front-seven is back. We brought in some dudes that can help up front, but I think just another year of being in the meeting room and in the locker room together is going to help us kind of gel as a unit, and hopefully we can improve on that number from last year, because I know none of us in the locker room are going to be too happy about being ranked 23rd in the league. Just more reps in practice together, knowing where the other guy is going to be fitting, what they’re going to be doing. The more reps we get together, the better we’re going to get.

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