Sig Stats: Team Blitzing | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

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Sig Stats: Team Blitzing

2014-Sig-Stats-tm-blitzIf you are someone who tries to keep your eye off the ball during a play, something that can be fun to watch is who all is going after the quarterback. Some teams rarely bring something other than their typical four-man rush. Others seem to mix up who is going after the quarterback on every other pass play. Last year I examined how often teams blitzed and how successful they were in doing so. This year I’ll update the information for the 2014 as well as compare it to last year.

There are many ways to define a blitz, but here we’re defining it as someone pass rushing that the offense wouldn’t expect. For example, in a goal-line situation if there are six defensive linemen and they all rush the passer, that wouldn’t count as a blitz. However, in a base 3-4 defense if an ILB rushes instead of an OLB, it would count, even though it is still potentially just a four-man rush.

Blitz Percentage

The first part of the equation is how often teams blitz. The more a team blitzes, the more the offense needs to be ready for anything. The less they blitz, the more likely it can take the offense by surprise.

Like last year, we find the Arizona Cardinals near the top of the leaderboard. In their dime defense Deone Buchannon typically lines up near the line of scrimmage and rushed the passer 103 times — 34 more times than any other defensive back — and slot cornerback Jerraud Powers rushed the passer 54 times — 23 more times than any other corner. Most interesting at the top is the Rams who went from Tim Walton to Gregg Williams at defensive coordinator. Their personnel didn’t change too much from 2013 to 2014, but how often each linebacker and defensive back rushed the passer saw a significant increase.

Near the bottom of the list we find mostly 4-3 teams or teams with two good edge rushers. Most notable is the Bills who also saw a defensive coordinator change. Kiko Alonso rushed the passer 85 times in 2013, while no linebacker rushed more than 50 in 2014. The defensive backs also saw a decrease in pass rushes.

Rank 2013 Rank Team Blitzes Dropbacks Blitz %
1 23 SL 274 602 45.5%
2 1 ARZ 288 678 42.5%
3 9 IND 302 730 41.4%
4 10 TEN 244 604 40.4%
5 15 PIT 238 631 37.7%
6 3 HST 253 678 37.3%
7 5 GB 259 696 37.2%
8 11 WAS 195 585 33.3%
9 18 NYJ 198 598 33.1%
10 6 MIA 193 601 32.1%
11 21 NO 194 605 32.1%
12 12 ATL 196 613 32.0%
13 17 CHI 194 607 32.0%
14 7 PHI 211 668 31.6%
15 14 NYG 176 593 29.7%
16 8 CLV 190 645 29.5%
17 13 SD 170 578 29.4%
18 27 MIN 171 597 28.6%
19 2 OAK 164 578 28.4%
20 20 KC 171 616 27.8%
21 16 BLT 213 771 27.6%
22 31 DET 171 688 24.9%
23 24 CAR 161 681 23.6%
24 28 SEA 161 691 23.3%
25 19 DEN 169 755 22.4%
26 30 SF 133 605 22.0%
27 26 CIN 146 695 21.0%
28 4 BUF 134 640 20.9%
29 25 NE 155 746 20.8%
30 22 TB 124 613 20.2%
31 29 DAL 129 684 18.9%
32 32 JAX 90 602 15.0%

 

Pass Rushing Productivity While Blitzing

Next are the teams that are best at blitzing as judged by our Pass Rushing Productivity Signature Stat. Like last year, we find a lot of the top teams are ones that don’t necessarily blitz often, but they just have a strong pass rush so occasionally adding another player only helps. A team like the Ravens move up to the Top 10 not so much because they have an inside linebacker or defensive back who is an impressive rusher, but more the front four they have are good, and adding a fifth helps.

A trio of teams who were in the Top 10 moved into the Bottom 10 in part due to decreased linebacker blitzing. For example, in 2013 the Buccaneers sent Lavonte David 105 times which led to eight sacks. In 2014 he only rushed the passer 56 times which led to one.

Rank 2013 Rank Team Dropbacks Sacks Hits Hurries PRP
1 6 MIA 193 22 20 55 40.5
2 1 SEA 161 15 24 43 40.5
3 5 SF 133 7 12 50 40.2
4 9 DEN 169 15 27 41 39.1
5 2 CAR 161 14 18 47 39.0
6 22 BLT 213 19 45 39 38.5
7 12 ARZ 288 14 32 90 36.6
8 14 BUF 134 13 17 31 36.6
9 26 NYG 176 19 29 31 36.4
10 27 PHI 211 17 29 50 36.1
11 13 NE 155 14 19 37 36.1
12 21 JAX 90 9 12 18 35.0
13 10 CIN 146 6 20 40 34.9
14 17 NO 194 12 20 53 34.4
15 30 PIT 238 16 37 50 34.1
16 7 DET 171 14 20 39 34.1
17 19 DAL 129 9 15 31 33.7
18 32 CLV 190 13 16 52 33.7
19 25 GB 259 20 30 59 33.5
20 23 SL 274 27 27 59 33.4
21 16 MIN 171 12 22 38 33.3
22 24 CHI 194 14 25 41 32.7
23 29 NYJ 198 19 20 41 32.7
24 3 WAS 195 17 27 35 32.6
25 15 IND 302 25 38 57 31.9
26 18 HST 253 6 42 55 31.1
27 4 TB 124 10 10 27 30.4
28 31 SD 170 9 15 42 30.4
29 11 TEN 244 21 22 46 29.5
30 8 KC 171 12 19 29 28.1
31 20 OAK 164 9 17 29 26.5
32 28 ATL 196 9 22 34 26.0

 

Pass Rushing Productivity Without the Blitz

Finally, we look at how good teams are when they don’t blitz. In general, teams are a lot better at getting pressure when blitzing. However, if a quarterback can recognize the blitz and get a pass off, in general their numbers are better than when they aren’t blitzed. At the top of the list of a normal rush is the Houston Texans thanks to J.J. Watt. Next year if Jadeveon Clowney can live up anywhere close to the hype, they might produce an even bigger lead on the rest of the league.

The Packers and Giants were able to move up from the Bottom 10 to the Top 10 in part due to strong free agent additions of Julius Peppers and Robert Ayers. On the flip side, the Bills fell from first to 14th. All four of their starting pass rushers played well in 2014, but none of them played as well as they did in 2013. In St. Louis, Robert Quinn nearly single-handedly moved the team to the second spot, but his play came down to Earth in 2014 which brought the team’s performance down as well.

Rank 2013 Rank Team Dropbacks Sacks Hits Hurries PRP
1 5 HST 425 31 48 79 29.7
2 7 DET 517 35 54 101 29.3
3 18 PHI 457 32 30 94 27.4
4 17 NYJ 400 24 35 76 26.8
5 25 GB 437 30 32 81 26.3
6 14 MIN 426 28 32 77 25.8
7 26 NYG 417 27 33 74 25.7
8 15 BLT 558 36 45 97 25.5
9 3 SEA 530 24 39 109 25.5
10 22 WAS 390 21 21 83 25.4
11 11 KC 445 34 18 87 25.3
12 23 NE 591 29 45 115 25.2
13 27 PIT 393 18 31 77 25.2
14 1 BUF 506 41 31 83 25.0
15 8 NO 411 22 20 86 24.7
16 6 SF 472 27 32 87 24.6
17 29 OAK 414 13 25 93 24.5
18 32 ATL 417 13 22 93 23.8
19 4 CAR 520 30 37 86 23.5
20 30 CHI 413 24 36 59 23.1
21 10 MIA 408 17 26 76 22.9
22 9 DEN 586 25 36 109 22.8
23 31 SD 408 17 27 74 22.7
24 28 DAL 555 22 42 96 22.6
25 13 ARZ 390 21 21 67 22.3
26 12 TEN 360 18 21 60 21.9
27 21 TB 489 25 37 72 21.8
28 2 SL 328 14 14 60 21.2
29 16 CIN 549 15 42 91 20.9
30 24 JAX 512 35 23 73 20.9
31 19 IND 428 20 22 59 18.9
32 20 CLV 455 18 19 70 18.6

* All data includes playoffs

* For Pass Rushing Productivity, if on a play one player had a pressure and another player had a sack, it was just treated as a sack. Therefore the data might not add up to what you see elsewhere on the site by individual totals. This was done so we could see — if you add up the sacks, hits and hurries — the number of plays on which a team created pressure.

 

Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke

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