Statistics 101: Team Defense Edition

Hiring Smitty was kinda like when you hire a coach in Madden who is supposed to make your rush defense really awesome; and then your rush defense really does get better.  Because our rush defense is ridiculously good.  And not too long ago, it was our oft-publicized weakness.  Huzzah!

But our pass defense is marginal-at-best.  They're clutch though, which is all that really matters.  At least in theory.  

Join me after the jump for some cold hard facts.

If you're just curious about how the individual defensive players are faring statistically, check out what the folks over at advancedNFLstatistics have compiled.

 

After you finish drooling over that, check all this out:

1) DVOA

The Falcons are 3rd in the league in rush defense DVOA (-13.6% or 13% more successful than the league average).  The Steelers have the best rush defense DVOA in the league (-34.1% or 34.1% more successful than the league average) and the Bucs have the worst rush defense DVOA in the league (9% or 9% less successful than the league average). 

The Falcons are 21st in the league in pass defense DVOA (13.3% or 13.3% less successful than the league average).  The Giants have the best pass defense DVOA in the league (-21.6% or 21.6% more successful than the league average) and the Texans have the worst pass defense DVOA (47.2% or 47.2% less successful than the league average).

Remember, when talking about defensive DVOAs, negative DVOA means you are MORE successful than the league average; positive DVOA means you are LESS successful than the league average

(2) Interceptions

The Falcons are tied for 3rd in league with 16 interceptions.  The Eagles lead the league (20) and the Broncos have managed the fewest interceptions (6).

(3) Average Yards Allowed/Game

The Falcons are 19th in yards allowed/game (344.8 yards/game).  The Chargers give up the fewest yards/game (281.5 yards/game) and the Redskins give up the most yards/game (397.3 yards/game).

(4) Average Pass Yards Allowed/Game

The Falcons are 26th in pass yards allowed/game (246.3 pass yard/game).  The Chargers give up the fewest pass yards/game (186.3 pass yards/game) and the Texans give up the most pass yards/game (287.4 yards/game).

(5) Average Rush Yards Allowed/Game

The Falcons are 8th in rush yards allowed/game (98.5 rush yards/game).  The Steelers give up the fewest rush yards/game (62.3 rush yards/game) and the Bills give up the most rush yards/game (170.9 rush yards/game).

(6) Sacks

The Falcons are 28th in the league in sacks.  The Raiders lead the league (38) and the Bengals have managed the fewest sacks (14).

(7) Forced Fumbles

The Falcons are tied for 9th in the league in forced fumbles (9).  The Giants lead the league (25) and the Patriots have managed the fewest forced fumbles (4).

(8) Penalties and Penalty Yards

Just a heads up, I'm not exactly sure I have accurate numbers re: penalties/penalty yards (I found these on NFL.com -  they honestly sound a little high - quote them with caution). 

According to NFL.com, the Falcons 8th most defense penalties in the league (82).  The Rams have the most defensive penalties (101) and the Jets have the fewest defensive penalties (57).

The Falcons have given up the 9th most defensive penalty yards (688 yards).  The Raiders have given up the most defensive penalty yards (935 yards) and the Cowboys have given up the fewest defensive penalty yards (474 yards).

 

What do y'all think?  Is pass defense a HUGE priority next off-season, or can Dunta/Grimsey continue to pull off miracles?  With Smitty/TD at the helm, like it or not, is this as good as our pass defense can (or ever will) be?  I'm still undecided, but I'm definitely curious what you all have to say.

Next week is the last week in this series, but never fear, I'll still be bringing you statistical content that'll make you run for the kegerator that'll hopefully generate some continued dialogue about the role of statistics in football.  At the end of the day, I think we can all agree that "making a run" in the NFL doesn't just come down to how you measure up in each and every statistical category.  In reality, it's whirlwind mix of luck, talent, and sheer, unadulterated effort.

As always: GO FORTH AND BE STATISTICAL!

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