I had this random question in my head that had to do with where we stood as pass rushers as opposed to the league leaders on a statistical level. As in, I'm a nerd at heart and wondered what the numbers said about our pass rush up to this point. So I pulled up PFF and wiped out the calculator on my phone and got to looking at it. The following is what I found.
Mean= Average, or the sum of all numbers in a data set divided by the total number of data points in that set.
Median= The exact middle number between the highest data point and lowest data point in a data set.
Mode= The data point in a set that repeats itself the most.
Mode= T- 68 & 59 w/ 3 each
Mode= 67 w/ 3 each
Mode= 53 w/ 3 each
The obvious is backed up with numbers. The number 1 and number 2 teams in the NFL for sacks have a significantly higher mean PFF grade. The 57.18 that Atlanta received is saying that statistically we are actually average in pass rush, which according to every other concrete statistic is being very generous. To balance that off of what the normal concrete stats say is an average pass rush, the Arizona Cardinals grade out as a 61.86. So as we can see, the mean grade doesn't necessarily point to a productive pass rush, just what pass rush your entire defense is capable of. In this case, the Cardinals pass rush is capable of outperforming the number 2 pass rush team in the league right now with New England, but have ended up being much more pedestrian. How did that happen you ask? Simple really. New England has by far the most evenly distributed pass rush of the teams I looked at. I would bet that holds for the entire NFL. They have a dozen players with a grade that is above average. Dallas has a handful of really good players with the majority just being average. For Atlanta, well, only Grady Jarrett, Dee Alford, Mike Ford, and Rashaan Evans would pass as starters on other teams. Every other person would be a rotational piece for early down work on another team.
Another interesting result is for the median of each team. Atlanta had a median of 31.1 points separating the top and bottom data point (top 76.6, bottom 45.5), Dallas had a whopping 41.7 (top 91.7, bottom 50.0), and New England had an interesting 27.3 (top 79.1, bottom 51.8). What this says is the Dallas is very top heavy. Their backups are just like our backups, but their talent is producing like high end talent should. Parsons is who topped their list at a 91.7, but their safety Wilson also earned a grade of 89.4, which is high impressive. Both of those players are more than 10 points better than anyone on either of the teams below them. Dallas had a total of 12 players graded out as above average with pass rush, while New England had a total of 9 players on defense who graded out as above average with pass rush (65 or higher). Atlanta only had 7 that would fall into that category. Atlanta also has 6 players who graded out as below average in their pass rush (55 or below). Dallas has 3 and New England has 6 as well. With those below average pass rushers, Atlanta has 3 that were graded as really bad (50 or below), with Dallas having only 1, and New England having none.
The very interesting, and final point I will make is that Atlanta's mode (both since it was a tie), was higher then either of the top two teams. What does that point to? I would say it points to Atlanta being a highly bi-polar team. With New England the mode is 53, which is below average. With that said the mean is a 61.55. Meaning the majority of their team is above average, and they simply have a group of guys on the defense who are below average pass rushers. Dallas's mode is higher than our mean, which means they have a whole group of players who are better than our average player. Our tied mode insinuates that we have one group who is above average with a whole other group who are well below. The below average group seems to be the dominant group in Atlanta for the time being, but it shows that there may be hope in the future.