That was supposed to be said like the Jim Mora line about the Playoffs. Say it that way and it makes more sense. Before you start thinking "uh-oh, Aiken has another stupid post about our defense", let me tell you it did start out that way (probably stupid but definitely about the defense). Then it sort of got to be about the combination of the offense and defense.
I am worn out at listening to the speculation about how good or bad our defense is going to be this year. Everybody comes down on one side or the other (except ST lovers and nobody can explain them-not even the gods themselves) of whether or not we should be excited or horrified about what our defense is going to do this season. Most of the argument seems to be centered around whether we have the tools to make the defense work. I have seen a lot of stuff out there about the fact that we are 'forcing' the 3-4 on our D because we don't have the personnel to make it work.
I started looking for statistical ways to quantify and qualify our defense. That lead to trying to quantify and qualify the 3-4 versus the 4-3 versus the Hybrid. I found some interesting stuff and some that wasn't so interesting but on the whole, I couldn't find one shred of evidence(statistically speaking that is)that what defense we run makes a hoot of a difference. Follow me after the jump at your own peril.
First off, lets lay the ground work. According to the internet sources that I checked, there were 9 teams last year that were running the 3-4. Those teams were Dallas, Pittsburg, NY Jets, Chargers, Chiefs, Packers, Pats, Browns and Broncos. There were four teams that ran a hybrid 3-4. From what I can gather, this means that sometimes they set in the 3-4 and sometimes the 4-3. It would seem to me that this hybrid thingy would be a pretty good way to disguise your defense and keep an OC guessing but that is for another post. Those teams running the Hybrid were the Dolphins, Ravens, 49ers and Cards. Then there were the rest of the teams that run the 4-3.
I was thinking that if I could find some stats to support the play of Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, that we could collectively stick our tongues out at their detractors. The truth is that comparing these guys to anybody who didn't play exactly the same position and scheme is useless. It's the old apples and oranges deal. That means that you pretty much have to stick with those 9 teams that ran a similar scheme to ours last year.
Looking at it that way here is what you get:
|Marques Douglas NYJ||64||35||29||1.5||0||1||0|
|Robaire Smith CLE||62||43||19||1.5||0||0||0|
|Glen Dorsey KC||54||41||13||1||0||0||0|
|Brent Keisel PIT||54||36||18||3||0||1||0|
|Shaun Ellis NYJ||53||35||18||6.5||0||1||0|
|Ty Warren NE||46||33||13||1||0||0||0|
|Casey Hampton PIT||43||23||20||2.5||0||0||0|
|Igor Olshansky DAL||40||29||11||1.5||0||0||0|
|Kenny Peterson DEN||40||26||14||1||0||1||0|
|Johnny Jolly GB||39||24||15||1||1||1||11|
|Kenyon Coleman CLE||38||28||10||1.5||0||0||0|
|Tyson Jackson KC||38||27||11||0||0||0||0|
|Jarvis Green NE||36||21||15||1||0||0||0|
|Vonnie Holiday DEN||33||24||9||5||0||2||0|
|Cullen Jenkins GB||32||23||9||4.5||1||3||2|
|Corey Williams CLE||31||24||4||4||0||1||0|
|Mike Devito NYJ||28||20||8||0||0||0||0|
|Jacques Cesaire SD||26||15||11||1||0||1||0|
|Travis Kirschke PIT||26||13||10||1||0||0||0|
|Luis Castillo SD||25||17||8||2||0||0||0|
|Ryan McBean DEN||25||18||7||0||0||0||0|
|Marcus Spears DAL||25||17||8||2.5||0||0||0|
|Darrell Reid DEN||24||18||6||4||0||2||0|
|Rob Ninkovich NE||23||14||9||1||0||0||0|
|Wallace Gilberry KC||22||20||2||4.5||0||0||0|
|Robert Ayers DEN||19||14||5||0||0||0||0|
Now, these are ranked by total tackles as a priority(isn't that their main job?). This is the top 27 players from those nine teams that are listed as DEs. That was enough to give three from each team, but it didn't work out that way. Denvers D had 5 DEs in the top 27! SD, DAL and GB only had two each. All the rest had three.
Interestingly enough, Glenn Dorsey was third overall in combined tackles. That is a pretty good stat for a draft bust. It also should give you some indication of just how busy the invisible man was last year.
Tyson Jackson? The guy that everybody just abhors as a reach and a lousy bust who oughta be drawn and quartered and fed to the pigeons and then--sorry, I digress. He ranked 13th out of 27 in combined tackles for ALL DEs playing in the 3-4 and he did it as a rookie! Ok, everybody stick out your tongues now!
The most interesting statistic here to me though was the sacks. That's what everybody seems to want from these guys even though they normally take on two lineman on every stinking play from scrimmage. The entire group of 27 guys combined for 52.5 sacks or an average of 1.94 per player. That means that if you had 2 you were statistically above average. Only 10 players had 2 or more sacks. What's really telling is that 7 players accounted for 31.5 sacks. That means that 26% of the players accounted for 60% of the sacks.
Was this caused by scheming DCs? I think so. How else do you explain the fact that the 7 players were on 6 different teams? Only Denver had more than one 'above average' sack master on the same team. BTW, that should wake up a few OCs in the AFC west! The Jets(Shaun Ellis), Pittsburgh (Brent Keisel), Green Bay (Cullen Jenkins), Cleveland (Corey Williams), and yes our very own KC Chiefs (Mr. Wallace Gilberry) each had one of these statistical over achievers.
You would think that Denver would have the most simply because they had the most players on the list. Correct! Denver (Vonnie Holiday and Darrel Reid) had 10 total, then it was the Jets with 8, Cleveland with 7, Pittsburgh with 6.5, KC and GB tied with 5.5, Dallas had 4 and NE and SD bring up the rear with 3 each. Again, these stats are from the DEs that played the most and had the most tackles on those nine teams.
What you say? KC wasn't dead ass last in the team sack category? Not compared to their similar counterparts from other teams.
Ok, so where does the offense and defense combined come into play? You were hoping I forgot about that part and you were going to get off easy didn't you. Ha! No Chance!
Well, I began to think about the teams that have high powered offenses and wondered if those teams played against an inordinate amount of 3-4 defense either way. In other words could you draw any conclusions from the schedule of those high scoring teams playing a whole bunch of 3-4 defenses or nearly none at all. As it turned out, it didn't mean a thing to those offenses.
The top four high scoring offenses of the 2009 season were the Saints, the Vikes, the Packers and the Chargers. New Orleans played against only 4 defenses that used the 3-4 and won 13 games. At first I thought I might be onto something here. Then I moved to the Vikes. They played 7 teams that use the 3-4 and won 12 games. The Pack played 6 teams using the 3-4 and won 11 games and the Chargers played 9 of the 3-4 variety and won 13 games. These were simply just good offenses. They didn't care what kind of defense was thrown at them, they just went out and played solid, high scoring football.
Think about KCs offense from last year. Particularly the first half of the season. That o-line was in such shambles we weren't going to win many games no matter how the defense played. Defense seems to have caught alot of the crap though because of the addition of Matt Cassel. I am a Cassel fan, but he can't do it all by himself.
For proof, turn the page to the last half of the season. Suddenly we have an RB who is hungry and beginning to see a few holes. He took advantage and set some team records. Why? Improved o-line play is part of it. Getting rid of 2.7 was another part. I think ol' Coach Haley might just have something with this zone blocking scheme of his. That is why I am so excited about our OFFENSIVE additions this off season. We have to be able to score to compete. Strap yourself in baby, because this offense is primed to score some points!
I guess my point for this long post(thanks for staying with me!)is that we can't focus on only one side of the ball and hope to be successful in the long run. I think that the current regime is focusing on both and that means that we simply couldn't get pro bowl upgrades at every position. I believe the fact is that we don't need pro bowlers everywhere. What we do need are the right 53(alright! who threw that tomato?!)
The right 53 really means guys that put the team first. None of the pundits who keep writing the trash about our Chiefs have a clue as to what is going on at arrowhead. Have you ever heard the statement that past performance is no predicter of future returns? Maybe, just maybe, we'll have enough of the right 53 on the 2010 squad to scare the playoffs. I am pulling for 'em. Oh, won't the pundits be impressed! They will sound like Bill Murry in Caddy Shack while he was shredding tulips "Out of nowhere, Cinderella story...".
Caddyshack Cinderella Man (via golfpride72)
Let's hear it for the Cardiac Chiefs!!!! I'm alright, nobody worry 'bout me!