Defensive Ends


I am looking at the 3-4 Defensive End position. Pairing the data with the NT position would seem to answer which 3-4 team has the best Defensive Line in 2011.

 The Problem is not all 3-4's are the same. We have our Kansas City Chiefs 2-gap "Read and React" 3-4 and then we have most of the other 3-4 teams playing a Penetrating style defense. Another concern, is how the 3-4 base Defensive teams handle the Nickel and Dime sub-packages. Most every one of them except Green Bay pulls the Nose Tackle in obvious passing downs. The NFL's best Defense so far in 2011, the San Francisco 49er's remove the NT and slide their Ends into a DT role. The Kansas City Chiefs pull their entire Base Defensive line and sub in other DT's. In looking at the snap counts for our four primary DE's we have Tyson Jackson with 224 snaps, Glenn Dorsey with 241, Wallace Gilberry with 135, and Allen Bailey with 136.

The 49er's Justin Smith has taken 392 snaps and Ray McDonald has nearly matched that with 390. To expand that data to the NT's employed by each team: Kelly Gregg has played 192 snaps and Isaac Sopoaga has 159 snaps played. The Chiefs have had 410 defensive snaps and the 49er's 416 total snaps.

What stat would evalute 3-4 DE's the best across the board? What are 3-4 DE's supposed to do? 

What is the primary responsibility of a 3-4 Defensive End in the NFL? per google

Indeed, for 3-4 linemen, the action in the playmaking department rarely is fast and furious. All 3-4 teams use some style of the "two-gap" technique, which calls for the nose tackle to fill the "A" gaps on either side of the center and for the ends to take care of the "B" and "C" gaps between the guards and tackles and outside the tackle, respectively. The idea is to fill both gaps and delay, if not prevent, blockers from reaching the second level, thereby creating open lanes to the football for the inside linebackers. from ESPN in 2004

How bout those Steelers? Link

The 3-4 defensive end is typically bigger than his 4-3 counterpart.  Unlike the 4-3 defensive end, the 3-4 defensive end is not primarily responsible for pressuring the quarterback.  In the 3-4, that responsibility typically falls to the outside linebackers.  Instead, the job of the defensive ends is to occupy blockers to allow the linebackers to be isolated against a running back or tight end.  In either case, the linebacker should have a decided advantage.

While the 3-4 defensive end won’t face double-teams as often as the nose tackle will, he must be able to handle the double-team on a fairly consistent basis.  That’s why the prototype 3-4 defensive end will typically be around 6’5″, and weigh between 290 – 310 lbs.  Many 3-4 defensive ends were actually defensive tackles in college.

Inside Linebacker Tandems

Patrick Willis / NaVorro Bowman (San Francisco) combined 99 tackles and 50 Offensive Stops

Derrick Johnson / Javon Belcher combined 75 tackles and 30 Offensive Stops

Lawrence Timmons / James Farrior (Pittsburgh) combined 67 tackles and 38 Offensve Stops

Sean Lee / Keith Brooking (Dallas) combined 64 tackles and 28 Offensive Stops

Desmond Bishop / AJ Hawk (Green Bay) combined 91 tackles and 38 Offensive Stops

The top Run Stopping 3-4 Defenses in 2011:

Stats are from

 Team  Player  Snaps  Sacks  Hits  Pressures Total Tackles Missed Tackles Offensive Stops
 San Francisco 49er's  Justin Smith  392  5  5  26  21  0  14
 6 Deep  Ray McDonald  390  4  4  17  9  1  9
 416 "D" Snaps  Isaac Sopoaga (NT)  159  0  0  3  7  1  3
 Kansas City Chiefs  Glenn Dorsey  240  0  1  0  18  0  10
 5 Deep  Tyson Jackson  224  0  0  2  16  1  10
 410 "D" Snaps  Kelly Gregg (NT)  192  1  0  1  14  2  8
 Pittsburgh Steelers  Ziggy Hood  328  0  4  6  8  0  1
 7 Deep  Brett Keisel  250  2  1  6  13  2  10
 439 "D" Snaps  Steve McLendon (NT)  85  1  0  3  5  0  5
 Green Bay Packers  Ryan Pickett  232  0  0  2  10  0  8
 4 Deep  Jarius Wynn  251  3  0  4  9  1  10
 474 "D" Snaps  BJ Raji (NT)  415  2  0  8  12  0  7
 Dallas Cowboys  Marcus Spears  171  1  0  6  9  0  7
 5 Deep  Kenyon Coleman  151  0  1  4  9  0  8
 391 "D" Snaps  Jay Ratliffe (NT)  305  1  4  6  14  0  10


I got nothing for a STAT to differentiate the best  :)

There isn’t a better place to start than on the defensive line, where we have the aforementioned Justin Smith (+22.4), as well as Ray McDonald (+16.9) leading the way.  The defensive ends in base, both kick inside in the nickel, with the results being extremely impressive.  You only need to look at the raw pass rushing statistics to see how good these two have been, with Smith (five sacks, five hits and 26 pressures) and McDonald (four sacks, four hits and 17 pressures) being ranked 1st and 3rd of all 3-4 ends respectively in the cumulative pressure totals.
from PFF

Geaux Chiefs

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