This is the time of the season when it starts getting really interesting. We’ve got a decent amount of data, and we can really start seeing trends.
1. Marcus Davenport has racked up 19 pressures, but just one sack
Dorance Armstrong has 17 pressures and 5 sacks. So, Davenport’s finisher ratio is 5.2%, while Armstrong’s is over 29%.
The IDP world continues to be bamboozled by sack numbers and fail to see the data behind them that indicates how likely those sacks are to continue.
Davenport enjoyed a breakout season in 2021 and looked like a stud. His 2022 is not quite at those levels, but he’s playing better than people think he is. If he’s on a team that does not look like a contender, he’s well worth trying to acquire right now.
2. Quinnen Williams has turned 25% of his 24 pressures into sacks
As a quick comparison, Chris Jones has converted just 9.7% of his. The average for the top 36 interior linemen (sorted by number of pressures) is 13.5%.
Williams is playing very well, and no other interior lineman has more pressures this season. But that’s still unsustainable efficiency. Sack finishing is not a pass-rusher skill. It’s more dependent on quarterback activity. There’s all sorts of talk about Williams being the overall DT1, so as well as he’s playing this is an opportunity to capitalise. Certainly, if you can trade him for Chris Jones or Jeffery Simmons, you should be looking at deals.
3. The most-targeted linebacker in the NFL this season so far is Devin Lloyd
He’s had 44 passes thrown into his primary coverage so far (about seven times per game). Patrick Queen is second on the list with 36. So, Lloyd is about 22% more targeted than the number two.
The relationship between targets and tackles is overblown (snaps to tackles is FAR more indicative), but it does give us an idea of how offenses are actually treating him. We are pretty terrible at judging linebacker play from statistical evidence, but right now offenses and quarterbacks are choosing to go after Lloyd more than any of his peers in the league.
4. Trevon Diggs has two interceptions this season. After week six in 2021, he had seven
File this under “not much of a shock, eh?”
And yet still, significant portions of the great IDP nation were absolutely convinced that this time, this player is so special he’s immune to the normal regression we see for low-probability stats like interceptions. Our hubris tells us every season that this time it’s different, but good process is ignoring that voice.
Diggs is a decent player. And, he’s taken a decent leap forward from 2021 when he allowed over 1,000 yards receiving (no other corner hit 870). He jointly leads the NFL in combined PDs and INTs with eight but expecting a consecutive season of picks like his 2021 is just foolish.
5. Dolphins safety Brandon Jones has recorded a tackle on over 15% of his defensive snaps
Among the other 61 safeties to have played the most this season average is just 8.4%. Even if we look at the other safeties in the top 12 of scoring this season, the average is just over 10%.
Jones is the only NFL safety (with significant snaps) to play over 50% of the time in the box in 2022, and it’s showing up in the stat column.
We’ve covered extensively how last season’s Dolphins safety numbers were distorted by that single game against the Ravens, but still people on Twitter are asking why Jevon Holland’s pass rush numbers have dried up. This is why you have to go deeper than box stats.
6. Alex Singleton recorded 22 total tackles last week. Comfortably the highest single-game number this year
Second so far is Kamu Grugier-Hill with 18 tackles back in week one. No other player has beaten 15 this season.
The driver is of course volume, as it almost always is with tackle numbers. Singleton played a whopping 93 snaps this week. Grugier-Hill played 92 in week one. No other LB has played more in a game this season.
22 tackles is obviously extreme, but his tackle efficiency was ‘just’ 24%. That’s really high, but we see higher on a one-game sample size relatively often.
Singleton seems to have some sort of factor that causes high efficiency. But we cannot be sure of it. Last season all Eagles LBs displayed the same thing, and this season he’s only played four games (of which one had a very low tackle efficiency). More information is needed, but the narrative of “Singleton has a nose for the ball!” is way too basic to take seriously.
7. In the past three games, Cody Barton has played 133 defensive snaps
In that period, 47 other (off-ball) linebackers have played more than he has, while his teammate Jordyn Brooks has lined up for 222 snaps.
This season, the Seahawks have lined up with only one orthodox linebacker on the field 24% of their snaps. In 2021 that figure was just 9%, while their use of a big dime secondary (three corners and three safeties) has gone from 8% in 2021, to 14%.
Over the past two weeks, Ryan Neal (148 snaps) has joined Quandre Diggs as an every-snap player, while Josh Jones has reverted to his bit-part role.
None of this is unusual against a backdrop of league behaviour. We know that teams have been deploying more single-LB sets, and more big dime packages for years now. And yet people are still surprised when Pete Carroll and the Seahawks adopt it.