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Higgo4

Ranking Defensive Player Stats by Importance

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I've always been a stats person. Even as a young child, I'd spend my hours looking over all the stats from my favourite sports (that includes the best sport in the world: Aussie Rules Football. But that's a conversation for another day), keeping track of how my favourite players were doing. As I grew older, my love for stats never changed. Instead, it was accompanied with the thought of "Is this why girls won't talk to me?". As I sank deeper and deeper into my stats, I came to two realizations: The answer to that thought is most certainly yes and that not all stats are created equally. Some held far more weight than others. So, I thought I'd rank player stats by how valuable I view them. For this, I'm going to be focusing on defensive stats in relation to my SS

 

6. Sacks

If I was a DE or LB, this would obviously be higher up but as a SS, it’s not really my job to put consistent pressure on QB. They occur so infrequently  for strong safeties that it’s hard to see them as a valuable indicator of how good a safety is tracking. Sacks as a safety are much like the cherry on top of a sundae.

 

5. Pass Defences

Something that I look out for as a SS, as it can give a bit of an indication of the impact you’re having on defence in being able to prevent passes being completed . Now, obviously if the ball simply isn’t thrown your way, it’s pretty hard to make a play and come up with a pass defence so low PD numbers can be purely a lack of opportunity. Context is key with this stat and that’s not something that can be determined simply by looking at it.

 

4. Tackles + TFLs

Speaking of context, let’s talk about the tackle stat. Some would argue it’s a completely useless stat for the simple fact that it completely lacks context. A tackle on third down that stops a receiver short of a first down is marked down the same as a tackle after a big gain, yet one of those is definitely more important than the other. TFLs can highlight some of those more important tackles, but much like sacks, these tend to be few and far between for a SS, purely for the lack of opportunity to do so. Despite it’s obvious flaws, I do think the tackle stat has relevance for looking at how involved a SS can be, but these tackle numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt

 

3. Safeties and Defensive TDs

Coming to the top three and the theme for these is impact. These are direct indicators of a strong safety’s impact in being able to turn the ball over and getting the offence back on the field or put points on the board yourself. The first of these is safeties and defensive TDs. These I view as the least important “impact stats” simply due to how infrequent they are. I’d rank defensive TDs slightly ahead of safeties purely for the fact that as a SS, I’d be more likely to score a defensive TD off a pick six or returning a recovered fumble than be able to force a safety.

 

2. Forced fumbles/fumble recoveries

I’ve grouped forced fumbles and fumble recoveries together purely for simplicity and have them ranked slightly ahead of safeties and defensive TDs on the basis that fumbles occur more often and whilst they don’t directly put points on the board, the ability to demoralize an driving offence by coming up with a fumble and preventing points being scored is huge. Fumbles show great instincts in seeing an opportunity to rip the ball out from the opponent.

 

1. Interceptions

Probably a bit of personal bias here, but this is a personal ranking list and c’mon, who doesn’t love a good pick? Not only does it measure impact on defence in getting turnovers, but it also displays your IQ in anticipating what’s coming and a knack for getting yourself in the right place at the right time. One INT might be a fluke, but when you’re consistently getting them, that’s the sign of a great ball hawking safety.

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17 hours ago, Higgo4 said:

it was accompanied with the thought of "Is this why girls won't talk to me?". As I sank deeper and deeper into my stats, I came to two realizations: The answer to that thought is most certainly yes

I lol'd. 

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