An FO Look at the Lions D Line



The FO stands for Football Outsiders, and the looking is by esteemed [by me at least] football writer Mike Tanier.

Here is the Link to the article:

This is an outstanding article where Mr. Tanier begins by looking at Cliff Avril's sacks in 2011 with the intent of trying to project whether his level of performance will be transferable [to another team and D Line] and sustainable [on the Lions].

The method he uses is to watch the tape of every sack that Cliff had in 2011 and determine who he beat, who was double teamed on the Lions D Line,and the type of sack. He then repeated that exercise with KVB's 2011 sacks.

I will highlight a few of the interesting conclusions or observations that he makes based on his study.

Opponents double-teamed Suh or Sammie Lee Hill on most of the sacks, but keep in mind that defensive tackles regularly draw double teams in pass protection. Avril was not benefitting from too much extra emphasis on his teammates, though it was also rare for a tight end or running back to chip him on the plays in question.

None of the sacks were really "clean up" sacks; most occurred in the pocket, and Avril was the first guy on the scene. It’s important to note, though, that many of the strip sacks were really just swipes at the quarterback’s elbow that jarred the ball loose. Avril did not escape his blocker and deliver a blow to the quarterback.

Vanden Bosch sacks looked a lot like Avril sacks: he beat his blocker off the line, got to the edge, and was more likely to swipe the ball free than bring down the quarterback in many cases.

Vanden Bosch does not appear to be drawing single coverage because of Avril, Avril did not draw single coverage because of Vanden Bosch, and Suh did not get a disproportionate number of double-teams, either. No one Lions defender rode the coattails of any of the others.

And the guy who looked most impressive after watching all of that tape was ... Sammie Lee Hill.


Please take the time to read the entire article as there is much more that should be of interest to all Lions fans. I will confess that the article is not really about the entire D Line, but it was interesting to see the comparison on the sacks between our two most prolific sackers and what was happening on the rest of the line.

I was especially interested in Mr. Tanier's take that no one player on the Lions D Line was the focus of attention of the opponent's O Line which made the job easier for others. This is completely against what is preached as gospel on this site and by most media gurus.

I will happily respond to any questions or comments below. GO LIONS!!!

NOTE: I did not put this up as a FanShot because..., well......, nobody even looks at those things.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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