FanPost

Why Can't the Lions Tackle?

So I thought I'd take it upon myself to look into how well our defense performed in terms of "tackling efficiency" last year. As per ProFootballFocus, tackling efficiency is "the total number of attempted tackles made per each missed tackle". You'll find that most of these results are unsurprising. I excluded the D-Line, as they don't drop into coverage that often, and I wasn't able to find the TE stat for them. Credit to PFF for the great job that they do on calculating these stats, and their hard work.

Out of 114 Cornerbacks in 2012

Rank Player Run Snaps Tackles Missed Tackles Efficiency Pass Snaps Tackles Missed Tackles Efficiency Total Efficiency
11 Houston 325 6 N/A 541 42 3 16 18.3
95 Lacey 201 8 2 6 351 22 5 5.8 5.9
98 Green 123 4 1 5 258 18 4 6 5.8
111 Florence 86 6 2 4.5 207 10 6 2.7 3.1


Houston was obviously solid all-around last year. Good in coverage and did well wrapping up his man. I'm sure a lot of us aren't surprised to see Florence so low, as he had a pretty bad year for us. Green came in as a 6th round pick who was forced to play due to injuries, so I don't really blame him for struggling. Hopefully our young guys this year will improve and learn a thing or two from Houston.

Out of 87 Safeties

Rank Player Run Tackles MT Eff. Pass Tackles MT Eff. Total
13 Carey 134 11 1 15 211 9 1 11 13
19 Delmas 146 19 3 8.3 273 19 1 23 12
56 Coleman 177 19 5 5.8 271 18 2 11 7.3
78 Silva 161 15 3 7 235 13 4 4.3 5.4

Safety was definitely our strongest position in terms of tackling efficiency. Carey really did a great job stepping in towards the end of the season and played very well for us. I'm looking forward to seeing him out on the field more and backing up Delmas, assuming he can play. Carey had a great year in coverage and had a monster game against Luck, but I didn't expect to see him this high as a tackler. Silva was cut recently and just wasn't a good fit for our 2-deep safety scheme, so no big loss there. We can only improve as we're keeping our top 2 tacklers at the position and signed Quin (#12 on the chart) in Free Agency.

Out of 43 4-3 OLB's

Rank Player Run Tackles MT Eff. Pass Tackles MT Eff. Total
29 Levy 315 38 6 9.2 363 32 4 9.5 9.3
31 Durant 345 49 6 11.3 478 40 8 6.1 8.4

Out of 53 ILB's

Rank Player Run Tackles MT Eff. Pass Tackles MT Eff. Total
52 Tulloch 388 50 10 7.1 599 43 9 5.8 6.5

I wasn't surprised to see how poorly our OLB's were rated. Levy has been known to miss a good amount of tackles, plus he has struggled with injuries lately. Durant was our best run stopper last year and showed that with a pretty good tackling efficiency rating in regards to the run, but struggled all year in coverage. What surprised me is how low Tulloch was ranked last year. A guy who was voted as a top 100 player in the NFL on NFLN with 19 missed tackles? That's pretty bad. Tulloch was graded as the 35th best ILB out of 53 last year on PFF, and I'm assuming his inability to tackle was a big part of that. I'm hoping that we can look back at this and say it was a fluke since he hasn't struggled this bad in the past. In 2011, Tulloch was ranked #11 of 37 out of all ILB's in terms of tackling efficiency, and #9 of 39 in 2010 for the Titans. Let's hope that he can go back to that form.

What does this all mean? Well we sure as hell need to figure something out. It seems like every year our guys continue to take bad angles, and try to go for that big hit with their shoulder instead of wrapping up. Who's to blame? I admit I'm a Gunther Cunningham apologist, but can we blame him for all of this? Or is it the players? Someone needs to teach these guys how to tackle, because this is really a make or break year for all of these coaches.

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

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