2019 LA Rams 5 man pass rush ranks fourth in NFL

In their latest 2019 report, SIS blog ranks 2019 LA Rams 5 man pass rush as third in the NFL

The LA Rams were one of the most “results-oriented” pass-sacking defenses in the NFL in 2019. Results-oriented, because the Rams generated 50 quarterback sacks in 2019, good for the fourth-ranked defense in the nation.  But as is the case with many such statistics, there is the story within the story.

You see, teams get credit for the sacks, individual players get credit tor the sacks. But the true measure of pass-rush effectiveness for a defensive line coaches are who was on the field when it happened?

NBA analytics for NFL teams

Basketball analytics has been doing this for some time, and it really makes the best sense.  Here’s why? Football squads work because some players engage multiple blockers so other players are unchallenged to get to the quarterback. It really does me no good from a defensive standpoint to sign a guy who gets 10 sacks but needs other players to plow the road for him to do so.

We all agree in strength in numbers, but until now the NFL analytical tools have been quite lacking in that department.  Apparently, no more. The latest reports from Sports Info Solutions.com are a treasure trove for the types of analytics which make that type of “unit” analysts possible.  Of course, to use the data, you must first understand the data.

QB pressures by NFL teams

So when we are analyzing the pass rush of various defenses, the folks at SIS Blog decided to go with QB pressure.  They could have elected QB hits or the more definitive QB sacks, but pressures will do for now.

So now we know what was measured. Now, what about the results.? This may surprise you., but they measured the effectiveness of three-man, four-man, and five-man pass rushes.  Despite the LA Rams boasting All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald as a starter on their 3-4 defensive line, his presence did not put either the Rams three-man or four-man pass rush into the top five.

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Who made the grade?

For the three-man units, they were ranked in this order: Packers (1st), Vikings (2nd), Titans (3rd), Saints (4th), and Colts.  For the four-man units, they were ranked in this order: Packers (1st), Seahawks (2nd), Chargers (3rd), Panthers (4th), Chiefs (5th).

I was not until we get to the five-man units that the Rams appear. In the five-man ranking, teams were ranked in the following order: Cowboys (1st), Steelers (2nd), Texans (3rd), Rams (4th), and Buccaneers (5th).  So who made up the Rams five-man rush?  OLB Clay Matthews, DE Aaron Donald, NT Michael Brockers, OLB Dante Fowler Jr., and DE Sebastian Joseph-Day.  They played together on 21 defensive snaps and got pressure on the quarterback 52 percent of the time.

2020 version

The Rams won’t be sending either Fowler or Matthews onto the field this year. So who will take their place? Right now, it appears that both Leonard Floyd and Samson Ebukam will take over for them.  Meanwhile, keep in mind that SIS Blog has set a minimum of 15 snaps together in order to qualify for ranking.

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This is an interesting tool that we’ll keep an eye on this season.  I just found the site through a friend, so I’m just starting to explore how it presents data, and what conclusions we can come to as a result.

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