NFL Broken Tackles Stats -- Bryant McFadden Stands Out as One of NFL's Most Steady Tacklers in 2010

PITTSBURGH PA - DECEMBER 19: Braylon Edwards #17 of the New York Jets is tackled by Bryant McFadden #20 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their game at Heinz Field on December 19 2010 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)

Last week, Football Outsiders published a two-part series that analyzed broken tackles in 2010. As always, interesting work by the statistical outfit. I'd like to highlight a few of their findings in several posts this next few days, beginning on the defensive side of the ball.

Obviously a top-ranked defense like the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't achieve what it did by missing a lot of tackles. But individuals can miss a relatively high number of tackles without necessarily compromising the overall play of the defensive collectively. However, it was impressive to see just how well the Steelers fared at all positions in terms of wrapping guys up. Let's take a look at some of the numbers around the league beginning with the defensive backs.

Highest Broken Tackle Percentage -- Defensive Backs
Player Defense Broken Tackles Total Tackles Broken Tackle %
D. Rodgers-Cromartie ARI 10 43 18.9 %
A. Francisco IND 9 42 17.6 %
R. Barber TB 14 66 17.5 %
V. Davis MIA 9 44 17.0 %
A. Wilson ARI 16 79 16.8 %
E. Wilson HOU 8 41 16.3 %
M. Griffin TEN 17 88 16.2 %
D. Grant NYG 9 47 16.1 %
W. Moore ATL 11 61 15.3 %
M. Jenkins NO 10 56 15.2 %

 

 

Lowest Broken Tackle Percentage -- Defensive Backs
Player Defense Broken Tackles Total Tackles Broken Tackle %
B. Fletcher
STL 1 64 1.5 %
B. Flowers
KC 1 57 1.7 %
R. Mathis
JAC 1 48 2.0 %
C. Carr
BAL 2 56 3.4 %
A. Bethea
IND 3 80 3.6 %
D. Whitner
BUF 4 105 3.7 %
B. McFadden
PIT 3 75 3.8 %
N. Jones
DEN 2 46 4.2 %
A. Elam
CLE 3 66 4.3 %
D. Manning
CHI 3 62 4.6 %

 

Thoughts:

  • There's some high profile names atop the list of players with the most missed tackles last year: Michael Griffin, Adrian Wilson and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie certainly come to mind. As FO notes, there's some variance in these numbers from year to year -- Antonie Bethea for example had 9 whiffs in 2009 only to miss just 3 tackles in '10. But still, any time your top shelf secondary guys are missing close to 1/6th of their potential tackles, your defense is in trouble and they no longer deserve to be considered Pro Bowl caliber anchors on that side of the ball. Not in my opinion at least.
  • Yet another example of why the Pro Bowl is a joke -- Adrian Wilson, who historically has been a sound tackler, almost leads the league in missed tackles last year yet gets elected to his fourth Pro Bowl. No bagging on Wilson -- great leader, great worker, definitely a guy you want on your team. But he's not God's gift to versatile production against the pass and run as some might like to believe he is. For better or worse (in his case, for better) his reputation proceeds him a bit at this stage in his career. I might harp more, but the same could be argued for Troy Polamalu, who despite being a stud and one-of-a-kind at times, it still undeniably more highly regarded on a weekly basis than his fluctuating productivity might warrant.
  • See, this is why people need to get off Bryant McFadden's back. The dude can play. He's as physical and sure a tackler as there is in a defensive backfield. Just three misses in 78 attempts. Very impressive. B-Mac needs a healthy Troy Polamalu and a better nickel corner playing beside him, but he's plenty capable of playing at a high enough level in Dick LeBeau's defense. Bend but don't break; don't miss tackles after the catch; and be great in run support on the perimeter. McFadden will start at cornerback in 2010, you can count on that.
  • Ronde Barber is a ninny.
  • I have heard some of you all (namely DaTruth4Life) mention Chris Carr's name as a solid option to try to acquire once free agency finally re-opens. I wouldn't have figured him to be such a sure tackler, but apparently he is.

Anything else stand out at you?

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