BOOK IT: 3 Things I Think about the Jaguars, Pass Rush Edition

  • 1. Tyson Alualu and Terrance Knighton are already a disruptive force against the pass. According to Pro Football Focus, there were 37 DT’s/NT’s who took more than 50% of their teams’ defensive snaps (given that a 4-3 has 2 interior starters and a 3-4 has 1, this roughly equates to all of the starters at the position). Alualu and Knighton each had 4 sacks, which ties them for 8th amongst the starters. They also had 4 QB hits a piece, tied for 13th. Alualu had 18 pressures, good for 14th, and Knighton had 16 pressures, good for 16th. Long story short – of the league’s starting DT/NT’s, both of our guys are in the top half in all of the pass rush measurables. After seeing what Alualu is capable of by effort alone, I’m very optimistic that refining his technique and being more accustomed to the pro game, he will be dominant next year. Check out this sack against Denver and this sack against Cleveland – PURE HEART. A formidable push from the middle is a key component to the overall pass rush. For one, the DT’s have a shorter distance to the quarterback; if they beat their man, they’re already right there to get the sack, swat, or at least make the quarterback soil themselves and make a hurried pass. Also, by occupying multiple blockers, the DE’s are freed up with one-on-one matchups and a blitzing linebacker may be left free. Adding D’Anthony Smith to the mix should add more pressure and keep Tyson and Terrance (TnT) fresher. With Kampman back in the lineup and our young DE’s improving, as well, the overall pass rush should improve.
  • 2. Aaron Kampman was on pace for a HUGE year last year and he will pick up right where he left off. Kampman had 14 QB hits in only 8 games last year, which still holds as #4 amongst 4-3 DE’s who played a full season last year. His 5 sacks and consistent pestering of the QB effected the game well beyond the stat sheet. But can he return from two busted knees in the past two season? Andrew, you crazy. No I’m not. Last year I wrote that it was no surprise that Kampman worked his way back so quickly to dominance from an injury because of his attitude – the same overacheiving, do-all-the-little-things-right attitude that turned him from a 5th round pick into one of the league’s premier pass rushers applies towards rehabbing his injuries. He’s already healthy again and as he told us last year, the man’s got huge patellar tendons and them puppies make some darn good replacements for busted ACL’s. 
  • 3. The Jaguars most effective rushers behind Kampman? Larry Hart and Derrick Harvey. Pro Football Focus keeps track of each rusher’s sacks, QB hits, and QB pressures. Each of these statistics is mutually exclusive (you cannot achieve two of the results at once – i.e. a sack is not also a QB hit and a QB hit is not also a QB pressure). Aaron Kampman produced a positive defense effect on the quarterback (sack/QB hit/QB pressure) on 11.5% of his 277 pass rushing snaps last year. I attributed a points system to come up with a “weighted result” for these statistic: a QB pressure is worth 1 point, a QB hit (basically pressure with a good thump on the QB after the ball’s released)  is worth 2 points, and a sack (which unlike the other two, always results in an incomplete pass, loss of down and loss of yardage) is worth 5 points. Given that the best result for any pass play is a sack, there is a possibility of 5 points on each play. Kampman’s average weighted defensive result is a .048, best on the team’s front seven (D-line and LB’s). Larry Hart (163 pass rush snaps/2 sacks/2 QB hits/13 QB pressures) produced a positive effect on the QB on 10.4% of his snaps and had an average weighted result of .033. Derrick Harvey (168 pr snaps/3 sacks/2 QB hits/9 QB pressures) produced a positive effect on the QB on 8.3% of his snaps and had an average weighted result of .033. Other notables: Austin Lane affected on 10.3% of his pass rushing snaps and had a .024 weighted average, Jeremy Mincey affected the QB 8.0% of his snaps and had a .031 weighted average, Aaron Morgan affected the QB on 10.9% of his snaps for a .028 weighted average. I think that means Larry Hart and Aaron Morgan could develop into potent pass-rush specialists next year, Austen Lane is a good run defender with some decent pass rushing upside, and Mincey might be more of a rotational guy. But it’s all about what happens on the field in 2011…

What do you expect from the pass rushers next year?

- Andrew Hofheimer


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Tags: Aaron Kampman Aaron Morgan Austen Lane Derrick Harvey Jaguars Jeremey Mincey Larry Hart Pass Rush

  • The Linebacker

    I will agree with everything. A point that may be made out of this is…. Don’t count Harvey out? He’s not terrible, just not as good as his draft position.

    • Brandon Clark

      that caught me off guard as well

      i’m glad you wrote this, andrew

      • The Linebacker

        Just another observation. Kampman returning will be huge. He could really make this defense good if he is healthy. The rest of the guys just need to wrap up. Remember, a good pass rush lowers the time needed to cover a player, screws up blocking assignments, hurries a QB, disrupts passing lanes, etc. Add D’Anthony Smith and we could be looking at a great DL.

  • kjones407

    The only thing I expect is improvement. If I’m not mistaken, we had 28 sacks last year, which doubled from the 2009 season. I’m expecting a 36-40 sack season, which would be a vast improvement. I think you are right about Kampman picking up where he left off and hopefully he’ll be available the entire season. I think Mincey will get better and should be able to get at least 8 sacks. I think Hart will get about at least 4 sacks playing the DPR position. I think Lane holds down his starter position, being more effective against the pass than he was last year. I think Morgan gets more opportunities also, as he was did a decent job considering he was a UDFA. I think Knighton and Alualu improve even more again this season and hopefully D’Anthony is fully recovered making this d-line even more of a force. It’s good to know Harvey was better than I thought he was, but he is the only question mark on the d-line at this point. I really hopes he can turn it on and become the player we all want him to be, but I don’t think he will. At this point, he’ll probably be more of a rotation guy and with his salary, that’s a bit much to be paying him. If he’d be willing to take a pay cut, then I’m all for him being on the team. But if other players are being just as effective at a fraction of the cost, then the team might be better served to cut their losses now. Either way, I think the pass rush will not be as much as a weakness as some think it is and the defense as a whole will be better for it.

  • The Linebacker

    All very valid and salient points. I agree. Salary cap numbers are as follows…

    2011 Salary
    Harvey — 1,637,500
    Lane — 405,000
    Morgan — ~340,000+
    I assume 1 year pro minimum salary
    Hart — 405,000
    Kampman — 2,450,000
    Mincey — 370,000

    • kjones407

      Thank you for this information. I don’t know why, but I thought his salary was much higher than that. So having him on the team won’t be as much a financial libility as I initially thought. Justin Smiley got just as much last year to sit on the bench, so there is no reason to believe Harvey won’t be a Jag this year and in 2012, unless he is totally ineffective.

      • The Linebacker

        You have to remember, that most of these contracts, when signed, have massive signing bonuses, etc. The salary usually isn’t that high.

        • kjones407

          So basically, he has got most of the money already. The lower than expected salary makes much more sense now. Thanks!

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