Friday, September 24, 2010

The Blindeside Project: Some Jets Questions

As the fresh data pours in, I wanted to start asking some questions about both the Jets offense and defense (we'll focus on the Giants in another posting). This posting will have one question for each side of the ball, and most of these results will be fairly raw and rather stream of conciousness style thinking so any comments or thoughts on areas that seem the most fruitful are welcome.

The first question is about the inherent aggressiveness of the defense. They get pressure quicker (2.3 seconds vs 2.45 average) than other teams. Do they get this pressure faster because they have better rushers or because they send more rushers?

The answer seems to be both. Jets are nearly twice as likely to send a 5th or 6th or even 7th rusher than any other team currently in the data set (see the graphs below for a comparison between the Jets distribution of # of player rushing the QB vs the entire data set).

This would suggest that the shorter time is due to higher volume of bodies flying at the opposing team's offensive line, but that is not the entire story. With a basic regression of time in the pocket on number of rushers, while controlling for the QB's dropback and whether they were in shotgun formation or not, I find that the Jets get more kick from their additional rushers than other defenses. For example, when the Jets go from four to five rushers, their opponents average time in the pocket drops by 0.22 seconds, while the average team only sees a drop in time in the pocket of abou 0.14 seconds when they send an additional rusher. This suggests  that it is not just volume of rushers (though that certainly helps) but also what those rushers are doing. The skill of the rushers and how they are sent are effects that we can't unpack just yet, but they seem to have a big effect for the Jets defense.

On the other side of the ball, Sanchez seems to be getting some credit for his cool demeanor, and I wonder if he really is cool under pressure, or is something else going on.

Looking at the data, the Jets face the fewest rushers on average of any team in the data set and have the longest average pressure free time in the pocket. They also have teh shortest average length of a throw (7 yds vs 9+ for everyone else. So, while none of this is truly conclusive, Sanchez gets more time to complete shorter throws, so his completion percentage better look good.


  1. The Jets also played two 3-4 defenses in the Ravens and Patriots which would explain the "fewest rushers".

  2. I wonder whether QB's facing the Jets pressure themselves a bit, so to speak. Because the Jets have a reputation for bringing heat, I wonder how many QB's enter the game with an intensified "get-rid-of-the-ball-quick" mentality.