Advanced stats are cute. At least that’s what I was told in a sarcastic way a couple seasons ago when talking to a member of the Buccaneers organization. And several others around the league feel the same in some ways.
Pro Football Focus -- a prominent advanced stat platform -- is used by many outlets and teams in some instances. I’ve used them myself but sparingly and cautiously. Things like sacks, yards per completion, situational turnovers, and a few others are commonly found on the usual NFL stat sheet.
PFF’s latest props up Bucs’ defensive tackle Gerald McCoy’s status some more as their best pass rusher in the game the past two seasons with 125 pressures. How relevant is that? Well, that depends on how you look at it.
Pressures are good and all, but what good is it if the defense is still getting beat? What good is it if the defense fades away as the game progresses? What good is it if the team’s most prominent figure can’t close the game out for his team?
Of McCoy’s 8.5 sacks in 2014, 1.5 of them came in the second half of games while the other seven came in the first half. And if you recall, in a breakdown written here on BucsBlitz.com, four of McCoy’s 8.5 sacks were a result of defensive end Jacquies Smith’s pressure forcing the quarterback right into Tampa Bay’s veteran tackle or it bought McCoy time to break free and get to the quarterback.
Also of note, McCoy’s sacks came off one on ones. So while the argument has been made that he faces several double teams, he’s also faced several -- and I mean several -- head-to-head matchups.
Advanced stats are easy on the eyes but they will never tell the full story. Some have defended McCoy saying he just needs some help. While that can be true, the great ones make those around him just as good and are sometimes classified as players who can do it all by themselves.
Hopefully McCoy gets there soon.
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