Camp Countdown: 28 Days — DL Production

We break down everything — tackles, tackles for losses, sacks and more — on a per-snap basis to give you a more complete picture of the defensive line.

Daniels photo by Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY

Mike Daniels emerged as the Green Bay Packers’ most productive defensive lineman last season.

Daniels went from situational pass rusher in 2013 to three-down player in 2014. With one first-round pick on injured reserve (B.J. Raji) and another being a role player (Datone Jones), Daniels, a fourth-round pick in 2012, paced the unit with 69 tackles, 5.5 sacks and seven tackles for losses.

But which defensive lineman was the most productive on a per-snap basis? And which players delivered vs. the run and pass? These charts have the answers.

Defensive line: Overall tackle rates

Tackles are from the coaches’ count. Tackles for losses are from the official league stats. Snaps are from ProFootballFocus.com.

PlayerTacklesSnapsRateTFLRate
Mike Daniels6969610.09799.43
Letroy Guion625558.95692.50
Josh Boyd3439211.533130.67
Datone Jones3032310.773107.67
Mike Pennel181759.721175.00
Luther Robinson46616.500NA
What it means: No wonder the Packers chose to keep Guion, despite his offseason transgressions. Still, he wasn’t as productive as Ryan Pickett. From 2009 through 2012, Pickett went 7.74 snaps between tackles. Keep an eye on Pennel during training camp. He made the roster last year as an undrafted free agent and was productive in limited opportunities. With Guion and Raji back on one-year deals, the mammoth Pennel could be the long-term answer at nose tackle if he takes a significant step forward.

Defensive line: Tackle rates vs. run

Tackles and tackles for losses are from the official stats, which have run/pass breakdown. Snaps are from ProFootballFocus.com.

PlayerTacklesRun snapsRateTFLRate
Mike Daniels323189.942159.00
Letroy Guion2530012.003100.00
Josh Boyd211888.95362.67
Datone Jones15926.13246.00
Mike Pennel89111.38191.00
Luther Robinson22311.500NA
What it means: While Jones opened the season as a starter, Boyd eventually took his place in the base defense. Interestingly, Jones was far and away the top tackler vs. the run on a per-snap basis. Yet, Pennel almost played as many snaps against the run as Jones. Clearly, that signals the feast-or-famine nature of Jones’ game. Sometimes he made the play. Sometimes he was blown out of his gap. Boyd was strong and reliable against the run, which might give him the edge during training camp in a crowded position group. The run defense was 0.58 yards per carry better with Guion when he was on the field vs. when he was on the sideline, according to league data. That was the best rate in this unit, with Boyd next at 0.44 and Pennel at 0.42. Regardless, the Packers need more. (The run defense was 0.02 yards worse with Jones.) Their entire defensive line had 11 tackles for losses against the run. Houston’s J.J. Watt had 12 by himself.

Defensive line: Pressure per pass play

Sacks are the official league numbers. Quarterback hits are from the coaches’ count. Snaps are from ProFootballFocus.com.

PlayerPass-rush snapsSacksRateQB HitsRate
Mike Daniels3775.568.551919.84
Letroy Guion2533.572.291025.30
Josh Boyd2010.0NA450.25
Datone Jones2231.5148.67827.88
Mike Pennel840.0NA328.00
Luther Robinson430.0NA143.00
What it means: Daniels led the team – not just the D-line unit – in quarterback hits. Due to need and his improved all-around play, he was asked to play more on first and second down than in 2013. With the return of Raji, perhaps the Packers can feature Daniels in more of a playmaking role on passing downs. Not even the Packers expected Guion’s production against the pass, where he had a career-high total in sacks and was more productive than Jones on a per-snap basis. Jones delivered some impact in the playoffs with a half-sack and fumble recovery vs. Dallas and a quarterback hit vs. Seattle.


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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