By The Numbers: Jared Allen's Impact

Just how much of an impact can Jared Allen's presence have, and how much do sacks and blitzes impact a team's ability to defend the pass? We went to Scout.com's Ed Thompson and STATS Inc. for the in-depth analysis on how Allen compares to other top defensive ends and how sacks relate to defensive success.

Tim Yotter: An assistant coach with the Chiefs talked about how Jared Allen didn't have any sacks in the fourth quarter after Allen left. What do the stats say about how many sacks he had in each quarter and how does that compare with some of the other well-known sack leaders in the league?

Ed Thompson: I don't believe that assistant coach had his facts straight, because Allen did log a sack on a key third down against the Lions in the fourth quarter of Week 16 action. With KC trailing by just two points at the time, Allen gave his team a chance to win that game by forcing a punt with that sack.

I'm not sure why the assistant coach would bring that point up to begin with since it's not a relevant stat by any stretch of the imagination. A fourth-quarter sack can be useless if your team has a comfortable lead or is losing by a large margin in the fourth quarter.

I'd argue that unless you break down the outcome of every single sack, the most important ones are those that occur on third or fourth down, regardless of the quarter, since the player has likely forced a change of possession or forced the opponent to settle for a field goal.

In 2007, Allen posted 3.5 sacks on first down, 4.5 on second down, 6.5 on third down and one on fourth down. His 7.5 sacks during the final two downs compares favorably with the other four players who finished in the top five in sacks in 2007 – Seattle's Patrick Kerney (7.5), Dallas' DeMarcus Ware ( 5.5), Houston's Mario Williams (6) and the New York Giants' Osi Umenyiora (8).

For anyone to insinuate that Allen isn't a high-impact player based on his fourth-quarter production is thinking way too simplistically – or is trying to make himself or his team feel better about losing one of the league's most talented pass rushers.

TY: To take this another step, how did opponents of the Chiefs last year compare to opponents of other teams when it comes to the number of passes they had thrown against them, thereby giving the Chiefs defense more opportunities for sacks?

ET: By comparison to the other 31 NFL teams, the Chiefs defense was very limited in their opportunities to defend against the pass. While the Vikings defense had to defend a league-high 646 pass attempts during the 2007 regular season, the Chiefs only defended 462 – fourth-lowest in the league. In other words, the Chiefs typically had five fewer passes thrown against them per game than the average NFL club, and 11.5 less per game than the Vikings.

And don't overlook this point: By missing the first two games of the 2007 season against the Texans and the Bears, Allen only had an opportunity to be on the field for 406 plays to get his 15.5 sacks. Meanwhile, Kerney, Ware and Williams played a full season on defenses that were in the top 11 in regards to the number of pass plays defended. Umenyiora, who also played a full 16-game slate, was the closest to Allen's situation as the Giants faced the 10th fewest number of attempts with 523. But even that number is a huge differential compared to 406 plays.

TY: Can you break down the top five artists in the league last year and how much each of their sacks was worth in the relation to their cap number for that year?

ET: If you weigh his salary cap hit against his sacks production, Allen undoubtedly provided the most value. He was playing under a one-year, $2.35 million deal that was reduced to $2.074 million since he had to sit out the first two games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. As a result, each of his 15.5 sacks cost roughly $134,000.

Patrick Kerney's average was $167,000 while DeMarcus Ware's was $155,000. Houston's Mario Williams' average works out to $242,000 per sack, but that was nothing compared to the Giants' Osi Umenyiora who averaged $326,000 per sack.

TY: With no Viking having more than 5.5 sacks last year, the general feeling is that they were able to improve on their sack numbers from 2006 by blitzing more in 2007. How did the Vikings defense rank last year in the number of blitzes they used compared to other teams, and do more blitzes relate to more sacks, according to what the numbers say?

ET: The Vikings rushed the quarterback with more than four players 189 times in 2007, seventh-most in the NFL. During those plays, they succeeded in getting to the quarterback 15 times, putting them in a tie for ninth-best in total sacks generated by the blitz. Their 38 total team sacks were eighth in the league.

There was no clear indication in 2007 that blitzing more would increase a team's sacks performance. For example, while the Chargers blitzed more than any other team and finished fifth-highest in sacks, three of the league's top seven teams in sacks – the Seahawks, Bears and Titans – didn't finish higher than 22nd in the number of blitzes attempted. The Titans, who had the 27th fewest blitz attempts, finished seventh-best in team sacks. Just eight of their 40 sacks were the result of a blitz.

TY: The presence of Allen is expected to help the Vikings pass defense, which finished last in the league in total passing yards yielded in 2007. How did they rank in average yards per pass play and sacks per pass play?

ET: The Vikings finished the year with a decent 6.54 yards surrendered per pass play, 17th in the league. The Pittsburgh Steelers were tops in this category, allowing just 5.27 yards per play against a league average of 6.44 yards.

While Minnesota logged 38 sacks, they finished 23rd in the league in sacks per attempt due to the unusually high number of pass attempts they faced.



Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update Magazine and VikingUpdate.com and Ed Thompson is an NFL Analyst for Scout.com. Statistics referenced in this article are provided by STATS, LLC. Copyright 2008 by STATS, LLC. Any use or distribution of such Licensed Materials without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited. 





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I don't believe that assistant coach had his facts straight, because Allen did log a sack on a key third down against the Lions in the fourth quarter of Week 16 action. With KC trailing by just two points at the time, Allen gave his team a chance to win that game by forcing a punt with that sack.

I'm not sure why the assistant coach would bring that point up to begin with since it's not a relevant stat by any stretch of the imagination. A fourth-quarter sack can be useless if your team has a comfortable lead or is losing by a large margin in the fourth quarter.

I'd argue that unless you break down the outcome of every single sack, the most important ones are those that occur on third or fourth down, regardless of the quarter, since the player has likely forced a change of possession or forced the opponent to settle for a field goal.

In 2007, Allen posted 3.5 sacks on first down, 4.5 on second down, 6.5 on third down and one on fourth down. His 7.5 sacks during the final two downs compares favorably with the other four players who finished in the top five in sacks in 2007 – Seattle's Patrick Kerney (7.5), Dallas' DeMarcus Ware ( 5.5), Houston's Mario Williams (6) and the New York Giants' Osi Umenyiora (8).

For anyone to insinuate that Allen isn't a high-impact player based on his fourth-quarter production is thinking way too simplistically – or is trying to make himself or his team feel better about losing one of the league's most talented pass rushers.



By comparison to the other 31 NFL teams, the Chiefs defense was very limited in their opportunities to defend against the pass. While the Vikings defense had to defend a league-high 646 pass attempts during the 2007 regular season, the Chiefs only defended 462 – fourth-lowest in the league. In other words, the Chiefs typically had five fewer passes thrown against them per game than the average NFL club, and 11.5 less per game than the Vikings.

And don't overlook this point: By missing the first two games of the 2007 season against the Texans and the Bears, Allen only had an opportunity to be on the field for 406 plays to get his 15.5 sacks. Meanwhile, Kerney, Ware and Williams played a full season on defenses that were in the top 11 in regards to the number of pass plays defended. Umenyiora, who also played a full 16-game slate, was the closest to Allen's situation as the Giants faced the 10th fewest number of attempts with 523. But even that number is a huge differential compared to 406 plays.



If you weigh his salary cap hit against his sacks production, Allen undoubtedly provided the most value. He was playing under a one-year, $2.35 million deal that was reduced to $2.074 million since he had to sit out the first two games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. As a result, each of his 15.5 sacks cost roughly $134,000.

Patrick Kerney's average was $167,000 while DeMarcus Ware's was $155,000. Houston's Mario Williams' average works out to $242,000 per sack, but that was nothing compared to the Giants' Osi Umenyiora who averaged $326,000 per sack.



The Vikings rushed the quarterback with more than four players 189 times in 2007, seventh-most in the NFL. During those plays, they succeeded in getting to the quarterback 15 times, putting them in a tie for ninth-best in total sacks generated by the blitz. Their 38 total team sacks were eighth in the league.

There was no clear indication in 2007 that blitzing more would increase a team's sacks performance. For example, while the Chargers blitzed more than any other team and finished fifth-highest in sacks, three of the league's top seven teams in sacks – the Seahawks, Bears and Titans – didn't finish higher than 22nd in the number of blitzes attempted. The Titans, who had the 27th fewest blitz attempts, finished seventh-best in team sacks. Just eight of their 40 sacks were the result of a blitz.



The Vikings finished the year with a decent 6.54 yards surrendered per pass play, 17th in the league. The Pittsburgh Steelers were tops in this category, allowing just 5.27 yards per play against a league average of 6.44 yards.

While Minnesota logged 38 sacks, they finished 23rd in the league in sacks per attempt due to the unusually high number of pass attempts they faced.





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