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Old 12-15-2008, 12:49 AM    (permalink
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Default Race for the sack crown: why so little buzz?

I'm wondering why the race for this year's sack lead isn't getting more hoopla. It is shaping up as one of the most heated and competitive ever (well, before D Ware just dropped 3 on Eli and company, but I was going to post this before the game, so...).

Right now, with 2 games remaining in the season, we already have the highest average number of sacks registered by the top 3 players in the category this decade. If the season ended today, Joey Porter's 17.5 sacks would be the highest number of sacks tallied by someone who did not lead the NFL in nearly 20 years (the all-time high is 19 by Bruce Smith in 1989, which could easily be surpassed this season). The leader board right now:

Ware: 19.0
Porter: 17.5
Abraham: 15.5
Harrison: 15.0
Allen: 14.5

...again, with TWO GAMES REMAINING. Here are the top 3 in sacks for each year this decade:

07: 15.5, 14.5, 14.0
06: 17.0, 15.5, 14.0
05: 16.0, 14.5, 14.0
04: 16.0, 14.5, 13.5
03: 18.5, 15.0, 15.0
02: 18.5, 15.5, 13.0
01: 22.5, 15.0, 14.5
00: 17.0, 16.5, 16.5


Ware's total stands as the highest since Strahan broke the single season mark in 01, and lands him just 3.5 shy of the mark, with two games to play. Meanwhile, Porter is having an All-Pro caliber season of his own, yet will likely not make the team with Ware and maybe the NFL DPOY--who "only" has 15.0, good for 4th in the league--also playing the OLB position. It is likely that we will see at least FIVE players register more sacks than the league leader last year (and 3 of the last 4 years). This has been an amazing battle all season long, and whoever wins it will have truly gone through the fire to earn it.


So why isn't it getting much play? It's a great story. WTF?
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:15 AM    (permalink
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Good stuff.

I think it would be amazing to see Ware break it this year. He's just insane.
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:35 AM    (permalink
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It's amazing how offensive lines and offensive cordinators haven't found a way to keep OLB's in a 3-4 from being so effective. Not saying that Ware isn't a monster, but I don't think he would be nearly as effective if he was playing with his hand down as a DE in a 4-3.

I think that the 3-4 has some what watered down the sack statistic a bit. Still trying to figure it out but I think the sack stat doesn't, or at least this year, hasn't carried the same weight as it has in recent years.
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:42 AM    (permalink
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When has the sack race ever recieved hoopla?
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:50 AM    (permalink
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but I don't think he would be nearly as effective if he was playing with his hand down as a DE in a 4-3.
But he's not in a 4-3, that's like me saying I don't think Mario Williams would be as effective in a 3-4.


Ware needs to rack up 2 or 3 vs the rookie next week, McNabb is usually good for avoiding would be sacks, so I think he needs at least 2.5 next week if he wants to break it.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:11 AM    (permalink
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When has the sack race ever recieved hoopla?
when Brett Favre fell down....
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:16 AM    (permalink
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It's really amazing to me how these teams are refusing to chip/double the 3-4 OLB's this year.

Ware, Harrison, Porter should be chip blocked every single time the opposing team passes. It's that simple. You're just risking too much by letting Harrison or Ware come at the blind side of your QB on 1 on 1.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:48 AM    (permalink
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Its not quite that easy. First of all, you have two OLBs that can rush on each and every down. In order for a back to chip, he has to abandon his other pass rush responsibilities and go out to receive pass (or, obviously commit to a straight-up double team). Most times you have only one back in the backfield. Obviously, he can't chip on both sides. You don't know which OLB is coming on a given play, so if you commit your RB to chipping on one side, and that OLB drops into coverage, you have the other OLB coming around the opposite side with a one-on-one matchup.

Not just that, but then there is the ability to move guys like Ware around to the opposite side of the formation just before the snap, after the protection schemes have been called out. Finally, there are other players to consider. For example, you can't really afford to leave a guy like Jay Ratliff one-on-one. The worst kind of pressure is straight up the gut. Ratliff regularly beats single-blocks, and abuses even the best centers man on man. So you have to give him extra attention, too, at least half the time or you simply won't be able to move the ball. Once you slide a man over to double him, it becomes nearly impossible to double the OLB on that side for obvious reasons.

Add it all up, and there is simply no reasonable way to expect a chip on every passing down. Ware gets chipped or doubled at least 50% of the time (a more accurate estimate would be 55-60%), and I would venture a guess that the opposing OC only hangs his OT out to dry on purpose about a quarter of the time. The other 15-25% of the time it is the DC getting his man a favorable matchup.

All that said, Ware has beat the double for a sack at least 3 times that I can think of off of the top of my head this year. Its what makes great players. Sometimes there's just not a damn thing you can do.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:51 AM    (permalink
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when Brett Favre fell down....
Hahahaha... So true.
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:03 AM    (permalink
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Its not quite that easy. First of all, you have two OLBs that can rush on each and every down. In order for a back to chip, he has to abandon his other pass rush responsibilities and go out to receive pass (or, obviously commit to a straight-up double team). Most times you have only one back in the backfield. Obviously, he can't chip on both sides. You don't know which OLB is coming on a given play, so if you commit your RB to chipping on one side, and that OLB drops into coverage, you have the other OLB coming around the opposite side with a one-on-one matchup.

Not just that, but then there is the ability to move guys like Ware around to the opposite side of the formation just before the snap, after the protection schemes have been called out. Finally, there are other players to consider. For example, you can't really afford to leave a guy like Jay Ratliff one-on-one. The worst kind of pressure is straight up the gut. Ratliff regularly beats single-blocks, and abuses even the best centers man on man. So you have to give him extra attention, too, at least half the time or you simply won't be able to move the ball. Once you slide a man over to double him, it becomes nearly impossible to double the OLB on that side for obvious reasons.

Add it all up, and there is simply no reasonable way to expect a chip on every passing down. Ware gets chipped or doubled at least 50% of the time (a more accurate estimate would be 55-60%), and I would venture a guess that the opposing OC only hangs his OT out to dry on purpose about a quarter of the time. The other 15-25% of the time it is the DC getting his man a favorable matchup.

All that said, Ware has beat the double for a sack at least 3 times that I can think of off of the top of my head this year. Its what makes great players. Sometimes there's just not a damn thing you can do.
Good post.

However, if I'm running an offense versus Dallas, there's just no way I allow Ware to beat me. If he beats my double team, hats off to you. Can't get upset with a perfect play by the other guy. It's what makes Ware so valuable.

PS, D-Unit, this reminds me, remember when newkwhy hated the Demarcus Ware pick? lolololololol

Ratliff 1v1 is an interesting point, because he's played so well this year. But I think you have to take that chance because you are just asking for a trifecta (sack, ff, fr td) if you leave Ware alone.

But leaving Ware 1v1 even half of the time is inexcusable.
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:12 AM    (permalink
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Big credit should go to Wade. Ware has been insane since Wade took over the play calling.
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:27 AM    (permalink
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Yeah, I was in the camp that hate the Ware pick too....:( I thought he was too "flavor of the week"-y, if you get my meaning. His meteoric rise up draft boards based solely on the Senior Bowl and workouts really worried me, and it's always a concern when you see "Ware becomes first player from Troy State selected in 1st round"....ya know? I was actually praying for us to take Merriman, believe it or not, and was going gaga when Mike Williams started falling down the draft board. Thank God I'm not running the team. :)


A note on Ware, too. He has a sack in 18 of the last 19 games, including every game but one this year. Since the start of last season, he has 33 sacks in 30 games. Those are Reggie White/Lawrence Taylor numbers. Amazing.
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:43 AM    (permalink
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Good post.

However, if I'm running an offense versus Dallas, there's just no way I allow Ware to beat me. If he beats my double team, hats off to you. Can't get upset with a perfect play by the other guy. It's what makes Ware so valuable.

PS, D-Unit, this reminds me, remember when newkwhy hated the Demarcus Ware pick? lolololololol

Ratliff 1v1 is an interesting point, because he's played so well this year. But I think you have to take that chance because you are just asking for a trifecta (sack, ff, fr td) if you leave Ware alone.

But leaving Ware 1v1 even half of the time is inexcusable.
Classic battle. Glad someone around here actually remembers those times. I remember he hated Romo because he wasn't a "cadillac" QB... the kind that Dallas has to have. Good thing we didn't grab his boy Marcus Vick. lolololol. I miss that guy though. kwhy was good people.
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:42 AM    (permalink
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and you just knew it was gonna be a girls fan that started this thread lol
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:34 AM    (permalink
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Good post.

However, if I'm running an offense versus Dallas, there's just no way I allow Ware to beat me. If he beats my double team, hats off to you. Can't get upset with a perfect play by the other guy. It's what makes Ware so valuable.

PS, D-Unit, this reminds me, remember when newkwhy hated the Demarcus Ware pick? lolololololol

Ratliff 1v1 is an interesting point, because he's played so well this year. But I think you have to take that chance because you are just asking for a trifecta (sack, ff, fr td) if you leave Ware alone.

But leaving Ware 1v1 even half of the time is inexcusable.

That would sound good to me against the Steelers. You can chip Harrison. Woodley will get ya when we rush 5.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:54 AM    (permalink
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I think Ware breaks the sack record. He's been a machine this year.

Wade did a great job of moving him around yesterday and taking advantage of McKenzie getting hurt by overloading that side when Boothe came in at RT.

Ware sometimes makes it look too easy. I initially thought that Haynesworth was easily the DPOY, but if Ware breaks the record it should go to Ware.
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:21 AM    (permalink
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I think its getting alot of buzz.

Maybe its just me but I've seen them talking about this on ESPN for weeks and they always bring up these sack artists during the pregames.

Ware has been unstoppable this year. He was unreal last night. After last night, he has my vote for DPOTY.
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:36 AM    (permalink
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No love for Shaun Ellis? Haha He's got to have the most sacks for a 3-4 DE with 8 haha
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:38 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by EvilMonkey View Post
when Brett Favre fell down....
lets say Joey Porter gets 2.5 sacks next week (reasonable). Then he gets another 2.5 against Favre to break Strahan's record. Can we expect to see Favre just "fall down" again haha
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:51 AM    (permalink
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Ware has been amazing this year. He's a great guy, too.
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Old 12-15-2008, 12:02 PM    (permalink
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No love for Shaun Ellis? Haha He's got to have the most sacks for a 3-4 DE with 8 haha
Actually, IIRC 3-4 DE's have gotten 8 sacks several times in the past. I just don't think they've gotten move than that. I'd say the reason why is because prior to last night, Ware only had 16 sacks and with 3 games remaining, it was unlikely that he was going to tie or break the record for single season sacks.

Hype usually develops for records being broken when it looks like they are going to be broken starting early in the season.

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Old 12-15-2008, 12:06 PM    (permalink
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I really hope Ware gets the record. He's an absolutely phenomenal player who might have a legitimate chance to get to this area again one day, but if would be cool to see the record broken. Defiantly one of the best 3-4 pass rushers I've ever seen.
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Old 12-15-2008, 12:21 PM    (permalink
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Defense doesn't generate as much media buzz as offense.

There was an amazing stat during the Texans MNF game that stated that teams with a DE with 10+ sacks, had a winning record 60+% of the time.


DWare is a beast and so is finally a healthy John Abraham. And of course you can't say enough about Joey Porter who talks the talk and walks the walk
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Old 12-15-2008, 12:27 PM    (permalink
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Actually, IIRC 3-4 DE's have gotten 8 sacks several times in the past. I just don't think they've gotten move than that. I'd say the reason why is because prior to last night, Ware only had 16 sacks and with 3 games remaining, it was unlikely that he was going to tie or break the record for single season sacks.

Hype usually develops for records being broken when it looks like they are going to be broken starting early in the season.
I think he meant for just this season. Shaun Ellis has the most sacks out of any 3-4 DE this season.

And yes, 3-4 DEs have gotten more than 8 sacks in the past. Leonard Marshall had 15 in 1985.
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Old 12-15-2008, 12:36 PM    (permalink
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Big credit should go to Wade. Ware has been insane since Wade took over the play calling.
He's been awesome all year, the only game he hasn't had a sack in was against TB
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