April 24, 2014

If It’s Broken…Fix It

Keith Rivers' had some broken tackles last year that need fixed

The statheads at FootballOutsiders.com recently released some interesting data on broken tackles – and it doesn’t bode well for the Bengals. The site logged tackles that were missed by players (either due to jukes or a failure to bring down the ballcarrier) and then compared the numbers across the league.

Now, the stat is somewhat misleading because players who have more opportunities for tackles obviously have more opportunities for missed ones. But the guys at Football Outsiders tried to account for that too, by compiling a broken tackle rate in which missed tackles were compared with successful ones.

Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers had the tenth highest total of broken (i.e.. missed) tackles among all defenders last year with 12. Dhani Jones was 20th on the list with 10 missed tackles. And when you limit the stats to just linebackers, Rivers had the second worst broken tackle rate, with a failed tackle on about 17-percent of his opportunities.

What does this all mean?

Well, given the possibility of human error (broken tackles aren’t an official statistic and were recorded by game charting), the stats shouldn’t be taken as gospel. However, they do suggest a problem area for the Bengals defense and one that could use some significant improvement.

One particular problem that the Bengals defenders faced last season was the fact that they were on the field a lot. A whole heck of a lot. Thus, an improved offense next year (which might be difficult considering the transition at key positions) would be a significant boost for the defense.

And probably its broken tackle rate too.

Click the image for the the full story on Football Outsiders