View Full Version : Creating a new measure for Total Defense (sorta long and stat-oriented)

keg in kc
08-09-2001, 10:31 AM
"Total defense" is a stat that really irks me, because it doesn't deal with anything but total yardage and doesn't really paint a complete or accurate picture of what a defense does well and what it does poorly. So last night I asked myself, "Self! If you could rank defenses, what stats would you use?" and my immediate answer was this: rushing yards against average per carry against (because total yardage doesn't tell the whole story...) passing yards against average per completion (again, because total yardage doesn't tell the whole story...) completion % against (how easy did the opposing QBs have it....) TDs against rushing TDs against passing TDs againstAnd here's the results I got, using those guidelines (the first number is the points garnered by adding up the team's ranking in each category, and the number in parenthesis is the regular "total defense ranking" just for comparison...):

1. Baltimore - 28 points (1)
2. Tennessee - 32.5 points (2)
3. Miami - 69.5 points (6)
4. Philadelphia - 73 points (10)
5. Pittsburgh - 74 points (7)
6. NY Giants - 75.5 points (5)
7. Tampa Bay - 82.5 points (12)
8. Washington - 83.5 points (4)
9. NY Jets - 85.5 points (8)
10. Buffalo - 87 points (3)
11. Detroit - 108 points (13)
12. Oakland - 120 points (19)
13. New Orleans - 124.5 points (11)
14. Green Bay - 126 points (15)
15. New England - 128.5 points (18)
16. Jacksonville - 131.5 points (9)
17. San Diego - 136.5 points (14)
18. Dallas - 147.5 points (17)
19. Chicago - 148.5 points (16)
20. Kansas City - 150.5 points (20)
21. Cincinnati - 153 points (22)
22. Indianapolis - 154.5 points (21)
23. Carolina - 156.5 points (27)
24. Cleveland - 161.5 points (28)
25. Denver - 171.5 points (25)
26. Arizona - 174.5 points(26)
27. Minnesota - 178.5 points (29)
28. Atlanta - 185.5 points (23)
29. San Francisco - 186.5 points (30)
30. Seattle - 216.5 points (31)
31. St. Louis - 221.5 points (24)

I like what I have so far, and although it doesn't greatly change the landscape created by the traditional "total defense", it does give some measure of weight to a defense's skill against the run/pass, and punishes weakness in any single area. And, most importantly, it includes scoring. Upon further review, I think it might be valuable to consider a few other statistics as well: Sacks Take-aways Defensive touchdownsSo I might add those figures later and see what sort of picture I get.

Any suggestions for other stats that might be appropriate?

08-09-2001, 10:38 AM

You might look at 1st downs allowed, 3rd down conversion percentages, 4th down conversion percentages, and just for fun, the number of "3 and out" series the offense was held to. Perhaps the time the opposing team held the ball should be considered too.

keg in kc
08-09-2001, 10:52 AM
Those are some good ideas, but I don't think time of possession would work, because in some instances, like KC last season, the time of possession was poor as much due to the offense's inability to run as it was due to the performance of the "D".

08-09-2001, 11:26 AM
What'er you saying, Keg? That you cant point to a single stat and make a valid conclusion from that? Hmmm...I wonder who does that?

08-09-2001, 11:31 AM
ToP is an offensive stat, IMHO. I like what you have, add in takeaway, scores, and sacks and I think you have something...

Wow, you spend too much time with this Keg...GET BACK TO WORK! :D

08-09-2001, 11:34 AM
How about adding 3rd down conversions given up...or something to that effect.

keg in kc
08-09-2001, 11:44 AM
I think 3rd/4th down conversions, takeaways, sacks and scores will be enough for now. I'll work that up later, maybe tonight, and see what I get...

If I could I'd print the whole chart I made - it's pretty interesting actually, especially when you look at the rushing (yards, avg, TDs) vs. passing (%, yards, avg, TDs) stats.

Especially the opponents' completion %, that one's surprising.

Take a guess which NFL team had the worst stat in that category?




We did.



The Jets were tops at 51.3% followed by the Titans at 51.9%.

That's got to improve this year...

08-09-2001, 11:46 AM
That's really not suprising, Keg, considering our soft/passive defense last year.

keg in kc
08-09-2001, 11:55 AM
No, it's not surprising that it was bad, but it is surprising, at least to me, that it was that bad. I don't know that I can think of a word strong enough to accurately describe just how terribly pathetic that % is...

Tribal Warfare
08-09-2001, 04:27 PM
Only one thing matters on both sides of the ball...... THE SCORE

08-09-2001, 04:45 PM
Yeah, that percentage is bad, especially considering that the "bend, don't break" philosophy allows the ball to be caught but keep them in front of you...

the problem is, WE COULDN'T TACKLE, so we were letting them catch the ball and then take off with it!

08-09-2001, 05:21 PM
Good topic....

I always felt the Total Defense stat was more beneficial to the fantasy football idio....uhm players....

I always considered 3rd down conversion percentage to be a benchmark of a good defense.... One of the major reasons I disliked Willie Shaw so much in Oakland was his pathetic 3rd down ratings...

Sacks may be the most overrated defensive stat involved...