Exploring The Causes Of A Sack

Discussion of technique and strategy.

Exploring The Causes Of A Sack

by FenderGuy69 » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:06 am

(Posted this on another forum. Just found this section & thought it'd belong here.)

Found this latest research from "Advanced NFL Stats" to be quite interesting.

Conclusions
• A sack is attributed mainly to a quarterback taking too long to pass the ball and his offensive blockers getting beat physically by the defender.
o The average time from the snap until a sack is initiated (4.3 sec) is far greater than the average drop and pass time of an NFL quarterback (2.7 sec).
o Of the sacks that occurred in the 2011 season, 77% were in situations where an offensive blocker was beaten physically

• The offense was leveraged and offensive tackle was physically outmatched on 37% of sacks. This demonstrates that the offense, specifically the offensive tackle, was simply overpowered, compounding the negative effects of the quarterback taking too much time to pass the ball. This data suggests that perhaps the team should potentially look for ways to aid the offensive tackle in pass protection.
o One potential way to help in pass protection would be to devote more players to blocking. However, given the data, leveraged offenses are obviously no less apt to give up a sack (84% of sacks occurred when the offense was leveraged). Therefore, perhaps dedicating additional blockers to stop a defense is a waste of resources. It might be more beneficial for the offense to have more targets for the quarterback to pass the ball to. This larger number of potential targets would hopefully lower the time the quarterback holds onto the ball and negate poor offensive tackle play by increasing the probability that an offensive player will be open to pass to in a shorter amount of time, thus limiting the team’s sack count.

• Beyond reducing the time the quarterback holds onto the ball, the other option is to look for scenarios where the average time until a sack occurs is significantly higher. Plays that involve play action seem to offer the quarterback a little more time to pass the ball (on average about .3 extra seconds). However, given that there is not a significant difference in the average time until a sack occurs in each scenario observed in this study (the majority of sacks occurred around 4.3 sec), it would be interesting to find a scenario where the quarterback has more time until a sack is initiated.

• Unfortunately, the reason for the quarterback taking too long to pass the ball is unclear as the data does not show whether or not the extra amount of time taken was due to the superior coverage of the defense downfield or the indecisiveness of the quarterback (a subjective opinion).

• In situations where there is a non-traditional blocking scheme, there are almost twice as many sacks when facing a non-traditional rush than a traditional rush, regardless of whether the offense is leveraged, neutral, or non-leveraged (89% difference). It is unclear what causes this discrepancy, but it would be interesting to find out why so the team can plan accordingly

http://www.advancednflstats.com/2013/05 ... -pt-1.html


I thought I'd post this because I find it very interesting in general & especially when considering how many people comment upon certain RB's ability as a blocker and their comments regarding the quality of OLine protection.

This study clearly shows that the majority of sacks are a combination of the quarterback taking too long and an offensive lineman getting beat one on one. So why are we debate a RB's blocking ability? Is it it not better to have a tertiary option out of the backfield (check down) and have the QB make a good decision (check down dump off) if the pass rush is in his face?

Just thought I'd put it out there.
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