Football Outsiders has taken a look at percentages of broken tackles. This statistic is defined as:
“Either the ballcarrier escapes from the grasp of the defender, or the defender is in good position for a tackle but the ballcarrier jukes him out of his shoes. If the ballcarrier sped by a slow defender who dived and missed, that didn’t count as a broken tackle.”
The Bears ranked 12th on this list which isn’t good enough for a cover two team that must tackle well and execute. But the statistic is biased against speed teams because they have more opportunities to make tackles that can be broken.
What really stood out to me was the Lions spot. ESPN‘s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert compared their number to the ranking in 2009, pointing out that they improved by only one spot, moving from 32 to 31 on the list.
The Lions are a very popular pick to make the playoffs this year amongst the “experts”. Players like Ndamukong Suh are already claiming the status of contender, in his case even suggesting the possibility of a 16-0 season. A lot of that confidence stems from an influx of talented players like Nick Fairley.
That’s a good thing for them. But it isn’t everything. People think the primary problem with the Lions has been lack of talent don’t know football. Their problem is that they make too many mistakes. They don’t play they game with good fundamentals. Yes, the Lions finished the season strong last year and they should be better. But if they can’t catch the ball (and hang on to it all of the way through the catch), if they can’t run without fumbling, and if they can’t tackle, its all moonshine. Its because of statistics like this that bad teams lose.
The “experts” can proclaim the Lions the team of the year all they want. I’ll believe the Lions are winners only when I see them improve not just their talent, but in the way that talent plays the game.