It’s no secret that the Kansas City Chiefs defense struggled on all fronts last season on the way to 4 wins. With Eric Berry as the only big name addition, the holdovers are going to need to step their game…. but just how much?
Bob Gretz has taken a look at how big of a second season DE Tyson Jackson will need to have in order to measure up with the rest of the 3-4 ends around the league.
He played all 16 games, started 14 times and finished the year with 31 tackles, no sacks, no fumbles caused, no fumbles recovered, no interceptions, knocked down two passes and put pressure on the quarterback four times.
There were a total of 27 starting ends; Pittsburgh had three due to the season ending injury suffered by starter Aaron Smith after five games. Here some details on those DEs and their production:
- The DEs averaged 50 tackles per man over the season. The most active tackler was San Francisco’s Justin Smith with 90 total tackles. The N.Y. Jets Marques Douglas had 77 tackles and Johnny Jolly of the Packers contributed 75 tackles. At the other end of the spectrum was Denver’s Ryan McBean who started 14 games, but had only 25 tackles. Jackson with his total of 31 tackles was in the bottom five for tackle production.
- When it came to taking down the passer, those 3-4 defensive ends averaged 2.5 sacks on the season. The leading sackers were Arizona’s duo of Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett; they both had seven sacks. Smith had six sacks for the Niners. McBean and Jackson were the only DEs without a sack on the season.
- Among the 27, there were 17 that took part in a turnover of some kind: either an interception, forced fumble or recovered fumble. Smith was part of four takeaways. Of the 10 that did not take part in a play that changed possession, the group included Jackson, along with the New England duo of Ty Warren and Jarvis Green.
There’s no doubt that Jackson needs to take great strides in 2010 to not only live up to his contract, but more importantly help the Chiefs defense avoid another embarrassing season.
But lets not make it out that because of less than stellar stats that Jackson wasn’t impressive at times during his rookie season.
Listen, I’m not here to act as an apologist for Tyson Jackson, but you can’t argue that he had more thrown on his plate than any other rookie defensive lineman in the league. And if you go by Todd Haley’s “quarters system”, it’s clear as day that he improved as the season went along despite playing without a real NT all year and in the final quarter a banged up Glenn Dorsey on the opposite side of the line.
With a year of experience under his belt, improved talent around him and a (hopefully) better batch of coaches, Jackson’s numbers should start to line up better with his effort.
If we are sitting here this time next season and we are having the same discussion then there will be real reason for concern.