How much harder is it to rush the passer against the LT vs the RT? [OC]

Posted on: Jun 14, 2018   |   Posted by: German NFL Blog

Since LT, the LT has arguably been seen as the most important position on the line, and definitely more important than the RT, in an effort to protect the QB's blind side. As a result, almost every team tries to put their best tackle, specifically their best pass protecting tackle on the left side of the line. There are obviously some exceptions, but this is the general trend that teams follow. Because of this imbalance on the left and right side, I was curious, how much harder is it really to rush against the LT vs the RT. Luckily, PFF's signature stats recording pressures splits up whether the edge rusher was coming from the left or right side, so we can get a better view of this. So before I start using PFF's pass rush productivity term, let me explain what it is. It's PFF's measure on how to determine the pressure created per pass rushing snap. They calculate it by taking the sacks * 100 + the hits * 75 + the hurries * 75, and divide that number by the total amount of pass rushing snaps. With that said, let's get into the numbers. The first thing I did was calculate the PRP when all qualifying edge rushers rushed the right vs the left side. When going up against the LT, edge rushers had a PRP of just 9.52. As a contrast, that jumped to 10.65 against RTs. What does this mean in traditional numbers? Let's say you're Chandler Jones and rushed the passer a league-leading 571 times. Using the standard ratio of sacks:hits:hurries that pass rushers had in 2017 (1 sack to 1 hit to 4 hurries), the difference in rushing from the right and the left side across an entire season is around, getting an extra 2 sacks, a hit, and 5 hurries in the season. Another way to look at it is an edge rusher with a PRP of 10.65 ranked 24th out of 67 qualifying edge rushers this season (Shaq Barrett level). 9.52 gets you down to 39th out of 67, a significant drop, around the level of Za'Darius Smith. However, there's a bit of a problem here, cuz what its just that the better pass rushers rush against the RT, and that's where this discrepancy comes from. Let's take a look at all the pass rushers that split their snaps against the LT and RT around equally, and look at all their combined PRPs for a bit of a better look at this. There's a bit of a smaller sample size here. The qualifying edge rushers that roughly split their time on both side for reference are Calais Campbell, Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa, Anthony Zettel, Solomon Thomas, Jabaal Sheard, Za'Darius Smith, and Erik Walden. This gives us a total of around 3250 pass rushing snaps to look at, with 1615 against the RT and 1621 against the LT, a near perfect split. The PRP rushing against the LT here is 9.13 (lower than the above number). The PRP against RTs jumps quite a bit to 11.86. So the difference here actually expands more than it was before, to around 2.73. Using the same methods as before, if you rushed the passer 571 times, this would be a difference of around 3 sacks, 4 hits, 13 hurries over the season, a sizable chunk. A PRP of 11.86 was 13th among all edge defenders (Lorenzo Alexander on the Bills, underrated pass rusher), whereas 9.13 would be around 42nd, a massive drop, around Preston Smith for the Redskins. So overall what we can see here is that there's a large drop in performance when you rush against LTs rather than RTs. Over the season, just switching sides for the entire season could get you an extra 2-3 sacks along with the corresponding extra rate of pressures. What does this mean though? Well, let's take a look at the best pass rushers in PRP, and then whether they rushed primarily against the LT, RT, or moved around. Name % Right % Left PRP Tackle Demarcus Lawrence 94.6 5.4 14.8 R Von Miller 85.9 14.1 14.5 R Cameron Wake 99.5 0.5 13.5 R Ryan Kerrigan 86.4 13.6 13 R Carl Lawson 5 95 13 L Calais Campbell 42 58 12.8 B Yannick Ngakoue 23.6 76.4 12.8 L Terrell Suggs 35.6 64.4 12.4 L Melvin Ingram III 51.2 48.8 12.3 B Khalil Mack 79.5 20.5 12.2 R Joey Bosa 55.4 44.6 12.1 B Lorenzo Alexander 77.9 22.1 11.9 R Jabaal Sheard 49.7 50.3 11.6 B Chris Long 92.7 7.3 11.5 R Mario Addison 1 99 11.3 L Brandon Graham 88.5 11.5 11 R T.J. Watt 9.6 90.4 11 L Leonard Floyd 78.9 21.1 11 R Carlos Dunlap 96.5 3.5 10.9 R Chandler Jones 19.3 80.7 10.7 L​ Here are the top 10 4-3 DEs and 3-4 OLBs sorted by PRP, and stating if they rushed the right, left, or both tackles, as well as their corresponding percentages. As you can see, all the most productive pass rushers got a boost from rushing against the right. However, if we take into account where these players were rushing, Carl Lawson's rookie season becomes even more impressive as he legitimately was one of the best pass rushers in the league on a per snap basis. The Jags and Chargers duo, as well as Suggs also should get a bit more respect on their efficiency numbers. The sack leader, Jones, who I don't view as highly since his sack number came more from volume of pass rushing snaps than efficiency, does get a bit of a bump here seeing as he went against mostly LTs. Anyways, hope this was an interesting little read, just thought it'd be fun to look into and see if LTs really were a tier above RTs in pass pro. submitted by /u/Maad-Dog [visit reddit] [comments]

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