Time for less Suggs, more Upshaw and Kruger?

krugersuggs

Given that he’s the reigning Defensive Player of the Year – at least until Von Miller, J.J. Watt or Geno Atkins is crowned this postseason – I’m sure what I’m about to say won’t be well received by everyone. However as we head towards the postseason and the Ravens try to position themselves for a run at the Lombardi Trophy, one thing is becoming glaringly obvious with each passing week: Terrell Suggs isn’t effective in his current role.

Now, let’s put that into context. This is a guy who has been one of the league’s most complete players in the past decade, a fearsome pass rusher who has been even better as an edge setter against the run. This season however, he’s playing hurt. The pain he must be playing through, from both Achilles and biceps injuries, must be excruciating, and the fact that he’s even on the field at all tells you everything you need to know about the man known as “T-Sizzle.” However, in keeping Suggs on the field when he’s not at 100%, the Ravens are limiting two players who have impressed more and more as the season has gone on.

Through Week 16 no outside linebacker in the NFL is generating pressure at a better rate than Paul Kruger. One of the Signature Stats used at Pro Football Focus is Pass Rushing Productivity (PRP), which takes into account the number of pressures generated by a player, weighted towards sacks, compared with the number of times they rush the passer. Using this stat, Kruger leads all 3-4 outside linebackers with a PRP Rating of 12.0, coming from 51 total pressures from 338 pass rushing snaps. DeMarcus Ware, Aldon Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have all generated more pressure but all have done so on at least 68 more pass rushing snaps.

More importantly however, he has been far more productive than Suggs. With just 16 total pressures from 223 pass rushing snaps, Suggs has a PRP Rating of just 5.6. That’s even lower than rookie Courtney Upshaw, who has a PRP Rating of 5.7, with 21 total pressures from 287 pass rushing snaps. It’s been well noted that Upshaw hasn’t delivered much in the way of pass rush this season, but he’s still doing so at a slightly better rate than Suggs. Where he is well above him however, is in his play against the run.

Using another of Pro Football Focus’ Signature Stats, Run Stop Percentage, only Dallas’ Anthony Spencer is doing more against the run on his time on the field than Upshaw. Run Stop Percentage is calculated by working out the number of solo tackles that count as a “defensive stop” in relation to the number of snaps played against the run.

On the field for 289 snaps against the run, 30 of Upshaw’s 35 solo tackles have resulted in a defensive stop, giving him a Run Stop Percentage of 10.4%. Suggs has played 137 snaps against the run, with eight of his 13 solo tackles resulting in a defensive stop and a Run Stop Percentage of 5.8%.

Compare those numbers to where Suggs was a year ago when he was named the best defensive player in football, you’ll see he has a PRP Rating of 9.6 and a Run Stop Percentage of 6.9%, and it becomes obvious, through no fault of his own, that Suggs isn’t where he needs to be. Yet he’s still on the field more than his teammates at the position. In the games where he has been available to play this season, Suggs has seen 413 snaps on defense while Upshaw and Kruger have seen 332 and 379, respectively. In a year where both are excelling in separate aspects of their game, and when Suggs has struggled through some fairly substantial injuries, that just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Watching him play, I don’t think Terrell Suggs has it in him to “take a play off,” so why not limit his snaps to obvious passing situations? That would maximise his skill set, while keeping him fresher, and allowing both Kruger and Upshaw to shine like they have. Make no mistake about it; with the Ravens defense improving as the season has gone on, the play of those two has been key.

Suggs will be back to his best next season, of that much I’m sure, but with the Ravens aiming to celebrate a Super Bowl win in early February, it’s time they put the players that are performing the best on the field more often.

3 Raves on “Time for less Suggs, more Upshaw and Kruger?

  1. Gordon McGuinness on said:

    Upshaw’s Run Stop Percentage in the 8 games with Suggs – 11.38%. In the 7 without, 9.63%. While he is slightly better in games with Suggs, it marginal and, considering still above Suggs’ own Run Stop %.

    For Kruger it breaks down on a week by week basis like this (in terms of Pass Rushing Productivity Rating):

    Week 1 – 0.0
    Week 2 – INJURED
    Week 3 – 7.8
    Week 4 – 13.3
    Week 5 – 30.0
    Week 6 – 0.0
    Week 7 – 4.7
    Week 8 – BYE WEEK
    Week 9 – 3.6
    Week 10 – 11.7
    Week 11 – 28.6
    Week 12 – 10.4
    Week 13 – 15.5
    Week 14 – 22.7
    Week 15 – 10.7
    Week 16 – 17.9

    I personally put that down to Kruger upping his game (and potentially playing a little hurt early in the year). If his production was boosted by Suggs, his PRP Ratings of 30.0 and 22.7 in Weeks 5 and 14 (minus Suggs) don’t make sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

Hot off the street

Did The Mockers Get it Right For Ravens in 2013?

The mock draft speculation has nearly reached fever pitch, but because this year's draft has been moved to May, it will only continue for another couple of weeks. Are the Ravens going to take Notre Da...read more

Ravens and 49ers Schedule Joint Practices

The Ravens and 49ers will hold four combined practices in Maryland following their Thursday, Aug. 7 preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium. They will hold a light practice together at M&T the day ...read more

The 2014 NFL Draft by Position: Safety

While there are no sure things, seemingly the nearest to one leading up to May's NFL draft one could say would be that the Baltimore Ravens will take a safety at some point. After using a first rou...read more

Ravens Should Pass on Tight End in First Round

When a player is taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, the goal is for that player to have an immediate impact. The first round is supposed to be the best of the best. If a team hits a home run, ...read more

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Introducing Anita Marks

Originally published on May 16, 2006   One week before she launches her new sports talk program coincidentally called The Anita Marks Show (funny how that happens), I sat down with Anita Mark...read more

View More