Wait, what’s “snaps per tackle?” “Snaps per tackle” is pretty simple. It’s the (number of snaps a player was on the field) divided by (the number of tackles the player had). The lower the number, the better.
Here’s the full list of ILB’s with at least 400 snaps playing in a “true 3-4 defense”:
|Rank||Player||Team||Snaps||Tackles||Snaps per tackle|
It’s really no surprise at all (to me at least) that London Fletcher would have the best numbers in this kind of metric. The guy has been a tackling machine his entire career, and last year was no different. That’s his job. That’s what he’s asked to do, and he does it.
However, I was surprised to see newly acquired Eagles MLB DeMeco Ryans sitting there at 15th out of 25 players. I should note that it’s difficult to compare players in this kind of metric. While 3-4 defenses all share similar principles, the way players are utilized within them vary from team to team. Also, better teams (ie, the Texans), will typically face fewer rushes than the rest of the league. As pointed out to me by Sam Lynch of IgglesBlitz, it is notable that the Texans had the 4th fewest rushes against / game in the league vs. 16th passing attempts. So I want to be clear here… I’m not trying to be KC Joyner here and invent some new statistic. It’s far from perfect.
However, with Ryans, the concern is that he came off the field in nickel and dime defenses, which means that when the Texans had him on the field, he was likely seeing more running plays than the average player on the above list. Keith Brooking played a similar role for the Cowboys, and he was an abomination of a player in 2011. Brooking’s numbers in this metric are better. For Ryans to be in the bottom half is surprising. The thinking is that he’s a better fit for the 4-3 than he is in the 3-4. To be determined.