Breaking Down The Chiefs' Outside Linebackers

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 26: Tamba Hali of the Kansas City Chiefs sacks Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs won 31-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)


We continue our series analyzing the Kansas City Chiefs by position. Every week we check in with Pro Football Focus to get the real scoop on how well each individual players is playing.  We’ve already broken down the cornerbacks and the offensive line. Today we are going to look at the outside linebackers.

For a full explanation of the Pro Football Focus grading system click here.

If you already know how the system works then you can find the analysis after the jump.

Tamba Hali

-has played 384 snaps on defense at outside linebacker.

-has 7 QB sacks

-has 7 QB hits

-has 29 QB pressures

Total Pressures: (sacks + hits + pressures) 43, which leads the league.


Run Defense : -1.1

Pass Coverage: -0.5

Pass Rush: +26.1

Overall: +25.1

The Verdict:

Hali is the best 3-4 OLB in the NFL. His overall grade is the highest of all other 3-4 outside linebackers. The next closest is Green Bay’s Clay Matthews with +24.1.

Hali does have his weaknesses. He is slightly below average in run defense with a -1.1 and in pass coverage with a -0.5. He is not a guy you want dropping in to coverage as QB’s throwing at a man covered by Hali have a 118.8 QB rating.

Fortunately the Chiefs aren’t interested in having Hali dropping back in to coverage often.

The more Hali plays OLB he will likely get better in his rush defense and coverage skills but he is a pure pass rushing specialist and that is how the Chiefs will use him 99% of the time.

Thus far he is the best in the NFL.

Mike Vrabel

-has played 350 snaps on defense at outside linebaker.

-has 0 QB sacks

-has 3 QB hits

-has 10 QB pressures

Total Pressures: (sacks + hits + pressures) 13.


Run Defense : -2.4

Pass Coverage: -3.0

Pass Rush: +0.6

Overall: -0.4

The Verdict:

Old man Vrabel is getting by on smarts at this point. His overall grade has fallen slightly below average. All his games have been very close to average with the exception of the last two. In Houston Vrabel had his best game of the season where he registered an overall grade of +1.5. Last week against Jacksonville, however, was by far his worst game of the season. He was graded a -3.0 for the game.

While it is obvious Vrabel’s talents are slipping, calls for him to be replaced by Andy Studebaker my be a bit premature.

Andy Studebaker

Note: Studebaker has a very small sample size but I wanted to include his grades so far because he is Vrabel’s primary backup.

-has played only 53 snaps on defense at outside linebacker.

-has 1 QB sacks

-has 1 QB hits

-has 0 QB pressurs

Total Pressures: (sacks + hits + pressures) 2.


Run Defense : -0.5

Pass Coverage: +0.6

Pass Rush: -0.7

Overall: -0.6

The Verdict:

Looking too deeply at Studebaker’s numbers is folly because it is such a small sample size. 53 snaps is less than one full game’s work. Still, the numbers he does have are slightly below average so the Chiefs may be doing the right thing by bringing him along slowly. Even though he stepped in for a couple of games in relief of Vrabel in 2009, Studebaker hardly played otherwise. This year he is getting consistent, albeit limited snaps in the defense to help him learn.While Vrabel may no longer be a stud I think the Chiefs are handling this situation the right way for Studebaker.

Alright Addicts, those are the PFF numbers. What do you think?

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Tags: Andy Studebaker Kansas City Chiefs Mike Vrabel

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