Double Take: A DVOA Assessment Of The 201O Chiefs Defensive Line


As a natural follow up to last week’s DVOA breakdown of the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive line, this week we take a look at how our defensive line fared using the same analysis. The prevailing consensus seems to be that Glen Dorsey is making good progress, Tyson Jackson still has a lot of question marks, and we need to upgrade at Nose Tackle. Are these all fair assessments?

Well, we’ll find out if Football Outsider’s DVOA analytical assessment of our defensive line justifies those popular opinions, or, maybe, just maybe, throws us any surprises – right after the jump.

Similar to last week, the first two of the following charts characterize the 2010 Chiefs defensive line success relative to the rest of the league with comparisons to the DL’s performance in 2009. In the first chart, for defense, “Power” refers to success in defending against short yardage situations on either 3rd down, 4th down or goal line situations, “Stuffed” means stuffed, “2nd Level” refers to success in preventing runs of 5 to 10 yards, and “Open Field” means success in preventing runs of more than 10 yards. In the second and third charts, Left End and Right End refer to rushes outside the tackles, Left Tackle and Right Tackle refer to runs that go between the respective tackle and guards, while Middle/Guard refers means anything that goes between the two guards without respect to which side of the Center they fall. Lastly, the third chart indicates where along the line Chiefs opponents preferred to run the ball and how those preferences compare to NFL averages as computed through the 2010 regular season.

Much as we saw with the offensive line, it is quite apparent that the overall effectiveness of our defensive line was significantly better in 2010 than where it was in 2009. Then again, we were at or near the bottom of the league in several categories last year . . .

Couple things jumped out at me right away.

This season, we were amazingly good (2nd best) at stopping runs outside the Right Tackle. Unless I’m mistaken, this responsibility, or credit if you will, is associated with the “Jackson/Vrabel/Belcher” side of the line. I was honestly stunned when I saw that.

The second big thing that pops out is just how much teams like to run straight at us and how generally successful they were when they did so. This to me is a great argument saying that our entire defense ought to improve dramatically with a major upgrade at NT during the offseason. In fact, I would say that improving this position should be considered at least as important as landing a quality receiver (or two). What’s more, based on how he handled his workload outside the guard, I am now inclined to think that putting a skilled NT clogger/pusher alongside Tin Man is most likely to improve the play of the latter on either of the side of the guard.

Those two mentions out of the way, I’ll wrap with the general observation that even though our DL improved in 2010, it is still significantly below average in almost every category. Even where we did show the most significant jump (i.e., pass pressure) there is still plenty of room for getting better.

That’s my Double Take. What are your takes Addicts?

Tags: Glenn Dorsey Kansas City Chiefs Mike Vrabel Romeo Crennel Tyson Jackson