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Carl Lawson: Top 5 in "First Pressures" last year


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The question is what would be an “acceptable” set of numbers: Sacks, TFLs, Hurries, etc. to hush all the critics/skeptics and justify his contract so as not to be considered a bad signing/gross over-payment - which is relative and may differ according to what Jets fans expect as opposed to the talking-heads in the media w/a narrative. 
 

Carl Lawson must reward Jets’ big contract with superstar production

As the Jets get closer to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game.

No. 5: Carl Lawson

Last year’s ranking: Unranked (not on team)

Position: DE

Age on Opening Day: 26

How acquired: Signed a three-year, $45 million free agent contract on March 18

Years left on contract: 3

2021 Salary Cap figure: $14.3 million

Looking back at 2020

Lawson had a productive season for the Bengals and parlayed that into $30 million in guaranteed money from the Jets in free agency.

Lawson played in all 16 games for Cincinnati, starting 11. He had 36 tackles, 5 ½ sacks, 32 quarterback hits, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. His 64 quarterback pressures were fourth in the NFL, according to PFF.

PFF graded him 14th out of 108 edge rushers and eighth in pass rushing. He had 34 quarterback hurries and 20 stops, which are tackles that constitute a loss for the offense.

Carl Lawson with the Bengals in 2020. Getty Images

Outlook for 2021

The Jets have not had a dominant edge rusher since trading away John Abraham in 2006. They are hoping that Lawson can end that drought.

GM Joe Douglas spent big money to bring Lawson in and give Robert Saleh the edge rusher the Jets have lacked for years. Lawson’s sack production is not sparkling, but he has gotten to the quarterback enough in Cincinnati that the Jets believe his sacks will rise in their system. The key for Lawson and everyone on the defensive line will be the secondary’s coverage giving them enough time to get sacks. The Jets are very young at cornerback and if opposing quarterbacks can get rid of the ball quickly, Lawson’s sacks will not happen.

Lawson looks the part. During the spring, he was easy to pick out on the field even among 89 other professional football players. He Is built like a bodybuilder and showed impressive burst during minicamp.

It is always an interesting jump when players go from overachieving unknown to highly paid. In Cincinnati, Lawson was a fourth-round pick who exceeded expectations. Even with 5 ½ sacks, that is good production for a fourth-round pick. That will be viewed as a failure with the Jets, since the team gave him big money. That could be Lawson’s biggest adjustment this season.

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3 minutes ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

The question is what would be an “acceptable” set of numbers: Sacks, TFLs, Hurries, etc. to hush all the critics/skeptics and justify his contract so as not to be considered a bad signing/gross over-payment - which is relative and may differ according to what Jets fans expect as opposed to the talking-heads in the media w/a narrative. 
 

Carl Lawson must reward Jets’ big contract with superstar production

As the Jets get closer to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game.

No. 5: Carl Lawson

Last year’s ranking: Unranked (not on team)

Position: DE

Age on Opening Day: 26

How acquired: Signed a three-year, $45 million free agent contract on March 18

Years left on contract: 3

2021 Salary Cap figure: $14.3 million

Looking back at 2020

Lawson had a productive season for the Bengals and parlayed that into $30 million in guaranteed money from the Jets in free agency.

Lawson played in all 16 games for Cincinnati, starting 11. He had 36 tackles, 5 ½ sacks, 32 quarterback hits, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. His 64 quarterback pressures were fourth in the NFL, according to PFF.

PFF graded him 14th out of 108 edge rushers and eighth in pass rushing. He had 34 quarterback hurries and 20 stops, which are tackles that constitute a loss for the offense.

Carl Lawson with the Bengals in 2020. Getty Images

Outlook for 2021

The Jets have not had a dominant edge rusher since trading away John Abraham in 2006. They are hoping that Lawson can end that drought.

GM Joe Douglas spent big money to bring Lawson in and give Robert Saleh the edge rusher the Jets have lacked for years. Lawson’s sack production is not sparkling, but he has gotten to the quarterback enough in Cincinnati that the Jets believe his sacks will rise in their system. The key for Lawson and everyone on the defensive line will be the secondary’s coverage giving them enough time to get sacks. The Jets are very young at cornerback and if opposing quarterbacks can get rid of the ball quickly, Lawson’s sacks will not happen.

Lawson looks the part. During the spring, he was easy to pick out on the field even among 89 other professional football players. He Is built like a bodybuilder and showed impressive burst during minicamp.

It is always an interesting jump when players go from overachieving unknown to highly paid. In Cincinnati, Lawson was a fourth-round pick who exceeded expectations. Even with 5 ½ sacks, that is good production for a fourth-round pick. That will be viewed as a failure with the Jets, since the team gave him big money. That could be Lawson’s biggest adjustment this season.

My guess if he hits double digit sacks, that will quell a ton of the chatter

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1 hour ago, Doggin94it said:

That's some seriously elite company to be keeping

Seemed like Leonard Williams lived in this stat when he was here.  

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1 hour ago, DoubleDecker said:

My guess if he hits double digit sacks, that will quell a ton of the chatter

He doesn’t need ten sacks to be a successful signing although obviously that would be great 

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1 hour ago, Doggin94it said:

That's some seriously elite company to be keeping

The biggest difference will be Quinnen Williams; because Lawson wasn't playing next to no Quinnen Williams on Cincinnati's D-Line. 

2020 (last year).

Only 5.5 sacks, however..

• 11 QB hurries. 

• 27 QB Knockdowns.

• 44 QB Pressures.

• Only 2 missed tackles!

√ Dude is an animal out there.

Kid has 15-20 Sacks type of potential alongside of QW because he's without question one of the top 5 pure QB pass rushers within the game today (from the edge).

Haven't featured a 4-3 DE like this since #94. 

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1 hour ago, Defense Wins Championships said:

The biggest difference will be Quinnen Williams; because Lawson wasn't playing next to no Quinnen Williams on Cincinnati's D-Line. 

2020 (last year).

Only 5.5 sacks, however..

• 11 QB hurries. 

• 27 QB Knockdowns.

• 44 QB Pressures.

• Only 2 missed tackles!

√ Dude is an animal out there.

Kid has 15-20 Sacks type of potential alongside of QW because he's without question one of the top 5 pure QB pass rushers within the game today (from the edge).

Haven't featured a 4-3 DE like this since #94. 

Our NASCAR package is going to be absolutely sick. On obvious passing downs, going Lawson/Q/Rankins at DE/DT/DT is very very scary. Need someone to step up on the other edge - most likely Huff or Franklin-Meyers

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4 minutes ago, Doggin94it said:

Our NASCAR package is going to be absolutely sick. On obvious passing downs, going Lawson/Q/Rankins at DE/DT/DT is very very scary. Need someone to step up on the other edge - most likely Huff or Franklin-Meyers

Don't forget Jabari Zuniga; he's a natural 4-3 DE and was criminally misused in a 3-4 last year.

Kid had 18.5 sacks and 33 tackles for loss and lived behind the Line of Scrimmage as a Florida Gator and returning back home to his natural position of 4-3 DE; could help this kid emerge as a true pass rushing weapon. 

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13 hours ago, Defense Wins Championships said:

The biggest difference will be Quinnen Williams; because Lawson wasn't playing next to no Quinnen Williams on Cincinnati's D-Line. 

2020 (last year).

Only 5.5 sacks, however..

• 11 QB hurries. 

• 27 QB Knockdowns.

• 44 QB Pressures.

• Only 2 missed tackles!

√ Dude is an animal out there.

Kid has 15-20 Sacks type of potential alongside of QW because he's without question one of the top 5 pure QB pass rushers within the game today (from the edge).

Haven't featured a 4-3 DE like this since #94. 

True, he wasn't playing with Q. He was playing across from all-world Geno Atkins. When pushed into a full-time role for the first time in 2020 (Atkins got hurt in training camp and was ineffective as a rotational player until finally being shut down) -- he achieved his career average in sacks despite playing many more snaps.

I'm not saying Lawson is a bad signing/player. I'm saying I'm not convinced he can be a double-digit sack guy. As I've stated before he lacks what most recent 10+ sack guy has -- good-to-elite lateral movement. In fact, Lawson's lateral agility is pedestrian. He does, however, have elite straight-line speed. I suggest that this explains so many pressures with so few sacks -- he closes the distance but is relatively easy to evade at the decisive moment. But again -- lest I be called a "hater" -- pressures are valuable.

I acknowledge the case for optimism in the sack department, though. The belief is that Q will limit the QB's space to step up into the pocket to evade the rush from the flank. Q will be the anvil and Lawson the hammer. It has merit. But the question remains: why didn't the Bengals trigger Lawson's 5th year option?

Edit: mea culpa on the option question. He wasn’t a first round pick.

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8 hours ago, Defense Wins Championships said:

Don't forget Jabari Zuniga; he's a natural 4-3 DE and was criminally misused in a 3-4 last year.

Kid had 18.5 sacks and 33 tackles for loss and lived behind the Line of Scrimmage as a Florida Gator and returning back home to his natural position of 4-3 DE; could help this kid emerge as a true pass rushing weapon. 

it was nice knowing you....

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19 minutes ago, jgb said:

No, he wasn't playing with Q. He was playing across from all-world Geno Atkins. When pushed into a full-time role for the first time in 2020 (Atkins got hurt in training camp and was ineffective as a rotational player until finally being shut down) -- he achieved his career average in sacks.

I'm not saying Lawson isn't a good signing/player. I'm saying I'm not convinced he can ever be a double-digit sack guy. As I've stated before he lacks what basically every recent elite pass rusher has -- elite lateral movement. I suggest that this explains so many pressures with so few sacks -- he's relatively easy to evade. Pressures are still valuable, though.

I agree.  When you watch him play, he doesnt have that ridiculous first step and burst either.  He's more of a bull rush, never give up on the play kind of guy.  Not a whole lot of insta-sacks, not a whole lot of moves, just power and a high motor.   Seems to find the QB more when the play breaks down or coverage is good.  Last year, from week 4 to week 17, he had 2.5 sacks.  Now, you could probably say something like, "well the Bengals are never playing with a lead" which is true but is that going to different here?  Doubt it.   

He's a good player and will definitely have a positive impact on this team but anyone expecting double digit sacks I think will be disappointed.  Hope I'm wrong.

 

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5 minutes ago, JiFapono said:

I agree.  When you watch him play, he doesnt have that ridiculous first step and burst either.  He's more of a bull rush, never give up on the play kind of guy.  Not a whole lot of insta-sacks, not a whole lot of moves, just power and a high motor.   Seems to find the QB more when the play breaks down or coverage is good.  Last year, from week 4 to week 17, he had 2.5 sacks.  Now, you could probably say something like, "well the Bengals are never playing with a lead" which is true but is that going to different here?  Doubt it.   

He's a good player and will definitely have a positive impact on this team but anyone expecting double digit sacks I think will be disappointed.  Hope I'm wrong.

 

He also had a really promising rookie season -- 8.5 sacks -- then tore an Achilles year two and hasn't exceeded 6 sacks since. Fair to question whether he lost something from the injury.

Nevertheless, thrilled to have a player who has shown he can disrupt plays consistently. When you force the QB to move off his spot, good things happen.

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#1 in "almost got there for a sack but didn't, and may (or may not) have had any actual effect on the results of the play".  

Good for him.

Will Wilson be #1 in "Passes that almost resulted in a TD completion but didn't" too?  We'll call these "efforts", that sounds like a cool word for a stat like this.

And I am sure Maye will lead the league in "passes that were almost caught for interceptions, but weren't", obviously.  Maybe we can call these "tryhards", since we all know DB's try real hard to catch it, even if they don't.

Some days the obsession with analytics, like made up stats (like "Pressures") that tell us almost nothing yet get used to make guys seem better than their actual production, just tire me out. 

A "pressure" often has no meaningful effect on the result of a play, a DE can get a "pressure" and the QB can still complete a pass for 90 yards and a TD ffs!  Is a "Pressure" really a thing if it results in the opponents getting a first down, or a TD?

Like you all, I'm hopeful Lawson produces, he clearly has some talent.  But I want sacks, tackles, forced fumbles.  Real production.

Not just "almost sacks, but weren't sacks".

/enddoubterscynicism

 

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3 hours ago, jgb said:

 But the question remains: why didn't the Bengals trigger Lawson's 5th year option?

Because he was a 4th rounder. 
 

Only 1st rounders are tethered w/a 5tj year option under the CBA. 

That was the compromise: if you were drafted after the first round w/no guarantees, then the quid pro quo is you get to test FA earlier than the “already paid” 1st rounders from your draft class. 
 

cincy knew it couldn’t afford to keep him and that Lawson was going to test FA. 

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7 minutes ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

cincy knew it couldn’t afford to keep him and that Lawson was going to test FA. 

Do teams usually decide they "can't afford to keep" elite pass rushers?  I've heard they're as rare as hens teeth, and that teams never let the really good ones hit the market.  

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3 hours ago, jgb said:

True, he wasn't playing with Q. He was playing across from all-world Geno Atkins. When pushed into a full-time role for the first time in 2020 (Atkins got hurt in training camp and was ineffective as a rotational player until finally being shut down) -- he achieved his career average in sacks despite playing many more snaps.

I'm not saying Lawson is a bad signing/player. I'm saying I'm not convinced he can be a double-digit sack guy. As I've stated before he lacks what most recent 10+ sack guy has -- good-to-elite lateral movement. In fact, Lawson's lateral agility is pedestrian. He does, however, have elite straight-line speed. I suggest that this explains so many pressures with so few sacks -- he closes the distance but is relatively easy to evade at the decisive moment. But again -- lest I be called a "hater" -- pressures are valuable.

I acknowledge the case for optimism in the sack department, though. The belief is that Q will limit the QB's space to step up into the pocket to evade the rush from the flank. Q will be the anvil and Lawson the hammer. It has merit. But the question remains: why didn't the Bengals trigger Lawson's 5th year option?

Atkins hasn't been all-world for 2 years (in 2019 he had just 4.5 sacks and 10 QB hits). In Lawson's rookie year (when Atkins was still great) he put up 8.5 sacks. He got injured in year 2 (2018) then came back to a much reduced Atkins. Given that, I'm not sure Atkins' presence on the Bengals' D-Line matters much to this analysis.

I'm guessing they didn't pick up the option because they didn't know what the cap would be like for this year (at the time, Covid apocalypse was still a possibility) and also because Lawson had been good-not-great in his first year back from injury in 2019.

Edit: Oops - forgot he wasn't a 1st round pick. They didn't pick up the option because they didn't have one. Their alternative was franchising him for 20M+

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2 hours ago, JiFapono said:

I agree.  When you watch him play, he doesnt have that ridiculous first step and burst either.  He's more of a bull rush, never give up on the play kind of guy.  Not a whole lot of insta-sacks, not a whole lot of moves, just power and a high motor.   Seems to find the QB more when the play breaks down or coverage is good.  Last year, from week 4 to week 17, he had 2.5 sacks.  Now, you could probably say something like, "well the Bengals are never playing with a lead" which is true but is that going to different here?  Doubt it.   

He's a good player and will definitely have a positive impact on this team but anyone expecting double digit sacks I think will be disappointed.  Hope I'm wrong.

 

Which is weird because the "First Pressure" stat suggests the opposite

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17 minutes ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

Because he was a 4th rounder. 
 

Only 1st rounders are tethered w/a 5tj year option under the CBA. 

That was the compromise: if you were drafted after the first round w/no guarantees, then the quid pro quo is you get to test FA earlier than the “already paid” 1st rounders from your draft class. 
 

cincy knew it couldn’t afford to keep him and that Lawson was going to test FA. 

Duh you’re right of course!

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4 minutes ago, Doggin94it said:

Atkins hasn't been all-world for 2 years (in 2019 he had just 4.5 sacks and 10 QB hits). In Lawson's rookie year (when Atkins was still great) he put up 8.5 sacks. He got injured in year 2 (2018) then came back to a much reduced Atkins. Given that, I'm not sure Atkins' presence on the Bengals' D-Line matters much to this analysis.

I'm guessing they didn't pick up the option because they didn't know what the cap would be like for this year (at the time, Covid apocalypse was still a possibility) and also because Lawson had been good-not-great in his first year back from injury in 2019.

Edit: Oops - forgot he wasn't a 1st round pick. They didn't pick up the option because they didn't have one. Their alternative was franchising him for 20M+

Mia culpa on the option question. Still interesting that he scored the same number of sacks as a full time player as a rotational guy. 

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14 hours ago, Lupz27 said:

These guys will spin any positive in to a negative ending, I don’t get the logic.

It's what they live for but it's not new.. After Supe3 I went to a local bar to meet up with other Jet fans and a few were saying if we played the Colts 10 times we would get killed 9 of them after the Bowl win..:rolleyes:

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54 minutes ago, Warfish said:

#1 in "almost got there for a sack but didn't, and may (or may not) have had any actual effect on the results of the play".  

Good for him.

Will Wilson be #1 in "Passes that almost resulted in a TD completion but didn't" too?  We'll call these "efforts", that sounds like a cool word for a stat like this.

And I am sure Maye will lead the league in "passes that were almost caught for interceptions, but weren't", obviously.  Maybe we can call these "tryhards", since we all know DB's try real hard to catch it, even if they don't.

Some days the obsession with analytics, like made up stats (like "Pressures") that tell us almost nothing yet get used to make guys seem better than their actual production, just tire me out. 

A "pressure" often has no meaningful effect on the result of a play, a DE can get a "pressure" and the QB can still complete a pass for 90 yards and a TD ffs!  Is a "Pressure" really a thing if it results in the opponents getting a first down, or a TD?

Like you all, I'm hopeful Lawson produces, he clearly has some talent.  But I want sacks, tackles, forced fumbles.  Real production.

Not just "almost sacks, but weren't sacks".

/enddoubterscynicism

 

“Adams didn’t make the Seahawks defense any better. Obviously, he sucks.”

Bengals 2020: dead last in sacks. #26th in passing TDs allowed. 29th in rushing yards allowed.

”Lawson is a stud.”

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6 minutes ago, ncjetman said:

if lawson can force the qb to step up in the pocket qw is going to have a monster year - dl unit has potential to be special for first time in a long time


Sent from my iPad using JetNation.com mobile app

That’s the case for optimism in a nutshell

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2 hours ago, Warfish said:

#1 in "almost got there for a sack but didn't, and may (or may not) have had any actual effect on the results of the play".  

Good for him.

Will Wilson be #1 in "Passes that almost resulted in a TD completion but didn't" too?  We'll call these "efforts", that sounds like a cool word for a stat like this.

And I am sure Maye will lead the league in "passes that were almost caught for interceptions, but weren't", obviously.  Maybe we can call these "tryhards", since we all know DB's try real hard to catch it, even if they don't.

Some days the obsession with analytics, like made up stats (like "Pressures") that tell us almost nothing yet get used to make guys seem better than their actual production, just tire me out. 

A "pressure" often has no meaningful effect on the result of a play, a DE can get a "pressure" and the QB can still complete a pass for 90 yards and a TD ffs!  Is a "Pressure" really a thing if it results in the opponents getting a first down, or a TD?

Like you all, I'm hopeful Lawson produces, he clearly has some talent.  But I want sacks, tackles, forced fumbles.  Real production.

Not just "almost sacks, but weren't sacks".

/enddoubterscynicism

 

QB pressures aren't real production? If he is rushing the throw and it results in an incomplete pass or even an interception in what world is that not considered real production? 

 

 

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1 hour ago, jgb said:

“Adams didn’t make the Seahawks defense any better. Obviously, he sucks.”

Bengals 2020: dead last in sacks. #26th in passing TDs allowed. 29th in rushing yards allowed.

”Lawson is a stud.”

The Bengals were 26th in passing TDs allowed and the Browns were 25th. Bengals 19th in passing yards allowed and Browns 21st.

Its settled. Lawson>Myles Garrett.

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16 minutes ago, MR.GANGGREEN28 said:

QB pressures aren't real production? If he is rushing the throw and it results in an incomplete pass or even an interception in what world is that not considered real production? 

 

 

Some fans don't understand Football man. 

I loved Jamal Adams because of his ability to pressure opposing QBs and guess what? Our Defense fell off a cliff without "just a pass rusher". 

Lawson will become a breath of fresh air as a pass rusher.

Previous 3 years (2018-2019-2020) combined.

Jamal Adams =

15 QB hurries.

16 QB Knockdowns.

19.5 sacks.

(25 missed tackles).

35 QB hits.

52 QB pressures.

257 blitzes. 

Carl Lawson

(6 misses tackles).

11.5 sacks. 

14 blitzes. 

24 QB hurries. 

45 QB knockdowns.

62 QB hits. 

81 QB pressures.

I'll gladly take 8 fewer sacks if it means in returning I'm getting 9 more QB hurries, 27 more QB hits, 29 more QB knockdowns, 29 more QB pressures and despite 243 fewer blitzes and also 19 fewer missed tackles.

Rushing the QB isn't just about "sacks" because even 17 sacks only = 1.0 sacks per game so you're telling me people want a player who only makes 1 impact play per game? 

Rushing the QB is all about not only pressuring them but also hitting them in order to beat the living crap out of them and damn near no one beats up QBs quite like Carl Lawson does. 

Fk sack numbers because in Cincinnati he was double teamed 24/7 but now playing alongside of Quinnen Williams? Let them double team Lawson (all they like) because it's then Quinnen Williams who's recording 20+ sacks. 

This dude is a pass rushing animal.

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3 hours ago, Warfish said:

Do teams usually decide they "can't afford to keep" elite pass rushers?  I've heard they're as rare as hens teeth, and that teams never let the really good ones hit the market.  

Even Lawson's biggest defenders aren't calling him "elite".  And given that even after his big free agency payday he's "only" the 14th highest paid EDGE rusher in the league, I don't even think Douglas feels he's elite, either.  He's a good pass rusher and the hope is he can be more than just good. 

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2 hours ago, MR.GANGGREEN28 said:

QB pressures aren't real production?

You tell me.

If you get a "pressure" stat, and the QB completes the pass for a 90 yard TD, what did you produce?

Quote

If he is rushing the throw and it results in an incomplete pass or even an interception in what world is that not considered real production?

Not in my view. 

The production is "1 incomplete pass for 1 attempt", which belongs to the QB, the result of which was a true team effort (the pass rush, the coverage, the opponents WR's, and the QB.

If he tackled the QB for a sack, that is a production (he produced a loss of yards for the offense).  

If he knocked down the pass, he could claim he caused the incompletion.

A "pressure" is just too ambiguous on it's own to be a stat.  It's literally a "I got close" stat with no other required qualifiers.

If the only time you were awarded a "pressure" was when you got to within X distance of the QB AND the result of the play was no positive yards, then maybe we'd be closer to a statistic worth thinking about (in partnership with Sacks and TFL as well).

The fact we both just put forward two equally possible situations that would result in the same "production" but end in wildly different outcomes says an awful lot about the supposed "stat" of pressures.  When something can literally mean anything, it's just not of value as a performance indicator.  Literally, a player could lead the NFL in pressures, but every one of those pressures could be a completed pass for positive yards.

/shrug, no, I prefer stats with limited, specific definitions that result in actual, tangible production of something.  JMO.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Even Lawson's biggest defenders aren't calling him "elite".  And given that even after his big free agency payday he's "only" the 14th highest paid EDGE rusher in the league, I don't even think Douglas feels he's elite, either.  He's a good pass rusher and the hope is he can be more than just good. 

Do teams usually let "good pass rushers" in the top half of the NFL (14th paid out of what, 64 starting D-End/OLB rusher types) walk? 

Other than us, of course, lol.

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7 minutes ago, Warfish said:

Do teams usually let "good pass rushers" in the top half of the NFL (14th paid out of what, 64 starting D-End/OLB rusher types) walk? 

Other than us, of course, lol.

The interesting narrative here is that the Bengals did not re-sign Lawson and opted to sign Trey Hendrickson from the Saints after we signed Lawson.

Did the Bengals panic after we signed Lawson or did they know something we didn't?

It's difficult to give the benefit of the doubt to either organization. We'll see how it plays out.

I was a big proponent of signing Lawson and I'm bullish on him being a top ten edge rusher in the NFL next year. But ehh, I'm clearly relying heavily on those pressure applied metrics and assuming this scheme combined with the continued emergence of Quinnen Williams will give Lawson favorable opportunities. 

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