Rest for the Weary Interior Defensive Lineman

The Ultimatenyg Wife and Daughter made cookies for the New Years Party last night.

The rest will be a positive for the DL- an oppty for Tuck, Robbins and Cofield to get back to their early season energy with a few less bumps and bruises to contend with.

When we lost Osi in August, we knew that was a BIG hurdle to getting another title. Well, here we are. All it means is that the Giants need HELP. They need the offense to get more points. They need the kickoff coverage to help them with field position. Yes, they need the Safety to pickup the RB out of the checkdown, not Pierce. (Wonder agrees, says Pierce should not be on the field on 3rd and long.) They can commit a few less penalties. The Giants have enough to win it all, they just need to be a little tighter from here on in. Gilbride needs to get more than 21 points per game this offseason, it will NOT be enough unless guys like Robbins ARE BACK.

Like we have said before, IF ROBBINS IS BACK IN EARLY SEASON HEALTH, they’ll be on Broadway on Feb 2nd. But when did an interior DL ever finish STRONGER as the season wore on? I am willing to bet that that extra week off for Cofield may have saved him in ways we do not know. Interior DL is like playing Catcher in Baseball. The length of the season is a major grind. The physical demands every game wear you down like no other position on the field. It is not a coicidence that these guys get hurt and eventually cannot play well enough with their injuries and must take a week off to heal.

We looked at the 4 Pro Bowl picks this season (Haynesworth, Jenkins, Ratliff and Williams), added in Cofield and Robbins, and looked at their combined tackles and sacks in the first 11 games and then looked at the same stats in the last 5 games of the season.

Statistic First11 Last5
Starts 100% 84%
Tackles/game 3.1 2.8
Sacks/game 0.52 0.08

So the number of tackles this squad made dropped off by 11% per game. Given that the number of starts also dropped by 16%, you can argue that the run-stopping stayed consistent. But the total number of sacks plummetted from 34 in the first 11 games to 2.5 in the last 5 games, a drop of 84%. These guys simply lose their wheels. ALL OF THEM. I did not inspect the assists/solo tackles ratio, but anecdotally it looked like there were less solos and more assists in the latter part of the season.

EIGHT FOUR PERCENT. THE SACKS DRIED UP. COMPLETELY! For Robbins, his last sack came on October 19th. For Defensive Ends, they may come in “bunches,” but for Defensive Linemen, they come in the earlier part of the season. You can argue, but hey, he got injured! But injuries alone only would account for a 16% dropoff in production, which is almost exactly what we see from the number of tackles. And this dropoff in sacks was for all the probowlers, not just (the alternate Pro Bowler) Robbins.

One factor which cannot be ignored is that Robbins collected 5.5 sacks in his first 6 games vs. weaker competition with a winning percentage of 30.7%. In the last 10 games, the Giants and Robbins faced opponents with a winning percentage of 61.8%. So some of the dropoff in his personal performance may have been related to that variable.

The Giants pass rush misses the push from Robbins up the middle. All teams miss this, but it has been especially acute for the Giants. Even if Robbins does not get the sack, if he getting the forward push this will help Kiwanuka and Tuck because the QB will not be able to step up into the pocket. At this point in the season, all we need is the hurry, knockdown, push. Sacks just confirm the other three and generally cause change of possession.

Separately, if you have a site which tracks INDIVIDUAL HURRIES and KNOCKDOWNS for defensive players, pls let us know.

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