“Pressures” Debate Stays Intense

May 16th, 2016
How much do sacks matter? An ex-Buc and a former Dirk Koetter guy have opposing takes. (Photo courtesy of Buccaneers.com.)

How much do sacks matter? An ex-Buc and a former Dirk Koetter guy have opposing takes. (Photo courtesy of Buccaneers.com.)

How is it that two guys with nearly 25 years of NFL playing experience combined can disagree on a key element of the game?

But that’s case with an ex-Buccaneer and a guy who had Pro Bowl years under Dirk Koetter.

The first dude at Joe’s mythical debate table is Maurice Jones-Drew, the bowling ball running back who went to three Pro Bowls (2009-2011) with the Jaguars under then-offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. The other is Anthony Becht, the former Bucs, Chiefs, Cardinals, Rams and Jets tight end.

Recently, Becht was on SiriusXM NFL Radio talking about how new Bucs defensive ends Noah Spence and Robert Ayers could give the Bucs an edge presence they haven’t had in years.

Becht emphatically said their sack totals aren’t the key, it’s about pressures.

“It’s not necessarily sacks, guys, it’s about getting in the quarterback’s face,” Becht said. “And we have two quarterbacks in our division who are pocket passers (Drew Brees and Matt Ryan). If we can get them off the middle of that pocket, you know they’ll throw those interceptions.”

A couple of days later, Jones-Drew was co-hosting on NFL Radio and ramped up a scathing rant about the notion of “pressures” being valuable. He was barking about how “pressures” are usually another way of saying a guy didn’t get the job done getting to the quarterback.

Pressures, for Jones-Drew, are nearly useless, he said. Sacks are what matter and change games.

Pass rushers who get a lot of pressures in college become almost-there guys in the pros, Jones-Drew said, and pros who just miss sacks early in their careers continue as just-miss guys with rare exceptions. The discussion blossomed when talking about ex-Dolphins DE Olivier Vernon breaking the bank in free agency, despite 14 sacks over his last two seasons.

For those scoring at home, Jacquies Smith has 13 1/2 over the last two years, playing far fewer snaps than Vernon. Of course, It was Smith’s three sacks in New Orleans last year that were the difference in the Bucs’ seven-point victory in Week 2.

Joe falls in between Becht and Jones-Drew in the debate. Pressures often are a subjective statistic. (It’s no surprise the stat nerds love them.) At some point, you must drag quarterbacks to the turf and bury them for a loss.

After all the edge impotence since Michael Bennett left Tampa for no good reason, Joe is ready for a defensive end offenses and quarterbacks legitimately fear.

26 Responses to ““Pressures” Debate Stays Intense”

  1. Bucballya Says:

    They are both good. Yes an interception is better than a sack, but a sack/fumble recovery is even better esp. if you put some bruises on the QB but their are also a lot of times a good QB can complete the pass with pressure.

  2. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    I’m with you on this one Joe….it cuts both ways. What about a pressure that leads to an int? I think I view it on turnovers or dramatic loss of field and down and distance position. Sacks are great but ints are even better.

  3. rayjay1122 Says:

    Gannon was under extreme pressure from Rice in the Bucs Vs Raiders Superbowl and thus numerous interceptions were caused. Sacks and pressure are both good. The problem last season was that neither occurred and opposing QB’s had time to eat a snack before throwing to wide open receivers.

  4. Bucsfanman Says:

    This is kind of like the chicken and the egg debate. Sacks aren’t necessarily always produced by pressure, like coverage sacks for instance. Yes, sacks can change a game but so can pressures. Pressures can lead to both sacks AND to poor throwing decisions. In terms of changing a game, nothing has a greater effect than turnovers.
    I rule for the plaintiff, Anthony Becht, on this one because of the turnover ratio. However, nothing would please me more than to have (insert QB name here) in the turf………A LOT!!!

  5. The Buc Realist Says:

    A pressure that effects the play is what you want!!! To distract the QB to just even rush a throw or cause to be off target for an incompletion!!!! If you are just around a QB and they are still throwing 1st downs then it is meaning less!!!

    Pressures are usually most effective after sacks!!!!

    Of course they were some that though adrian slowborn was a beast because he got pressure after the play was over!!!!!

  6. Clodhopper Says:

    Pressure works when the QB has been thrown on the ground a few times. The prettiest thing in football is when the opposing QB hears footsteps that aren’t there because they’ve beaten up so badly earlier.

  7. Big Marlon B Says:

    Sacks, pressures, whatever….I’m not picky. After watching Lovie’s garbage the last2 years, I think everyone should agree. Disrupt the offense in any way possible. If a pressure causes and incompletion and subsequent punt, or if a sack for a 1 or 2 yard loss does the same, that’s great…if it results in a sack/fumble or an interception, I’ll be ecstatic.

    The defense’s job is to keep the offense from putting points on the board and give the ball back to the offense. If they can change field position or put their own points up, that’s just icing on the cake. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, and just let them focus on their primary objective.

    “Simple as that.”

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Some QBs are very difficult to sack….they get the ball off or are elusive…..but all QBs can be pressured….

    I lean toward Becht’s way of thinking……the sack is great to watch and is very meaningful but the pressure causes interceptions and incompletions.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    I have to agree with Anthony Becht on this one when he says “It’s not necessarily sacks, guys, it’s about getting in the quarterback’s face.” Pressure on the QB can lead to a sack, to an INT, to a busted play.

    Panthers are an interesting study because their DLine gets good pressure on opposing QBs. Last year they had 44 sacks and 24 INTs in their 16 regular season games.

    Bucs DLine wasn’t particularly well known for getting pressure on opposing QBs last year. They ended up with 38 sacks but only 11 INTs as a team.

    The biggest difference there is in the INTs. The Panthers secondary was more talented I’d surmise, but more than twice as many INTs? DLine pressure on opposing QBs surely played a big part in not only the INT difference, but in forcing broken plays.

  10. R.O. Says:

    3rd down ( or 4th) are important. Sacks can be misleading just as pressures. It’s about the when and the where they occur.

  11. ndog Says:

    Not trying to make anyone mad here and no I am not “hating” but what MJD said (posted below) is exactly why I was iffy on Gerald McCoy coming out of college.

    “Pass rushers who get a lot of pressures in college become almost-there guys in the pros, Jones-Drew said, and pros who just miss sacks early in their careers continue as just-miss guys with rare exceptions.”

  12. 813bucboi Says:

    it depends on who we’re playing….pressure against brees and ryan could cause an int or a throw away….pressure against cam will only make him break the pocket which can be more dangerous and could produce a big play…both are needed in order to effect the qb….pressure is great against pocket passers but sacks are needed for mobile qb’s like cam…GO BUCS!!!

  13. BUC55 Says:

    First of all…it starts with pressure. To increase sacks, you have to increase overall pressure. It’s typically fairly easy for most NFL QBs to evade the first rusher. Most of the time it’s the 2nd or 3rd man in who gets the sack.

    I’m sick of hearing about this magical 10 sack threshold. A typical D lineman rushes about 400 times in a season. The whole idea is to disrupt the play any way you can as often as you can. Thats what great defenses do!

    Sacks can be so overrated. If a quarterback falls down or runs out of bounds behind the line, the closest defensive player gets credit for the sack. What if your 10 sack guy gets 3-4 in one game against an obvious weak opponent. What if the majority of his sacks come in the 2nd half of already decided games, garbage time.

    Of course a sack is a very good outcome, but consistent pressure is what wins!
    The net difference between the team who leads the league in sacks and the team that is middle of the pack (Bucs) is less than 1 per game. The difference in pressures between an average and a very good defense I believe you will find is quite dramatic.

  14. BUC55 Says:

    I get why chicks dig the long ball and sacks!!

  15. Mike Johnson Says:

    You cannot win very many games in this NFL without pressure on the QB at different junctures during the game. Not even a sack. Just pressure. We got none this past season. During one of our games, I ordered a Pizza. It took 15 minutes to arrive to my house. Our Bucs defense was still on the field. The opposition started on their own 6 yrd line and scored. You can have Jameis throw for 600 yrds. But you’d better find a way to stop somebody. Jusr ask the current Superbowl champs. Better yet, ask Dan Marino. Great QB..no superbowl!! DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

  16. lowlife Says:

    Pressures are useless? Just shut up MJD.

    A 16 sack season would be considered a Pro Bowl season most years. That is one play a game out of the 60+ the defense is on the field. That’s a (considered) premiere edge rusher only being “useful” less than 2% of the season. Just shut up MJD.

  17. LakeLandBuc Says:

    If the Patriots sack Eli Manning instead of allowing him to get the pass off, the Patriots wins the Super Bowl and go 19-0.

  18. Bill Says:

    Sacks are better than pressures. Pressures are better than non-pressures. Does anybody actually disagree with either statement? I would hope not.

    What MJD is saying compares to someone claiming the only runs that matter are the TD’s. Ridiculous.

  19. Shabazz916 Says:

    Pressure does not matter if it isn’t constant.

  20. feelthepewterpower Says:

    I actually think the focus is too much on “sacks” in today’s NFL. The sack is becoming devalued/overrated with the sheer number of three step drops, its becoming harder and harder to get hits on qbs let alone sack them.

  21. feelthepewterpower Says:

    a better way of measuring sacks would be to look at every team’s performance at certain agreed upon down and distance…that would require deeper drops.

  22. Buccaneers Says:

    While MJD does make a point it’s not really revelant this team. Any type of pressure would be better then what we had last year.

  23. dave Says:

    sacks are so much better than pressures. the last couple of years its been backup qbs even that can just check down quick or find the slant if their pressured. dree brees’ of the world its too easy. turnovers and loss of yards happen with sacks. its tough to get sacks thats why they get paid the big bucks tho

  24. K2 Says:

    We all want sacks but quick (3 seconds or less) pressures are very valuable. However, if the DB’s are tripping over the “walkers” of grandpa receivers and we’re calling that “a pressure”…than it has no value.

  25. godzilla13 Says:

    Define pressures? Pressures = Sacks, QB hits and QB hurries. All three are meaningful. There are players who can get hits and hurries but just can’t close the deal with a sack. The obvious answer is sacks have the highest priority with hits next, then hurries. All three are just as important when it comes to pressuring the QB. Who had the most sacks last year? Gerold McCoy at 8.5. Most hurries GMC with 13. Second most sacks? Jacquies Smith with 7. Second most Hurries? William Gholston with 10. He is a perfect example of someone who gets hurries but only had 3 sacks. I disagree that pressures are subjective. QB goes down its a sack. QB gets hit its a hit. Hurries are counted when a defender either forces a quarterback out of the pocket or pressures the throw. I believe the real debate should be what is more important for a defense, a good secondary or a good pass rush? I will go with a good secondary. Why? Because if you can’t cover and a QB can complete a slant route in under 2.5 seconds, the pass rush is irrelevant.

  26. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    “Pressure busts pipes”

    In most cases pressure on the QB is as a sack. Unless your facing a cam Newton or Russell Wilson, then it could come back to bite u in the A$$. But for the most part just as productive considering the odds of the QB throwing a int.

    MJD is not the greatest analyst obviously so I’m not gonna put a lot of stock into what he says. He needs to stick to playing Madden and not commenting on the game. I’m def with my man Becht on this one. He is much better than MJD when it Comes to breaking the game down. I always listen to what Bechtel has to say about the Bucs. He would never come out and say sum dumb sh!t like that. “Pressures are useless” really?