When Numbers Don’t Tell The Story

August 23rd, 2021

Bucs OLB Jason Pierre-Paul.

Guys who believe games are played by numbers get shaken when folks (like Joe) don’t always swallow the numbers they peddle.

For example, take this Seth Walder for BSPN. He seems to do good work. Joe likes his research on linemen. But like most stat guys, Walder believes the future can be predicted by numbers and projections.

In a breakdown of 2021 sacks predictions, Walder has Bucs sack king Shaq Barrett bouncing back from an OK 2020 season with 11.4 sacks (OK if you had 19.5 sacks the previous season).

Now for Jason Pierre-Paul, Walder thinks JPP will remain static. He will be effective but will have one less sack (8.4) than last year (9.5).

Pierre-Paul’s 2020 season was a perfect example of how the right situation can be a significant factor in a sack total. He ranked 43rd out of 46 qualifiers in pass rush win rate as an edge defender, yet still managed 9.5 sacks. Why?

Because of what was going on around him, though he is stellar at finishing plays. Pierre-Paul was part of a good, blitz-heavy defense on a contending team with other pass-rushers such as Shaquil Barrett and Vita Vea on the same defensive line. He ranked third in expected sacks last season — and his situation should be similar in 2021.

Even though the 32-year-old Pierre-Paul isn’t the player he once was, his environment should again make him a sack threat.

Here is the trap most stat guys fall into, and Walder stepped in it with his JPP breakdown.

Nowhere in the excerpt above will you find any mention of JPP’s knee that he had cleaned up this spring. JPP has said he feels like a new man and claimed this summer no Bucs player had a worse injury and attempted to play.

Just being healthy and hopefully having Vita Vea healthy for a full season, JPP ought to have more sacks this year.

Stat guys seem to hate factoring in injuries because injuries are thoroughly unpredictable. Also, you can’t slap a friggin’ number on an injury short of snaps and games missed.

16 Responses to “When Numbers Don’t Tell The Story”

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    Most excited about watching the defense this season..

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Who was it that said “Stats are for losers” ?

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Looking on our CBs to improve on sacks….won’t be difficult, they had Zero sacks last year……

  4. Anonymous Says:

    As long as Vita’s around these guys could both get 15 sacks. But we will have to see how/if JTS effects on the OLB rotation in the regular season. If JTS comes through we will be very fresh at that position every Sunday which makes me very happy.

  5. Casual Observer Says:

    The number and percentage of games won are stats.

  6. PSL Bob Says:

    Can’t tell from the article, but did Walder consider there’s one additional game this year.? I’m predicting a 10-sack season from JPP this year, and he doesn’t even lift weights.

  7. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Why would he include Vita when he’s injury prone and after 30, a knee injury especially a knee injury tends to be an issue for football players like JPP. He’s a year older and so is that knee. He’s no spring chicken.

  8. Bucsfan951 Says:


    I am looking for more coverage sacks from this young secondary. Sacks the qb has to take because he couldn’t go anywhere with the ball.

  9. Leighroy Says:

    Using past stats to make future projections, is like driving a car forward down a road by only looking in the rear view mirror.

  10. Bird Says:

    Taking the over on that. Jpp has a healthy knee and is a freak

  11. The Red Mirage Says:

    If Vita stays healthy all season JPP will probably get double digit sacks this year.

  12. Thisisouryear!!! Says:

    I’ve always thought JPP is the best pass rusher on this team. If both he and Shaq stay healthy, JPP will lead the team in sacks. This defense could be lights out!! I can’t wait.

  13. MONK Says:

    I bet most of the Bucs read your site. My question is…do you get feedback from players?

  14. Tackleblockwin Says:

    I think we will see more our D come up with more interceptions this season than last year. The Bucs D had some big picks in the post season against very good QBs. Joe already wrote an article about many of the lower tier QBs the Bucs will face this year, which hopefully will assist my prediction.

  15. Tackleblockwin Says:

    ^^^forgive me, sloppy first sentence lol.

  16. Craig Says:

    The addition of Tryon to spell JPP can not be discounted either. The position will be up and a rested JPP is a dangerous JPP.

    Stats also forget the team sport thing. Opposing QBs might discount JPP because of Shaq, or Tryon, on the other side. It is not a good idea to discount JPP.