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Fun With Numbers

The Hawks recorded 30 penetrations against the Cardinals versus just 19 against the Bucs. That seems a little off on first look, but my criteria for a penetration is pretty straight forward so I don't think this is recorder bias. Here's a couple theories that might account for the difference: Jeff Garcia did not pass under pressure, turning penetrations into sacks. Matt Leinart passed very well under pressure, frequently turning penetrations into completions. Also, because the Hawks defensive line was converting sacks against the Bucs, the Hawks employed less pressure from the linebackers and DBs. The only non-lineman to record a penetration against the Bucs was Julian Peterson, and he did it while working as a LB/DE hybrid in the Hawks 3-3 Nickel Package. Non-linemen accounted for eight penetrations against the Cardinals. In other words, failing to sack Leinart forced John Marshall to call for more blitzes.

The incredible disappearing Deion Branch from week one? Branch was targeted on three passes, an underthrow, an overthrow and a tip. In week two Branch suffered a pair of overthrows, a tip, but also a drop. Still, I wouldn't be too worried about Branch's 44% catch percentage, that includes a lot stuff outside of his control. I thought Branch might be better suited for 3+ wide receiver sets, because of his size, experience in New England and most importantly his skill set. The early returns would seem to indicate just that. Counting all attempts in Arizona, Branch averaged just 2.66 yards on two wide receiver sets, 11.86 on three wide receiver sets and 22 yards on 4 wide receiver sets. That final one accounts for just one pass. I'm pretty sure that this trend will hold up, we'll see.

Craig Terrill seems like a little touch of thunder when he's subbed in. Despite severely limited action, he has 10 penetrations. Tapp has 9, Bernard 8, Kerney 8. Chartric Darby has just 1, and he's not stuffing the pile in run support either recording just one Forced Double Team. For a player that looked pretty good in preseason, the early going has been a real disappointment for Darby. Bernard has been the man forcing double teams, recording 4 for the season.

From the he blows tackles because he makes tackles department: Tatupu leads all Hawks with 4 blown tackles. Mostly that's the product of flying to the ball carrier, you don't record 20 tackles in two game without missing a few, but Tatupu does lose his man sometimes. Kerney and Trufant each have a pair blown tackles. Let's think of it like this, ratio of blown tackles to total tackles: Tatupu: .2, Trufant .22, Kerney .29.

The Hawks only recorded 4 Blown Blocks against the Bucs, but 14 against the Cardinals. Walter Jones has five Blown Blocks for the season, but looked much better in the second half against Arizona. Sean Locklear and Rob Sims each have three. Sims, Mack Strong and Marcus Pollard lead with three Good Blocks each. Sims presence on both lists is indicative of the growing pains expected for a young but very talented guard. Pollard has been a real pleasant surprise as a blocker.

I didn't record a single Blown Coverage against the Bucs. Hmmm...maybe that's why the Hawks' pressure turned into sacks. There were 6 against the Cardinals. Two more if you count the Blown Assignments by Grant and Peterson on the Leonard Pope touchdown reception. That's a lot of suck right there. Leinart seemed to be able to find a man whenever a Hawk was bearing down on him.

The Hawks run 3 wide receiver sets on 47% of all plays, and 3 or 4 wide receiver sets on 62% of all plays. In 2006, Pro Football Prospectus reports they ran 3+ WR sets on 61% of all plays and 4+ WR sets on 16% of all plays.

It's probably too early to come to any solid conclusions from these numbers just yet. I'll do quarterly progress reports where I list the cumulative stats (and maybe make some graphs), but for now it's seems like too much work for too little meaning.