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A $7.27 Million Dollar Question

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A $7.27 Million Dollar Question

I am trying desperately to write a positive article about the Packers defense. I guess I could write about the linebackers being deep or the fact that we have two of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. But I keep coming back to Fritz Shurmur, one of the greatest defensive coordinators in Packer History, who said "If you don't have a defensive line, you don't have a defense".

And so here we are at the end of Training camp with a multitude of questions- the most pressing being Ryan Pickett and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Reports from Monday on KGB are not promising, Bob McGinn writes:

Back in pads Monday for the first time since his surgically repaired right knee acted up July 30, Gbaja-Biamila stayed away from making sharp cuts and tried to avoid heavy contact before shutting himself down with about 30 minutes to go.
If Gbaja-Biamila, whose cap salary of $7.727 million ranks No. 1 on the team, isn’t ready for Minnesota, the Packers probably would be down to using Jason Hunter at right end on passing downs. Rookie Jeremy Thompson, a fourth-round draft choice, has been invisible. Michael Montgomery is another option.

If KGB & Pickett can't go, all Minnesota will have to do is double Aaron Kampman and Adrian Peterson has 200 yards rushing. Over at The Tundra Vision blog I have to take exception with this quote:

The sack, in my long-standing opinion, is the most overrated statistic in football. I would trade all my defensive sacks for consistent pressure, hurries, and knockdowns on the quarterback. Give me Aaron Kampman's consistency over KGB's once-in-a-while sack any day.

That's like saying you would rather score field goals than touchdowns. Seriously. Please. There is nothing overrated about a sack and here's why:

1. It has the potential to take out the most important position on the opponents team.
2. It's a game momentum changing play.
3. It can generate negative psychological effects on the opposing team. (i.e. scare the living crap out of them- especially the QB)

And what about Reggie White? Are his record sacks in the Superbowl overrated? Come on.

I can remember many a game where we needed a game changing play and KGB delivered. The $7.27 million dollars KGB will make this year is worth it...if he is on the field.

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Mr.Man's picture

Dude, get psyched! The Packers have the best third string MLB and third string safety in the NFL! Woo hoo!

Seriously, the D-Line situation is plainly depressing. I really hope Thompson can trade some of the surplus O-linemen (Coston? Moll?) for a decent depth guy there. And unfortunately, they need KGB fully healthy, not just able to play. At the end of last season, he was playing gimpy and he was not productive.

CharlesMartinGraduates's picture


cheese5's picture

That too. :)

L.A.'s picture

Hey Corey...

I'll give you that sacks are big plays, but as a statistic, they are overrated.

The biggest reason I believe they are overrated is they are used to statistically evaluate the ability of an offensive line to protect a quarterback, and are the ONLY official statistic that is out there. Pressures, hurries, knockdowns are all subjective and usually not taken seriously.

In the article you cited, I did discuss how Favre often made his line look good, because he would avoid the rush and get rid of the ball early. He was sacked only 24 times in 2005, but had 29 interceptions. Yet guys like Whittaker and Klemm were getting absolved of any lack of protection because they were only allowing a sack or two a game.

Defensively, I do think it is a overrated statistic because we tend to reward defensive ends and tackles based on that stat. A fantastic total for a player in a season is around 15 sacks, which comes out to less than one sack per game. KGB was rewarded for those totals, and now owns the Packer sack record (ahead of said Reggie White). Which player would you rather have...White wreaking havoc on almost every play, or KGB only coming in on passing downs and making an impact on one defensive play out of 50?

I don't question the impact of "the sack" as a great play or its psychological impact. But, there is no statistic that is more overrated and misused in the evaluation of players.

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