Quarterback hurries, pressures, hits or whatever you want to call them are not an official NFL statistic.
But I was browsing through the “season-in-review’’ packages of all four NFC South teams last night and noticed each team had something in, or close to, this category. Again, it’s not official and these numbers are calculated by assistant coaches after watching film.
Take the numbers for what they’re worth because, in my experience, they’re very subjective. I’ve seen some assistant coaches be very fair with this type of thing (tackle totals are done the same way) and I’ve also seen some inflate the numbers a bit to make themselves and their players look good.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s go through the four teams on this unique category.
Atlanta. The Falcons call them quarterback hurries. Although Atlanta had a disappointing 28 sacks, it doubled the number when it came to hurries. The Falcons had 56. According to Atlanta’s coaching staff, John Abraham led the team with 12 hurries. Jonathan Babineaux had 10, which is a nice number for a defensive tackle, especially when you combine it with his team-high six sacks. Defensive end Kroy Biermann was next with eight hurries. Stephen Nicholas led the linebackers with four hurries. The only other number that really jumped out at me was that defensive end/tackle Jamaal Anderson had four hurries. He didn’t have a sack. But, hey, he at least got close to the quarterback a few times.
Carolina. The Panthers go with the term “quarterback pressures’’ and their numbers are dramatically higher than Atlanta’s. Not sure if that’s a case of Carolina having a better pass rush or the coaches being more generous in their breakdowns. Whatever the case, former Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers was credited with a team-best 35 pressures. Former Carolina defensive tackle Damione Lewis was next with 21. Those guys are gone, but here’s something encouraging for those wondering about the future of Carolina’s defensive line: Defensive end Everette Brown had 16 pressures in a part-time role in his rookie season. Charles Johnson, another guy who now has a chance to be a starter, had 12 pressures in a part-time role. Tyler Brayton, who started last season and seems destined to end up elsewhere as a free agent, had 14 pressures.
New Orleans. The Saints call them quarterback hurries and their coaching staff tabulated 98 of them. Predictably, Will Smith led the Saints with 23. Bobby McCray, who was a backup, was second with 13. End/tackle Anthony Hargrove had 11. Starter Charles Grant had 10. But Grant has been released by the Saints. What stands out most about the Saints in this category is that, although only four guys reached double figures, they had a bunch of other players with a fair amount of hurries. That’s a symptom of the aggressive Gregg Williams defense. New Orleans can bring pressure from anywhere. Safety Roman Harper had eight hurries and middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma had seven.
Tampa Bay. Like the Panthers, the Bucs count quarterback pressures, and I think their coaching staff was more than a little generous. According to the coaches, the Bucs had 154 pressures -- that from a team that produced only 28 sacks. Stylez G. White was credited with a whopping 34 pressures. Jimmy Wilkerson, who currently is hanging out there as a free agent was next with 28. The Bucs also credited tackle Chris Hovan (18), end Tim Crowder (13) linebacker Geno Hayes (12), defensive tackle Ryan Sims (10) and the late Gaines Adams (10, before he was traded to Chicago) with double-digit pressures.