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Thomas Howard Ranked As One Of The League's Most Efficient Linebackers

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Pro Football Focus has been taking a three-year look at NFL players recently, breaking them down by positions and using, as they call it, "unique statistics." On Thursday they published a look at tackling efficiency -- which is " as straight forward a formula as it gets, and is simply the ratio of missed tackles to tackle attempts: Solo Tackles + Assists + Misses / Missed Tackles = TE."

According to their chart, Bengals outside linebacker Thomas Howard is one of the league's most efficient tackling linebackers. Of the 2,017 defensive snaps in the past three years, Howard has only missed nine while recording 146 tackles. Though the number seems low, these are tackles that Pro Football Focus counted, largely because the league doesn't view tackles as an official statistic.

Howard, a weak-side linebacker, is largely the reason (the others being disappointment, overvalue compared to production, injury) that Cincinnati felt comfortable trading Keith Rivers to the New York Giants over the offseason. The 28-year old veteran (who turns 29 later this month) is entering the final year under contract, scheduled to earn $2.4 million in base salary this season.