Defensive Grading v. The Raiders - DL Edition

After seeing how poorly PFF graded "Jobi" against the run during the Raiders game, I decided to go take a look at the film myself, PFF-style. I've explained elsewhere how Jobi is a gap-shooter, intending to knife through and either pick up a big TFL or force a cutback in the point-of-attack (POA) that leads the ball-carrier right into someone else's waiting arms. This can often look like bad defense because it appears like very poor gap control, unless the defensive scheme up front is built to account for that in a sort of "organized chaos". Which I believe is something Lou does scheme-wise. This is definitely something I kept an eye on while watching tape, and would only downgrade him for that when it created a material detriment to the rest of the front.

Jobi is also getting hammered because he has a lot of missed tackles this year (13), but in reality his Missed Tackle % has been >10% the last 4 years so it's definitely an issue for him. But, PFF doesn't treat all missed tackles the same either - if a missed tackle is done in a way that it forces a cutback into teammates, those are downgraded less harshly if at all. So I factored this in as well.

Also a brief description of my grading system. I watch every play using the A22 angle from NFL GamePass and then assign a grade ranging from +4 to -4 depending on what I saw. This is definitely subjective, as any grading system would be.

A +1 is the standard grade for doing something well, whether that's a CB with tight coverage on a receiver that wasn't targeted, a LB getting off a block and into his proper gap, a NT controlling an OL and closing the POA against the run, or a DE getting around an OT and pressuring the QB etc.

In order to get a +2 there needs to be a substantial increase in the quality of that individual play. For the examples I gave above, this would a CB with tight coverage on a complex route or making a PBU when targeted, a LB getting off a block at the 2nd level and into his gap and making a tackle for a short gain, a NT controlling his OL and shedding at the POA and contributing to the tackle, or a DE beating the OT "quicker" to his QB pressure.

And the same sort of escalation exists to earn a +3 or +4. Spoiler alert, those are rare. I only handed out 4 +3s and a single +4 in the entire game - Pratt's INT to end the game was the sole +4. Hilton earned a +3 for that beautiful PBU on a tricky double-move to end the first drive for example.

Also my intent is to only grade players when they "had a chance to contribute" on a play. A safety in deep coverage on a play with a quick slant, a DE playing edge containment on the backside of a zone run, or a LB dropping into underneath zone coverage with no receivers running routes into his area are all examples of plays where I would not want to assign a grade because the player never had a chance to provide any real input on the outcome of the play. Giving players "0s" in those circumstances will just clutter up their average with a bunch of 0s and artificially draw their overall average closer to 0. A good CB with a +0.8 average doesn't want his grade dragged down to +0.5 because he has a bunch of 0s on run plays or pass plays where his man didn't run a real route etc. Nor do we want the FS with a -0.7 average to get bumped up to a -0.4 by a bunch of fake 0s for the same reason. We want to isolate just those plays where they actually had a chance to contribute in a meaningful way, and then churn out an average grade on those plays.

That said, here we go. I'm going to cover each position group by first going over snap counts and who played what different positions, then cover overall grading, and then get into the weeds with some assignment detail. One thing to also note, my snap counts include all pre-snap penalties because I have to be able to assign grading to players when they jump offisides etc. So that's why players like Bates and Bell will have 80 snaps even though the defense was only officially on the field for 77.


First up what I notice is the NT usage between the 3 starters. 83% of Reader's snaps came as a NT while only 27% each for Jobi and Hill. Hill did have 1 weird snap where he was lined up as a true Edge DE in a 3-man subpackage front, and I also tagged him with 2 snaps early in the game as a 5T in odd fronts. But after the injury to Daniels we saw a lot less of those fronts as they attempted to conserve snaps so I'm imagining that's why we only saw 2 such snaps from Hill.


Going to really go out on a limb here, but Reader is a dang good NT against the run. He averaged +1.3 per snap, and got there by having a ridiculous 11 positive grades on 12 total chances. His pass rushing was very average in this game, but I do think some of that can be attributed to him playing way more snaps than usual due to the injuries at DT (this was his 2nd highest snap count of the season). A lot of those negatives were him getting pretty much shut down 1v1 by a guard as he attempted a "bull rush" but made zero progress. It was pretty easy to tell when he was gassed versus when he was going full stop, because when he wanted to he could just walk his guy into the QB in about 2-3 seconds.

A quick note, pretty much as a rule when a DT got double-teamed on a pass rush I wasn't handing out any type of grade by default. It's fair to assume that in 95% of situations when a guy is double-teamed he isn't going to be in a position to even have a chance to positively affect the play with pressure on the QB, nor should he be deserving of a downgrade for "not getting pressure" because he was double-teamed. The expected result should be no pressure in that situation. I did hand out grading occasionally if the player was just completely dominated by the double-team, or they could get a +1 if they did manage to work the double-team back a yard or so and "look dangerous" etc.

Now for Jobi, here's where we get into his impact as a run defender. Despite PFF giving him a 28 for this game and currently ranking as the 2nd worst run defending DT (>50% snaps) in the league, I had him with a fairly average performance in this game. Out of 8 chances he had a positive impact on half of those, but he did offset that with 3 negatives, 2 of which were pretty poor. So there are definitely some low lows here, but he also does produce +1s at a high rate for a guy who is currently an "F" for run defense according to PFF. His pass rushing is also much more dangerous than Reader, receiving 10 positives on 15 tries, a 67% rate compared to Reader who was ~50%. More importantly he rarely outright lost a rep, with just 2 negatives or a 13% rate while Reader was at 33% losses.

Hill definitely proved how integral he is during this game, taking over as the primary 3T once Jobi got hurt. He has been an absolute steal after trading literal peanuts to acquire him, and I'd almost consider him an equal replacement for Jobi. They are definitely different players with Hill playing much more technical gap-sound run defense but without as many splash plays, while still producing as a pass rusher. I only upgraded Hill on 2 of his 8 chances against the run but I also downgraded him just twice and none of those were "Bad" losses so while his win rate is lower than Jobi's, his loss rate is significantly better to compensate. Hill's pass rushing numbers are a bit underrated in this one, because like Reader he also played way too many snaps in the 2nd half due to the injuries - this was a season-high for him in terms of snaps and nearly double what he played versus the Chiefs. He was at a +0.8 avg through his first 16 chances, which amounted to most of the first 3 Quarters - he had a 69% win rate and just a 6% loss rate. But over another 16 chances mainly in the 4th Quarter he only averaged +0.3, with his win rate dropping to 38% and his loss rate jumping to 25%. There was a lot to like from Hill in the first 3 quarters of this game.

Daniels played 2 snaps but wasn't graded in either.

There isn't much to notice with the Detail for DTs because they pretty much play the same assignments against the run and use a Power move on most pass rushes. One thing I do notice is that Hill has much more success than Jobi when it comes to using moves that aren't Power. Jobi was graded on 3 snaps when he used some kind of move that wasn't pure Power (rip, swim, etc but also not a Speed rush) - he received 1 positive and 2 negatives. That is a far cry from his success rate on Power rushes, which was 9/12 with zero negatives. However Hill had much more success with non-Power moves. In fact I had him with wins on all 5 reps when he used such a move. He was still good with Power (10 positives out of 22 reps, 2 negatives), but he seems to be a more complete rusher than Jobi in terms of the ways he can win. Jobi is a better Power rusher but Hill has a wider overall toolset and can produce at a similar rate. I will also say, the Raiders spent more time doubling Hill at the end of the game than they did doubling Reader, because they knew who was more dangerous.


The difference between DE and ED is, a DE has a hand down while an ED is a true stand-up Edge player. I keep track because usually Edges are EDs in odd fronts but DEs in even fronts and pass rushing situations. But I have definitely noticed some guys are EDs in even fronts while the other is a DE. This is evident between Trey and Hubbard, with Trey having 2/3 of his snaps as a true DE while Hubbard is split nearly 50/50. And actually both Kareem and Sample mirror that same 50/50 usage so it's only Trey that seems to be more of a pure DE.

Also visible is which Edge they used on the interior after Jobi got hurt - Sample. Trey, Hubbard, and Kareem all combined for just 8 interior snaps, while Sample saw 13 just by himself. Most of these were in passing situations but I did have him in for 2 run plays as a DT. But the trend with Jobi is easy to spot - Sample had just 1 snap as a DT prior to the 6.47 mark in the 3rd quarter, but after that 12/30 of his snaps came from the inside.


I've come to the conclusion that PFF very heavily weights turnover producing plays in their grading. Because our 3 highest graded defenders on the day were Hendrickson, Bates, and Pratt and all 3 of those had a big hand in a turnover. Hendrickson with the strip sack, Pratt with the game sealing INT, and Bates with the punch-out on 3rd down to end that drive. And I get that producing splash play turnovers like that is important to the success of the defense and I handed out +3/4s for each of them. But it's also important to contribute on an every play basis instead of just on a select few plays but then disappearing the rest of the game.

I say that because, IMO Hubbard was the better overall player in this game. Hubbard beat him out in all 3 of the following categories - Win Rate (68% to 65%), Big Win Rate (18% to 15%), and Loss Rate (13% to 20%). The obvious reason for why this would be the case is the matchups at OT - Trey was having to deal with Kolton Miller while Hubbard just destroyed Brandon Parker on the other side.

But this also shows you how totally and completely useless our backups are compared to our starters. Kareem was a non-factor on run plays but quite poor rushing the passer - just 2 positives out of 14 opportunities with a 14% Win Rate and a 43% Loss Rate. He did spend most of his time on the right side going against Kolton Miller, but still. Sample was better in terms of Win Rate (24%), but also had a higher Loss Rate (48%). He lost on nearly 50% of his reps. Sample had more losses on the day (10) than Trey and Hubbard had combined (9) despite them having nearly 3x the snap count.


I won't go into too much detail on this report because there's A LOT to peruse here. But I would like to point out how many types of different ways Hubbard was successful rushing the passer, with a particular note on how effective he was on stunts. Compare that with Kareem who is more of a pure Power rusher and then Sample who does try to vary his rush sets a bit but just isn't very good at any of them.

Part 2 - LBs LINK

Part 3 - DBs LINK

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.