Arizona Cardinals Stat Junkie: OLB 2009 vs 2010

It's easy for any fan of the NFL to know that the defense for the Arizona Cardinals didn't meet the hype that was built up after the acquisition of  Joey Porter and Kerry Rhodes.  But what is not as apparent is how effective was Joey Porter when compared to the numbers that were expected of the position and players that he replaced. To do this we can turn to the stats and compare retired Cardinals Bertrand Berry and Chike Okeafor 2009 production to Joey Porter's 2010 production.

We know that Joey Porter's presence did not live up to the hype that surrounded his arrival. But is there potentially a role for Porter with the 2011 Cardinals? More after the jump...

Joey Porter's 2010 Stats
Year Team
GP
TOT
SOLO
AST
PD
SACK
FF
REC
INT
TD
2010
ARI 14 50 38 12 0 5.0 2 0 0 0

To begin we'll take a look at Bert and Chike's 2009 Stats to see what they provided to the team. We all know that stat's can not tell the entire story regarding the player or their contributions, but with the help of our collective memories and game footage from NFL.com and Youtube it will help provide a better sense of the intangibles that a player can bring to a team.

Bertrand Berry's 2009 Stats
Year Team
GP
TOT
SOLO
AST
PD
SACK
FF
REC
INT
TD
2009
ARI
15
10
9
1
0
6.0
0
7
0
0

 

Chike Okeafor 2009 Stats
Year Team
GP
TOT
SOLO
AST
PD
SACK
FF
REC
INT
TD
2009
ARI
13
47
35
12
1
4.5
2
0
0
0

 

Joey Porter's 2010 Stats
Year Team
GP
TOT
SOLO
AST
PD
SACK
FF
REC
INT
TD
2010
ARI
14
50
38
12
0
5.0
2
0
0
0

 

Cardinals Defense Ranking 2009: Rushing 17th, Sacks 6th

Cardinals Defense Ranking 2010: Rushing 30th, Sacks T-18th

At first glance we see that Bert Berry and Chike Okeafor individually were elder Cardinals who provided 15 and 13 games of support. Their stats show that Berry provided just a blip on the map for tackling, but had a way to get to the QB with 6 sacks. Okeafor while constantly fighting nagging injuries had 35 solo tackles and 12 assist, and still manage 4.5 sacks. 

What is not shown in the stats, but is shown on film is the ability to affect the running game. Most of Chike's solo tackles were Running Backs running to the right side being chased by Karlos Dansby or Gerald Hayes. Berry's pressure on the left side would engage the LT and keep him from opening up the running lanes causing runners to attack our weakest point in 2009, the center of the field. Which accumulated for the majority of the 20+ yard gains in 2009.

Joey's production in 2010 was very similar to Chike Okeafor in 2009, for around six times the expense (Porter: $6M - 2010 vs Okeafor: $1M 2009 CO). The difference that is not shown in the stats is his ability to affect the running game... in the negative. The Arizona Cardinals 2010 defense gave up their longest runs on the left side and up the middle. Opposing Left Tackles were constantly able to set the edge and allow RB's the time needed to run out to the left and gain positive yards. The 2010 Cardinals allowed an average of 145.2 yards average on the ground and 4.4 yards per attempt, compared to the 2009 average of 112.8 yards per game.

Of course, these numbers and issues with the defense can not rest solely on Joey Porter, we know that there were issues with ILB, and all over the defense. But I think you'll be surprised when we discuss next weeks comparison of the tandem of  Karlos Dansby and Gerald Hayes (2009) to Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington (2010).

So the question becomes, is it worth over paying for a player who will be out run by younger faster players? Or does Joey have enough left in the tank to play a Bert Berry role and through situational pass rushing to put up 6+ sacks?

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