Defensive tackle Dan Williams has sort of become a forgotten man in the Arizona Cardinals defense. It isn't because of his play so much as it has to do with his playing time. He has been criticized in the past for weight, conditioning and desire, but he is playing well, and numbers from Pro Football Focus show that he happens to be one of the best run-stuffing defensive tackles in the league.
According to the numbers, Williams is 10th at his position in the league in run stop percentage, the rate in which he makes a tackle for a stop (defined as gaining 40% of required yardage on first down, 60% on second down, and the entire required yardage on third or fourth) when there is a running play and he is on the field. He makes a "stop" just under nine percent of the time an opposing offense runs the ball.
That is what he is asked to do in his role on the defense -- stop the run. Unfortunately, the defense hasnot been super effective at it overall, but that in part is because of how often the defense leaves its base package. When they go nickel, Williams is the man out and another defensive back in. The result? teams have a much easier time running the ball on the inside because there are only two down linemen in Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett.
That's not to say that Williams doesn't want to be in there more. "I am always ready to rush the passer if they need me," Williams said to reporters. He just doesn't do it often.
Now, my question to you all is this -- is there a better way the Cardinals could go to their nickel or dime packages?
In 2010, the Cardinals actually did not have a real nickel defense. They would go straight to a dime package with six DBs. They would go 3-2-6, going with only two linebackers.
Now, they go 2-4-5. leaving all four 'backers in.
Would you rather see one of the linebackers on the field on passing downs, going with the 2-4-5, or would you like a 3-3-5 package. And if you keep Williams in and go with three linebackers, what would you do? Do you take off a guy off the edge like Quentin Groves or Sam Acho, or do you take either Daryl Washington or Paris Lenon off the field, who never come off the field.
Based on the numbers on pass defense, you have to say that there is no reason to change, but could be a factor as to why teams are successful at running the ball.
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