On Melvin Ingram, pass rush in general, and bad narratives,
Examining why impact plays get ignored far too often when discussing pass rush
If we were to dedicate this site solely to going after bad/false/lazy narratives that are pushed regarding football, I’d have enough content to write something new every single day.
Football is, by its very nature, a complicated sport. Every player on every play has a role that (usually) affects the rest of what goes on during a snap. Every snap has an impact on FUTURE snaps to a certain degree. And the stuff that gets quantified in terms of yards picked up on a given play doesn’t cover the vast majority of those things. It’s an imperfect system, we all know that.
With all that said, there’s also the simple human element of laziness and/or trying to be right about a prior rather than be correct about the present. And that leads us to the reason we’re here today.
Here’s the short version... The Steelers traded Ingram to KC for very little, the Chiefs defense has been markedly better since he arrived (there have been a number of other things that changed, of course, but he’s been a part of it), and this statement seemed to pretty much ignore that. One can speculate as to why it was written, but Chiefs fans (and plenty of media, Chiefs and non-Chiefs alike) took exception to it.
Here’s the crux of the article’s position as to why Ingram has done “very little” in KC (to save you a click):
Ingram has just one sack and three quarterback hits in 229 snaps for the Chiefs, which is about the same impact he had in six games with the Steelers when he had one sack and six QB hits in 246 snaps.
In other words, because Ingram has only collected a sack and 4 QB hits (the quantifiable side of things without even bothering to look at pressures, which we’ll get to shortly), he has done “very little.” This is the sort of analysis (I’m using that term loosely here) that is far, far too common when discussing the NFL. It’s easy to do; Take whatever stat is most readily accessible and draw broad conclusions. It’s simple. It’s quick. It’s widely accepted by people consuming the product.
It’s also very often not informative at best and completely wrong at worst. BUT, as a silver lining, it gives us an example to work from to talk about why box score analysis on pass rushers, particularly from a limited sample size, is quite foolish. Let’s talk about that from the lens of Melvin Ingram and the Chiefs’ pass rush vs the Chargers last Thursday.