In previous post about the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line play last season, one of the commenters stated that he couldn\’t stand seeing Casey Hampton being forced to play on obvious passing downs because of the no huddle offenses the team faced. Following that comment, another person stated that once teams saw Hampton and Brett Keisel in the game, damn near all of them went no-huddle almost immediately.
I wanted to see just how accurate both of these statements were so I went back and pulled the charting data from each game to have a look at the defense versus the no huddle last season.
According to our charting data, opposing offenses only ran 43 no huddle plays against the Steelers defense last season with 17 of those plays taking place in the Week 3 game against the Oakland Raiders. Of those 43 plays, 30 of them were pass plays with 18 of them going for completions for 200 yards and one touchdown.
On the 17 running plays ran out of the no huddle against the Steelers defense last season, offenses gained 97 yards with one touchdown. It is important, however, to keep in mind that 64 of those yards and the one touchdown came on the long run by Darren McFadden in the game against the Raiders.
The total yards gained on those 43 plays was 297 for a 6.91 average per play number.
So how many plays was Hampton in for? You might be surprised to know that our data only shows him being on the field for 15 of those 43 plays. 8 of those were pass plays while the other 7 were of course runs. On those 15 plays that Hampton was in the game for, offenses gained 131 yards with 64 of those yards coming on the aforementioned McFadden touchdown run. So essentially, when Hampton was on the field, offenses gained 8.73 yards per play as opposed to 5.93 yards per play when he wasn\’t.
So what about when Steve McLendon was on the field as the nose tackle against the no huddle? That occurred on just 5 plays that went for 42 yards and a touchdown which equates to a 8.4 yards per play average. All 5 of those plays were pass plays, just in case you are curious, and the one touchdown was a 28 yard pass to Anquan Boldin from Joe Flacco.
Will teams run more no huddle against the Steelers defense in 2013 in effort to catch them in their base package more often? I think we can assume that the New England Patriots will try to.
Will having McLendon being the starting nose tackle this year enable the defense to provide more pressure up the middle? It\’s hard to say based on the small sample size of no huddle plays that he was in on last year, but I think this is what the original commenter was trying to suggest. At least now you know the facts and stats from last season as Hampton wasn\’t on the field against the no huddle as often as many thought he was.