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Zooming in on Chicago’s Pass Rush, Part 2: Defensive Ends

| June 11th, 2024

This is the 2nd installment of a 3-part series looking at Chicago’s pass rush from 2023. In part one, we learned that the overall team pass rush was among the worst in the NFL.

Today, we’ll be examining how effectively Chicago’s defensive ends rushed the passer last year.

Overall Efficiency

We’ll start with a season-long look at how Chicago’s main defensive ends performed when rushing the passer. The table below shows a variety of per-snap metrics, including how they ranked compared to the 95 edge rushers league-wide who had at least 200 pass rush snaps. A few quick notes:

  • All data comes from Pro Football Focus (PFF).
  • Data for Montez Sweat is only for the 9 games he played in Chicago.
  • Win rate is the percentage of snaps where PFF determines that the rusher has beaten the blocker at any point in the snap. This is admittedly subjective, and thus should not be used on its own, but can be a helpful part of a larger picture.
  • Pass Rush Productivity is a unique PFF stat that accounts for all sacks, QB hits, and pressures on a per-snap basis, with an added weight given to sacks; a higher value is better.
  • True pass sets look only at plays that do not give offensive linemen a built in advantage: no play action, no screens, and the throw time has to be at least 2 seconds. This lets us see how effectively a player rushes the passer when they most likely know they are getting after the QB, and the offense knows they have to block for a while.
  • Values in the top 25% are highlighted in green, while those in the bottom 25% are highlighted in red.

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Zooming in on the Chicago Edge Rushers: What They Have and What They Need

| February 21st, 2023


In part one, we found that the Bears actually had a respectable pass rush for the first part of the year, but trading Robert Quinn had a profound impact, leaving them with the worst pass rush of any NFL team in the last five years post-trade. Since their pass rush after the trade was so bad, it stands to reason that they need a whole host of new pass rushers. To figure that out a little more clearly, let’s start by looking at who they have returning from last year.

Individual pass rush data is going to come from Pro Football Focus (PFF). They track pressures quite differently than Pro Football Reference, but I think the data is of better quality, so I’m going to use it. PFF doesn’t provide team-wide data, so that is why I used Pro Football Reference data in part one.


What They Have

The Bears had three defensive ends who played meaningful snaps in 2022, and all but the recently cut Al-Quadin Muhammad are under contract for 2023. The table below shows how they performed in a variety of per-snap metrics, including how they ranked compared to the 117 edge rushers league-wide who had at least 150 pass rush snaps. (Side note: Pass Rush Productivity is a unique PFF stat that accounts for all sacks, QB hits, and pressures on a per-snap basis, with an added weight given to sacks; a higher value is better.) Values in the top 25% are highlighted in green, while those in the bottom 25% are highlighted in red.


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