Data shows Broncos are NFL’s best pass-rushing team

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Everyone is familiar with the Denver Broncos having arguably the most feared pass-rushing unit in the NFL. Von Miller was perhaps the NFL’s top defensive player in 2016, and his Super Bowl 50 MVP performance was one for the ages.


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DeMarcus Ware was also a force in his three years with the Broncos, and Shane Ray appears to be a star in the making. But do the Broncos have the NFL’s best pass-rushing unit? The answer would be yes, according to NFL.com’s Matt Harmon.

Using data from Next Gen Stats, NFL.com was able to “objectively measure just how far away opposing pass rushers are from the quarterback when they look to deliver their passes,” by using tracking chips in the defenders’ shoulder pads. Here’s how Harmon broke it down:

“On average, their pass rushers are just 2.54 yards away from the quarterback at the time of throw or sack on attempts inside the pocket. That’s a full 0.17 yards closer than the second-place team, the widest gap inside these Top-10 rankings.

Three of their pass rushers — Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and Shane Ray — rank inside the top-six in the Next Gen Stats pressure metric, among edge players with 100-plus pass rush attempts.”

Harmon also noted that getting lockdown help from the No Fly Zone helped contribute to the excellence of their pass rush.

For what it’s worth, the Philadelphia Eagles were second at 2.71. The Minnesota Vikings came in at 2.83. So the Broncos were fairly ahead of the next best teams when it came to rushing the quarterback.

Now, the Broncos biggest pass-rushing challenge is to find a way to produce with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips out.

 

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