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Wake Dominates Joey Porter as a Pass Rusher

February 3, 2010

By Tim Graham

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Joey Porter contends he’s unquestionably the best outside linebacker on the Miami Dolphins‘ roster.

That might be true.

But when it purely came to generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks, Cameron Wake blew Porter away.

Wake

Porter

That’s what data compiled by the analysts at ProFootballFocus.com shows. Wake was a dominant pass rusher, ranking among the NFL’s elite, right there with Dwight Freeney.

Porter on Tuesday criticized the Dolphins for giving too many of his snaps to Wake, but the numbers indicate coach Tony Sparano was plenty justified.

ProFootballFocus.com breaks down game film and calculates various stats to evaluate the otherwise unquantifiable. One of its stats is called “pass rushing productivity,” a measurement of the three main quarterback-chasing elements: sacks, hits and pressures.

The equation adds all three and divides by the player’s number of pass-rush snaps to come up with a PRP rating. ProFootballFocus.com credits half sacks as full sacks to not penalize a player for reaching the quarterback at the same time as a teammate. Hits and pressures are assigned a value of .75 apiece.

Now that we’ve gotten the math out of the way, let’s take a look at how Wake and Porter compare.

For ranking purposes, Neil Hornsby and Sam Monson of ProFootballFocus.com explain they consider Wake a 4-3 defensive end based on how the Dolphins used him. Wake dropped into pass coverage three times all season.

Among similar players, Wake ranked fourth in the NFL with a 24.5 PRP rating. Who were the players ahead of him? Indianapolis Colts defensive ends Freeney and Robert Mathis and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Trent Cole. All of them were Pro Bowlers.

Wake’s PRP rating was nearly triple that of his closest teammate, defensive end Randy Starks with an 8.3.

Admittedly, it’s difficult to compare Wake and Porter straight up. Porter is considered a 3-4 outside linebacker because he played against the run and would drop into pass coverage.

But that’s the beauty of PRP rating. It measures only snaps in which the defender rushes the quarterback.

ProFootballFocus.com credited Wake with 20 pressures, six hits and seven sacks (5.5 actual sacks) on only 134 rushes.

Porter tallied 11 pressures, five hits and nine sacks (nine actual) on 354 rushes.

Porter had a minus-6.8 PRP, dead last on the team.

For the record, Jason Taylor was fourth on the Dolphins with a 4.3 PRP rating. Kendall Langford ranked third at 7.6.

“As it turns out Wake was actually generating more pressure, period, than Porter, let alone on a per-snap basis,” Monson said. “Given all those numbers, someone might want to suggest to Porter he watch the tape and think himself lucky he wasn’t losing more snaps to Wake.”

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