If you're a Patriots fan you're probably sick of hearing about their biggest problem being their inability to generate pressure on the quarterback. Many seem to think that all the Patriots need to do is add a Demarcus Ware-type and they'll be back amongst the elite defenses in the NFL.
After some significant research I've found that is actually the opposite of the truth. My findings after the jump...
How many times in the dynastic 00's did a Patriot register more sacks than Tully Banta-Cain had in 2009 (10)? The answer is just once, and that was Mike Vrabel with 12.5 in 2007. Given that teams were often throwing a lot more against the Pats in 2007, trying to dig themselves out of a hole, it's safe to say that Vrabel's total could be called an outlier.
In fact, the Patriots dynasty defenses commonly had sack leaders around 7.5 to 9.5. Here are the total sacks for each Patriots team in past decade, with the leader and his total:
- 2001 - 41 (Super Bowl Champs) Hamilton - 7
- 2002 - 34 (missed playoffs due to tie breaker) Seymour/McGinest - 5.5
- 2003 - 41 (Super Bowl Champs) Vrabel - 9.5
- 2004 - 45 (Super Bowl Champs) McGinest - 9.5
- 2005 - 33 (Lost AFCDG) Colvin - 7.5
- 2006 - 44 (Lost AFCCG) Warren - 7.5
- 2007 - 47 (Lost Super Bowl) Vrabel - 12.5
- 2008 - 31 (Missed playoffs due to tie breaker) Seymour - 8
- 2009 - 31 (Lost AFCWCG) Banta-Cain - 10
In 2004 the top three of the individual sack totals looked like this: 9.5, 5.5, 5. In 2009 the top three looked like this: 10, 5, 5. Notice they're exactly the same total.