Ok... second thread. I'll try not to ramble so much this time.
As we've all been aware, Willis has not been getting tackles at the rate we are accustomed to. Some have questioned his health, some have questioned his support from the defensive line, others have even been critical of Willis himself.
Whatever the reason for his lack of tackling production is, it seems that he is starting to overcome it. Through the first 6 games of the season he was averaging 7.8 tackles per game. Through the past five games, he has been averaging 9.8 tackles per game. Just to put that into perspective, last season Willis averaged 9.5 tackles per game on the year.
The thing that I find most interesting is that over the last three games Willis has recorded 4 sacks. He currently has 5 sacks in the books. This is an outstanding number for someone playing his role in a defense. Willis is our tackling machine... if you look at the statistics for linebackers around the league, you will notice that those with a high number of tackles rarely have a high number of sacks. Willis is currently ranked 7th overall in tackles for linebackers. The next linebacker on the list with more sacks than Willis right now is James Harrison who is ranked 24th and he has 10 sacks. The next linebacker with more sacks than Willis is Suggs and he is ranked 59th in tackles and has 7.5 sacks.
Now, I know that two of the sacks came against division opponents and we all know the NFC West is the short bus of the NFL. However, Josh Freeman doesn't take a high number of sacks... the guy is mobile and a load to bring down at 6-6 250. Willis sacked him twice.
It's just a trend that I noticed that I thought I'd bring up to see if anyone else thinks Willis is back to form and is also being utilized more in blitz packages. It's just got me all tingly and excited thinking that this trend might continue. If it does... he could end up with some beastly sack numbers to end the season.
It's most likely an anomaly and wont trend, but I can't help myself, so I looked at the numbers and I'll post them if anyone cares. I'm taking this way too far, I know... I'm just hungry for something positive about this team.
Teams After Bye Week With NFL.com Offensive Line Sack Ranking
Huh. Willis had two sacks against the highest ranked team of the bunch. The rest aren't ranked very high, with the exception of Green Bay. Maybe there's a chance the trend continues... in my day dream.
If the trend does continue and he stays on pace with his sack numbers after the bye week, he could end up with 12 sacks. Now, don't go all apes**t on me, I know statistics... I passed the class at a University. It's just fun football statistics, so I don't bother with all the silly real statistical analysis. Hehe....
My point is... I think Willis is back, baby! Better, stronger, faster, meaner... soon to be hairy like a wild man!
So, does anyone else think Willis can continue getting sacks at anywhere near the pace he has been?