Take a bow: Justin Smith, Bradley Fletcher

June, 9, 2011
6/09/11
4:45
PM ET
Five NFC West-related notes after checking out Football Outsiders' stats for broken tackles allowed during the 2010 season:
  • Arizona Cardinals players totaled a league-high 51 broken tackles allowed on the list showing only those defenders with at least 10 broken tackles allowed during the season. Adrian Wilson (16), Paris Lenon (14), Kerry Rhodes (11) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (10) are on the list. Tennessee was second with 45, followed by Houston (24) and then Seattle (23). Others teams could have had more broken tackles allowed overall. These totals reflect only players with at least 10 during the season. The Cardinals' new defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, has some work to do in tightening up tackling and in the secondary in particular.
  • Linebackers Lofa Tatupu (12) and David Hawthorne (11) made the list for the Seattle Seahawks, with cornerback Shawntae Spencer (11) the only San Francisco 49ers representative. Spencer had the second-highest percentage of broken tackles allowed (22.0) among the 28 players in the league with at least 10.
  • The St. Louis Rams had only one of their players show up on the various overall and positional lists. That was defensive end Chris Long, who was blamed for six broken tackles allowed, tied for most among defensive linemen. I've never considered Long to be a poor tackler. Something to follow up with him about this offseason.
  • Rams cornerback Bradley Fletcher topped the list for lowest broken tackle rate for defensive backs (1.5 percent). Former Cardinals cornerback Bryant McFadden also ranked among the surest tackling cornerbacks. Rodgers-Cromartie had the highest rate (18.9), while his former teammate, Aaron Francisco, was second at 17.6 percent.
  • The 49ers' Justin Smith was one of five defensive linemen in the NFL with at least 40 tackles and no broken tackles allowed. Anyone familiar with the 49ers' defense will not be surprised. Smith is an exceptional player.

These sorts of statistics can be valuable as motivating factors for players uncomfortable seeing their names listed in a negative light. Some of the players in question were suffering through injuries that could have affected their ability to finish tackles. Wilson and Tatupu come to mind. Both underwent surgeries this offseason.

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