Week 8 of the NFL 2013 season is officially in the rear-view mirror. There are only nine more weeks left to go – about half of the season, minus the playoffs.
With St. Louis Rams having played eight games, we can get a general sense of how well players have performed thus far. Some have outplayed expectations, others have under-performed.
So without further ado, here are the mid-season grades for the Rams' defensive ends:
Chris Long: (21 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF)
Long has had two consecutive seasons of double digit sacks. With 5.5 sacks through eight games, he is on pace for a third.
Long started the first half of the season somewhat slowly – but yet again, it seems like the entire defense got off to a slow start. He started off the season without a sack in the first three games and before the Monday night game against the Seahawks, Long only had 2.5 sacks. He started to heat up in the San Francisco 49ers game, coming up with half a sack then pulling off a sack in the next two games.
Long has had the same rocky start against the run. He has struggled containing the edge. Take the Seattle Seahawks game for example -he was fooled badly and allowed quarterback Russell Wilson a long run.
Pro Football Focus has given Chris Long an overall grade of -0.5. Against the run, PFF gave him a -1.1 grade, which is acceptable. His pass rush grade of 3.3 is also understandable, given that his QB pressure stats are low by his standards – only the QB hits and 14 QB hurries so far.
My Grade: Chris has been stuffed at the line by opposing lineman this year. He has missed a couple sack opportunities and also needs to play the run better. But, Long has been upping his playing level in recent weeks.
Robert Quinn: (24 tackles, 10 sacks, 4 FF)
Quinn is a beast. When Long has whiffed at a sack, Robert has been there to pick up the scraps quickly. He already has 10 sacks for the season, giving him two straight years with sack totals in the double digits. His QB pressure stats are through the charts. He as 13 QB hits and 21 hurries. His pass rushing grade from PFF is 26.6, the highest out of all 4-3 DEs.
Quinn also shed the "liability against the run" tag he used to hold in the previous seasons. PFF has graded him at 5.3 against the run. That is pretty legit.
Overall, PFF gave Quinn a rating of 32.1. Insane!
My Grade: Quinn has proven he is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. His beefed up defense against the run is an added bonus, rounding out his overall game. I would give him an A+, but I'll give him a little more room for improvement.
William Hayes: (11 tackles, 2 sacks)
Hayes his as solid of a rotational D-end as there is. PFF has Hayes at an overall grade of 5.2, 2.3 against the run, and a pass rush grade of 2.0. Consider the rash of penalties the Rams have piled up and the fact that Hayes has not been called for a flag. That's a fucking miracle.
My Grade: Hayes has done his job. He is solid in pass rush and on run defense. What more can ask for from your third DE?
Eugene Sims: (17 tackles, 1 sacks)
Hayes is the solid, "overall" backup, whereas Eugene Sims is the prototypical run specialist. PFF gave him a 4.1 grade versus the run. Eugene's weakness comes on passing downs where he graded out at -5.9. Sims' overall grade is -2.0.
My Grade: He is a "run stuffer" and he does his job pretty well. You can't ask for more.
So, do y'all agree with the assessment of the DEs? Would y'all give 'em different grades. Go at it on the comments section.