The goal of a defense is to stop the opposing team from advancing the ball, and ultimately from scoring.
While the job of stopping the offense rests on the defense as a whole, it is up to specific individuals to make tackles on players.
As is the case in all walks of life, some are better at it than others.
Footballoutsiders.com took the time to calculate the number of tackles on passing plays as well as the number of “stops” for players during the 2010 season.
For those unaware, Football Outsiders defines a stop as:
The total number of plays by a defensive player that prevent a successful play by the offense, defined as 45% of needed yards on first down, 60% of needed yards on second down, and 100% of needed yards on third or fourth down. In general, “plays” refers to tackles, passes defensed, fumbles forced, or interceptions. The exception is when discussing pass defense data from the FO game charting project, in which case “plays” refers to all charted passes with the given player as the listed defender.
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Michael Adams finished the year with a 47-percent stop rate, which ranked second among corners in the NFL last season.
Safety Adrian Wilson and linebacker Paris Lenon were also among the league leaders at their respective positions.
Wilson was tenth among all safeties, while Lenon was second among linebackers in the NFL and first among NFC linebackers.