The Oakland Raiders' Lamarr Houston had an amazing rookie season. The guy is a stud. He outperformed expectations in every way. Well, every way except one: tackling. He made plenty of plays, and he put himself in position to make plays. Just a couple weeks ago we talked about Houston leading all defensive linemen in run stop rate.
However, when he does get in position he needs to do a better job of finishing. Football Outsiders did an amazingly thorough study of tackling. They rated every defensive player on the amount of broken tackles he allows. They defined a broken tackle as:
...either the ballcarrier escapes from the grasp of the defender, or the defender is in good position for a tackle but the ballcarrier jukes him out of his shoes. If the ballcarrier sped by a slow defender who dived and missed, that didn't count as a broken tackle. We only measured broken tackles for standard plays.
There were no Raiders' linebackers or defensive backs that qualified for their best or worst tackling lists. They didn't publish the list for defensive linemen since they don't make nearly as many plays on the ball, but they did share this:
That's right. Lamarr and Son of Howie had the most missed tackles. I wouldn't read too much into this, other than Lamarr Houston needs to continue to work on the fundamentals of tackling. But in the end we are only talking about six plays over the course of an entire season. Given that Houston had to adjust to playing in more space on the outside of the line, and his god given abilities, I have every expectations this will improve.