Looking at Trent Cole's stats may surprise some folks. Sure, they knew about the sacks, 90.5 in his career, but the more interesting and likely surprising number rate his run stuffs (70.5). Sure, a tackle for a loss (stuff) is not as glamorous as a quarterback sack but they are still big plays—putting a team behind the sticks matters.
We've posted on this before but sacks, stuffs, touchdown passes are all skewed in some way. With a sack or stuff one guy could cause the play and another can get the tackle for loss (stuff) or the sack. Same with a touchdown pass, a quarterback can throw a shot pass, even a bad pass and a great play by a receiver can take it to the house. You get it.
Stuffs are not as known so folks may not be familiar with what is good and what is not a good number. For a defensive end an excellent year is 10, average maybe 5 or so. Nick Webster's work on this stat gives up parameters to be able to assess what is a good year to a career and 70.5 is a good number, not stellar, not like Bruce Smith's 116 (our high number for a defensive end) but Smith, of course, played 19 seasons—but 70.5 is good, especially for someone who is getting a lot of pressure, i.e. it's hard to do both.
Using Football Outsider's 'hits and hurries" data it's clear that Cole got good pressure on the quarterback and got the sacks and made stuffs. Cole's "peak" was not tremendously long, call it 2006-11 but he was reliable and steady.
Cole was as quick as anyone off the ball and defined the term 'relentless' and bulked up to 270 from his 236-pound weigh-in at his pro day. Speaking of his pro day he ran a 4.7 and a vertical leap of 38, a long jump of just over ten feet and his short shuttle was 4.22 and his three-cone was an impressive 6.98.
So, today we just wanted to remind folks of Trent Cole who went to just two Pro Bowls that he likely deserved a couple more. He was very good and in our view, underrated.
Here is a clip of Cole playing in a likely run situation—
Hesitation swipe of outside arm, then dip to the QB—
An inside spin—