What’s more important to a defense? Stopping the run or rushing the passer?

March 27th, 2014 - 9:30 am

Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh, following the Bears’ signing of defensive end Jared Allen, wrote:

“Bringing Allen aboard tied all the other moves together because, in the NFL, nothing else matters to a defense if it cannot sack the quarterback. Not even stopping the run. Forcing third-and-longs means little if a rush cannot pressure the quarterback and get off the field. The Bears now can because of Allen, a five-time Pro Bowl player.”

Incorrect. Stopping the run is the first and foremost duty of a defense.

Because: if you can’t stop the run, the quarterback never has to pass, thus, your awesome pass rush will never get a chance to do its job.

But, if you’re able to stop the run, there’s always a chance the quarterback throws an interception or an incompletion, even if your pass rush is bad and never pressures him.

Both are important, obviously, and to win in the NFL you need to stop the run and pressure the quarterback. But let’s not forget which one is more important.