The Redskins have been full of surprises through the first eight weeks of the 2018 season. Adrian Peterson went from the unemployment line to the penthouse, and a Redskins run defense that ranked last in yards allowed in 2017 is now amongst the league's stingiest units.
Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen have been drawing plenty of attention to the Redskins' front line, perhaps overshadowing Matt Ioannidis' output.
But if you think what he's doing is a surprise, think again.
"It doesn't surprise me. I know it surprises a lot of people, but he's a good player."
That's what Jay Gruden told JP Finlay on the Redskins Talk podcast when Finlay asked the head coach what to make of the fact that Ioannidis leads the Redskins in sacks so far in 2018. Gruden also called himself a "firm believer" in No. 98's ability and labeled Ioannidis as both "very strong" and "tenacious."
But while Gruden has had the chance to oversee the defensive tackle's work and growth the past few years, Ioannidis' explosion onto the scene last season and this one is equal parts startling and impressive.
Let's make you even more impressed, though. Here are three numbers that should accomplish that.
In 2018, Ioannidis has been in on 230 snaps for the Redskins defense, which is just over half of the total action. He's generated 5.5 sacks on those 230 snaps.
So, that means the third-year player drops a QB once every 41.8 snaps. That number is actually better than the one posted by these top sack-getters around the league (Donald currently leads the NFL in sacks, while the rest are tied for second):
Aaron Donald: 424 snaps/10 snaps/sack every 42.4 snaps
Von Miller: 408 snaps/8 sacks/sack every 51 snaps
Jason Pierre-Paul: 429 snaps/8 sacks/sack every 53.62 snaps
Danielle Hunter: 442 snaps/8 sacks/sack every 55.25 snaps
Dee Ford: 467 snaps/8 sacks/sack every 58.38 snaps
JJ Watt: 484 snaps/8 sacks/sack every 60.5 snaps
Myles Garrett: 566 snaps/8 sacks/sack every 70.75 snaps
Ioannidis isn't too heavily involved in Washington's nickel defense, which is why his snap count is lower than the players listed above.
But when it comes to sacks-per-snap, none of those elite guys can match him. On a per-play basis, he's been more productive than Aaron Donald, Von Miller and JJ Watt — stars who are regarded as some of the most feared defenders of this decade.
In the 2016 NFL Draft, 14 defensive ends and 20 defensive tackles went before the 'Skins selected Ioannidis.
The 152nd overall choice was the 35th defensive lineman off the board that April.
While Scot McCloughan may not have been the flawless football mind many fans were hoping he'd be, finding the Temple product in the back-half of that draft should be regarded as one of his smarter moves.
In 44 games in college, Ioannidis compiled 10 sacks.
In 31 games in the NFL, he has the same number.
This just in: It's more difficult to get to the passer in pro football than it is against East Carolina and Houston.
"He is at his best as a block-eating two-gap player who can anchor against the run and who can generate decent push in the pocket when called on as a pass rusher," NFL.com wrote in its profile of him as he was coming out of school.
One reason why he's creating more than that "decent" push with the Redskins and is more of a factor in opposing backfields now than he was at Temple? Jim Tomsula. The guru whom Jonathan Allen called the best coach he's ever had has no doubt shaped Ioannidis into the stud he's becoming.
But don't sleep on Ioannidis' raw skill set, either. After all, we are talking about a guy who forced Aaron Rodgers to the turf using one of Rodgers' own teammates earlier this year.
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