Multiple discussions at Extreme Skins going on about the importance of sacks (and pressuring the QB, etc.) on defense. I'm shocked that a discussion is even happening as this has always been such a damn no-brainer. If you can't get after the QB, you can't win games. Here are the Redskins Defenses ranked by sacks over the past five years:
2004 - 40 Sacks 3rd
2002 - 40 Sacks 4th
2005 - 35 Sacks 9th
2003 - 27 Sacks 23rd
2006 - 19 Sacks 31st
That should be telling. Looking for trends around the league, let's compare Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate (which corrects for pass attempts, opponents, down, and distance) and see how that matches up with Overall Defensive Performance:
2006: Baltimore 1st in Adj. Sack Rate, 1st Overall Defense
2005: Jacksonville 1st in Adj. Sack Rate, 6th Overall Defense
2004: Tampa Bay 1st in Adj. Sack Rate, 5th Overall (Redskins were 3rd overall, 2nd in Adj. Sack Rate that year)
2003: Baltimore 1st in Adj. Sack Rate, 4th Overall
2002: Philly 1st in Adj. Sack Rate, 6th Overall
Again, fairly consistent across the board. Over the past 5 years, if you finished the season as the best Sacking defense the worst you could do overall was 6th.
Feel free to provide your own evidence, though I think it's largely a stale point. It's intuitive and obvious that pressuring the opposing QB (and sacking them for a loss) has a severe impact on their ability to move the ball downfield. Right?