Tackles can sometimes be a misleading stat. You might register a tackle, but it doesn't necessarily mean you have made a play if it is fifteen yards down the field, and the guy has already picked up a first down.
One of the reasons I'm a fan of Pro Football Focus is they come up with stats that contextualize the game and try to provide a clearer picture of the game. Make no mistake. Even these numbers can mislead, but they at least come closer to offering a true picture of what happens on the field. One of their stats that offers context to a tackle is their run stopping stat. They define it as follows.
Stops are what we judge to be tackles that prevent an offensive success (defined as gaining 40% of required yardage on first down, 60% on second down, and the entire required yardage on third or fourth) and making more of them per run defense snap will bump you on this list.
It makes sense. This eliminates the fifteen yards down the field thing and tackles accrued because you've allowed a completion in coverage and tackle the guy.
Why am I bringing this up? One of their stats really caught my eye when it comes to safety play. They have Calvin Pryor tied for fifth in the league with 5 run stops. Pretty good, right? But they've only got him playing 50 run snaps. He's making a run stop on 10% of his snaps. That's fourth best in the league.
Now here's where things get crazy. The other guys who have at least 5 run stops at safety have all lined up in the box on at least 42% of their teams' snaps. Pryor? PFF has him in the box on 16% of the Jets' snaps.
Some stats are open for interpretation. I don't think there's another possible interpretation of these stats other than Pryor has displayed an real nose for the ball and shown great range to get to it. I get the feeling Rex Ryan isn't giving him a diverse set of roles yet because he wants to break the rookie into a complex defense. Sheldon Richardson was the same way last season. This year as he's become more accustomed to the NFL game he's doing more. Pryor might become a lot of fun once Rex starts moving him around on defense and use his range in other ways. A safety can line up almost anywhere.