We already gushed in season about Noble’s game and demonstrated why he gets to take on the baddest guys on the opposing team. But don’t let that review of one game serve as the pinnacle of Noble’s 2018-19 campaign – that was the level he competed at each and every game.
“He’s our defensive leader back there,” Swarm assistant coach Sean Ferris said. “High I.Q. defender, not the biggest guy, but pound-for-pound the best defender, we think. Jason makes things happen. He’s got the toughest assignment every week.”
At times this year, it felt like Noble had EVERY assignment. The Orangeville, Ontario native shows how quickly the gears are turning in his head whenever he swaps targets, instantly recognizing who needs to be covered.
Noble’s sixth NLL season had plenty in common with his rookie campaign. He posted his lowest points total since then, just recording an assist this season, and his penalty minutes and caused turnovers were also the closest to his rookie tallies.
But the biggest difference between Noble’s rookie and recent seasons is the responsibility he’s garnered during his career and how it affects every Swarm player in the back end.
No Swarm defender played close to as many defensive shifts as the Cornell University grad, who averaged just under 40 defensive shifts per game in 2018-19. He’s the first one out the back door, leading by example night in and night out.
He sets the standard for Swarm defenseman with his relentless style of play and the brains he displays while on the floor, and someway, somehow, Noble keeps improving every season. 2018-19 Jason Noble was arguably better than 2017 NLL Defensive Player of the Year Jason Noble.
That’s a scary thought – but only if you aren’t wearing blue and yellow.
Give Me That Ball
Noble’s aggression was kicked up another level this past season. He finished with 22 caused turnovers, his highest season total since the 24 he had during his rookie season. From 2016-18, Noble averaged 9.3 caused turnovers each season; 2019 saw him more than double that average.
A large part of that was due to Noble’s crazy caused turnover streak during the middle of the season. From the Swarm’s game at Philadelphia on Jan. 12 until the series finale against Rochester on March 15, Noble recorded at least one caused turnover in all 11 games during that span.
The only other NLL player in the 2018-19 season who had a caused turnover streak as long as Noble’s was Tim Edwards of the Colorado Mammoth. The next closest was Saskatchewan’s Kyle Rubisch, who had a 10-game streak.
Consistency is king, and Noble’s quiet consistency every year is why he is and will continue to be one of the NLL’s top defenders.
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