Kind of inspired by Mosul's 5 things article today. Love the concept, hate the "fire the defense" vibe. Jeez, New England actually has the worst defense in the league and you don't see their fans demanding they're all fired. Sure, they've had me throwing inanimate objects at the TV on numerous occasions in the last few weeks, but the fact is this group can play better, so lets get behind them
First in Defense of the Secondary, it ...
1) Is missing two of its starters - Chris Clemons and Vontae Davis - half of it basically. And it isn't exactly deep in experience thanks to the powers that be.
2) Is starting some seriously inexperienced players - Reshad Jones & Nolan Carroll have how many starts between them? Hence biting on play fakes from one of the NFL all time greats is somewhat inevitable no??
3) As per most secondaries in the league (see record passing figs through first qtr of season) has suffered from lack of offseason gelling time.
4) Is getting shown up by the failure of the front seven / Mike Nolan's defensive schemes to get a pass rush going.
5) Isn't getting any increased help from the LBs in coverage as it was supposed to. Kevin Burnett has been basically anonymous, Karlos Dansby's had a poor first quarter, and no-one seems to have filled Channing Crowder's role in leadership and identifying what's going on. Say what you like about his coverage skills, and speed, but Crowder was smart and a leader.
6) We're missing two starters ... did I mention that already?
What they can improve:
1) Conditioning - clearly issues with it on Defense. Is that on the athletes themselves? maybe a little. Cramps against the Pats no-huddle were embarrassing.
2) Communication - get some leadership going - find someone who can diagnose these formations and take responsibility for getting the unit's shit together.
3) Get starters back
3a Clemons is the absolute must. Jones doesn't entirely deserve the hard time he's been geting IMO - he's not ready yet period, and he's faced Tom Brady, Matt Schaub & Philip Rivers in four games as part of a depleted unit, he'll improve, but right now we need Clemons back.
3c Get Will Allen in the game. All this youth is great but can we please use Will Allen some more. As noted above we need some Experience out there!!
4) Figure out a way to deal with no-huddle / 2 minute offense. Right now we seem to be sitting ducks every time people wheel it out. Comes back to communication I guess.
5) Find a way to make some turnovers. That 2008 record takeaway ration seems a universe away now but that happened under these coaches! Vince Wilfork has no business having as many interceptions as our entire Defense!
BONUS POINT ... More imaginative blitz schemes - right now everyone is seeing us coming. Blitz whoever you want - but lets get to the QB!!! It's been mentioned that the Jets can get to Brady whereas the fins can't not due to superior talent, but due to the fact that Ryan knows how to disguise coverages. Could just be the difference between a young unit like ours and an battle hardened one like the Jets but surely two weeks is enough time to do SOMETHING about this.
Can't believe the hard time Wake is getting - he's got 3 sacks in 4 games that projects to 12 for the season - could be better but it's not exactly shabby, but there's been no consistency across the unit. We can do it, we done it before. Come on Mike Nolan earn your bread!
There we are - my first fanpost so go easy. You'll gather I'm not on the "Suck for Luck" team wagon, as a fan I want to see some entertaining football out of these guys and some wins this season. Not to say I love this regime - boy they've pulled some strange stuff that didn't look like it was ever gonna work, and lo it hasn't (3 O Linemen out of position, Reggie Bush completely mis-used, Burnett? etc) . Not to say I wouldn't love to see Luck here next year if he really is the next Peyton Manning and not the next Ryan Leaf. But right now I want this group of guys to play up to their potential and to see some entertaining Dolphin football. End of.