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Our Defense Is Not That Bad


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It's early, and I just gave this a quick read (without my glasses on) and a couple of things come to mind. Primarily, the one key that is not factored in here is time of possession. A main reason many of our defensive weaknesses did not look so overwhelming in the statistical category is because of our ball control offense this past season. By having an average ToP of 32:47/game (2nd in the league), we effectively kept the other team's offense off the field for at least 1 sustained drive of 6 or more plays (meaning 3 plays for a 1st down & then 3 plays no 1st down, so between 10 - 19 yards on average), or 2 sets of 3 & outs (between 0 - 18 yards) per game. That alone could easily make up the difference in our defensive statistics between 2009 & 2010. For comparison sake, our 2009 ToP was 29:54, so our offense held the ball almost 3 minutes per game longer in 2010 than they did in 2009.

Looking ahead to 2011, what has been the catch phrase coming out of Flowery Branch all offseason? Get more explosive. To that effect, we draft Julio Jones & Jacquizz Rodgers with 2 of our first 3 picks. We have worked to try and make ourselves more of a quick strike offense. This is likely going to lower our ToP in 2011, which will put the same defense out on the field for extra series each game. So while you are suggesting another small improvement in our stats for next year is in the making, the greater chance is that we're going backwards to where we were in 2009 because our D is going to be out on the field longer and have more plays run against them than they did in 2010.

Great post and this is the danger of a more "explosive" offense in that we must have the defense that can compliment this...like Green Bay!

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How did I jury rig these stats. All I did was post how much the Falcons defense improved from 2009 to 2010 and that if they have the same kind of improvement in 2011 where they would rank using the 2010 rankings. It's not that hard to understand. It's not out of the question to think that they could have that same kind of improvement across the board.

That comment was based on post #8 by Strat. If he is right you jury rigged the stats then made projections off of them. Also you didn't account for the offensive TOP theory that many have referred to. Good try though.

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I think it has more to do with the gameplan and play calling than the players themselves. I really like our starting defense.

I've been thinking it's been the coaches/scheme for a while now.

Except for the 2nd Saints game it seems like we rarely change what we do on a game to game basis.

And we seemed to be lacking fundamental things like how to tackle and taking the wrong angle & over-pursuing/missing on a sack.

I think we need to get back to the fundamentals on defense and I think this could be a make or break season for BVG.

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At the #16 overall ranking, that is the very definition of mediocre .......

true, but we invested heavily in the draft on the defense--now we have to let the chips fall where they may. Keep in mind, there will be a Free Agency period if there is football. Second, and perhaps most important, you build to your strengths, and right now without a doubt Matt Ryan is our strongest piece. Makes sense to give him weapons. Bottom line the way the NFL rules are, an explosive offense and an opportunistic defense is the route to go.

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true, but we invested heavily in the draft on the defense--now we have to let the chips fall where they may. Keep in mind, there will be a Free Agency period if there is football. Second, and perhaps most important, you build to your strengths, and right now without a doubt Matt Ryan is our strongest piece. Makes sense to give him weapons. Bottom line the way the NFL rules are, an explosive offense and an opportunistic defense is the route to go.

I expect even if we go out there with the exact same players as last year, there will be some improvement .our D is young and still jelling ..all these young guys like Beer, Lofton, Spoon, Peters, DeCoud, Moore, etc. are finally getting used to playing with each other ....

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I think the other thing you have to consider is that Van Gorder is learning as well. People want to toss him because he is not an "elite" DC. But could it be considered that he may be become one given time and the horses?

As long as he maintains the fire and is growing into the job I think the continuity is more important than starting over with a new scheme every 2-3 years just cause we don't win the big one. "Buddy Ryans" don't just grow on trees, and Paul Brown, Belichek, Capers....they all started and learned somewhere.

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I expect even if we go out there with the exact same players as last year, there will be some improvement .our D is young and still jelling ..all these young guys like Beer, Lofton, Spoon, Peters, DeCoud, Moore, etc. are finally getting used to playing with each other ....

Agree. If not, then it's time to get a new coordinator. Bottom line, BVG got the guys for his scheme. All are athletic an have high motors--they don't succeed it means either they are miscast in this defense (scheme) or the scheme is ineffective. Either way it falls on his shoulders.

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Agree. If not, then it's time to get a new coordinator. Bottom line, BVG got the guys for his scheme. All are athletic an have high motors--they don't succeed it means either they are miscast in this defense (scheme) or the scheme is ineffective. Either way it falls on his shoulders.

Absolutely, they have brought him scheme specific players since he got here, starting with the purge of Grady Milloy and Brooking, we have added guys that BVG wanted, if the defense regresses this year, BVG's azz is gone IMO ........

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I think the other thing you have to consider is that Van Gorder is learning as well. People want to toss him because he is not an "elite" DC. But could it be considered that he may be become one given time and the horses?

As long as he maintains the fire and is growing into the job I think the continuity is more important than starting over with a new scheme every 2-3 years just cause we don't win the big one. "Buddy Ryans" don't just grow on trees, and Paul Brown, Belichek, Capers....they all started and learned somewhere.

Agree putting in new schemes and coordinators every two years is crazy. But this is the fourth year, and there have been four straight drafts that have brought in "his" players. If he improves this year--great keep him. If not, then I expect to see him gone, as he has the horses, the carriage and it's time to go forward.

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I don't know where you got those stats but Atlanta was #22 against the pass.

They were #22 in 3rd down pct.

they were #22 against the pass.

They were #20 in sacks.

They were #19 in Defensive Passer Rating.

They were #27 in Yds/Play

Those numbers are probably the most important indicators of a defense. The gross defensive numbers (Yds/Game & Pts/Game) can be highly misleading. The numbers I posted are what truly represent how good a defense is. Can they get off the field? Can they stop the pass and get after the QB? Those numbers were what a lot of analysts saw going into the matchup with Green Bay and are why they thought Green Bay was going to win. You can't be a poor defense against the pass and expect to win in the playoffs. The NFL is changing. The biggest indicator of success these days tends to be the Passer Rating differential. Your goal is to have a high passer rating and hold the opposing QB to a lower passer rating. That wins games.

I don't see how anybody can say that the defense isn't bad with a straight face. Aaron Rodgers had a field day with the Falcons defense. The Falcons need to dramatically improve their defense otherwise the more complete teams in the NFC will continue to beat them in the playoffs. As you can see the Falcons gross defense stats are highly misleading and have been masked by a ball control offense. That's why I'm not convinced that the Julio Jones deal was a good idea. The idea is to be more explosive. Well that means quicker scores and leaving the opponent's offense in the field more. In reality, the Falcons have a below average defense. The end result is that they couldn't force Green Bay to even punt. Be real. The Packers quit trying half-way through the 3rd quarter. The game was basically over when they went up 42-14 late in the 3rd quarter. They could have scored 60 points if they wanted to.

While I agree those numbers are important - you have to give some significance to these as well:

#3 in first down % - receivers

#11 in first down % - passer

Looking at this - we were stopping the 1st downs on receptions. The 1st down % in the passer category is based on 1st downs achieved per Attempt and the receiver category is based on 1st downs achieved per completion. That we are 3rd in stopping the 1st down upon completion is not a bad stat at all. I'm looking at secondary achievement for the most part here.

#4 in interceptions

#5 in total points given up

#11 in 3rd percent

#10 in 1st and goal stops

Just looking at those numbers and your numbers - it says we are not getting the initial pass rush we need - and we are playing stop after the catch. You can tell the type of defense we played - the old Bend but don't Break defense we've been playing. Looks like a lot of additional pressure on the secondary to stop the receiver after the catch or break the play up.

It does say as the field shortens - our D tightens up.

I believe if Jerry steps up - we add or develop a stronger pass rush by the front line and stop depending as much on our secondary - our defense will improve.

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I've been watching NFL ball for a long time. Seen every Super Bowl. I have never, ever, seen a team win a Super Bowl with a defense like ours. Never.

That includes the STL, IND and NO championship teams, who were offensive stalwarts like yall are begging for.

The STL defense was one of the best in the league in pretty much all categories. Many don't remember that.

The IND defense was the best in the playoffs by far and finally carried Manning to his only ring.

The NO defense was opportunistic throughout the season and playoffs. They even pick sixed Manning in the Bowl to seal it. They sucked the year before and the year after and didn't sniff a Bowl.

If you want to win a Super Bowl you better play some dam good defense. Trust me.

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I've been watching NFL ball for a long time. Seen every Super Bowl. I have never, ever, ever seen a team win a Super Bowl with a defense like ours. Never.

That includes the IND and NO championship teams, who were offensive stalwarts like yall are begging for.

The IND defense was the best in the playoffs by far and finally carried Manning to his only ring.

The Greg Williams defense was opportunistic throughout the season and playoffs. They even pick sixed Manning in the Bowl to seal it. They sucked the year before and the year after and didn't sniff a Bowl.

If you want to win a Super Bowl you better play some dam good defense. Trust me.

Yea , for sure I trust you on that one .......and we got to start mixing it up with some multiple fronts, our defense is way too predictable, and we are not hard for opposing OC's to game plan for ...

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Our defense was not that bad because TOP by our offense was 2nd in NFL and we have often played from a lead in the MR era. The defense also created a lot of t/o and SPT got better about mid-season with k/o and punt coverage getting better.

We effectively have a bend but don't break "D" and can not generate a consistent pass rush from the front 4 which IMHO is a must for a 4-3 "D". This inconsistency forces BVG to bliz which he does not disguise and the "D" executes marginally. Likewise, it should be disconcerting that in back to back years when BWill goes down so did the "D". That's a huge problem in my book when teams will force you to play a lot of nickel coverage.

Please fans, stop trying to ignore the 800lb gorilla in the room, defense was and still is the achilles heel of the squad.

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Our defense was not that bad because TOP by our offense was 2nd in NFL and we have often played from a lead in the MR era. The defense also created a lot of t/o and SPT got better about mid-season with k/o and punt coverage getting better.

We effectively have a bend but don't break "D" and can not generate a consistent pass rush from the front 4 which IMHO is a must for a 4-3 "D". This inconsistency forces BVG to bliz which he does not disguise and the "D" executes marginally. Likewise, it should be disconcerting that in back to back years when BWill goes down so did the "D". That's a huge problem in my book when teams will force you to play a lot of nickel coverage.

Please fans, stop trying to ignore the 800lb gorilla in the room, defense was and still is the achilles heel of the squad.

Great post, truth right there ....

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I appreciate your enthusiasm and positive attitude OP. I'm a bit more skeptical, but as this is a young and athletic defense in many areas, I am hopeful. I do know this though, we will be tested early. Both the offense and defense better be ready, because the first half of the season on paper looks brutal.

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