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Defense Will Decide The Nfc South


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Defense will decide the NFC South

September, 22, 2011

By Pat Yasinskas

An excerpt from the lengthy article as follows:

"Let’s take a look at the candidates.

New Orleans. This is a defense that can go two ways, as evidenced by the Super Bowl championship in the 2009 season and the playoff collapse at Seattle last season. The Saints are never going to be one of those defenses that shuts you down for an entire game.

With Brees, they don’t have to be that type of defense. They just have to be opportunistic like they were in 2009. Coordinator Gregg Williams is an aggressive guy, and he’s going to take chances and call blitzes all season long.

If this defense can just come up with some turnovers at key times and stop a few drives, the Saints could go a long way. But they’ll need the pass rush to force some mistakes so players like Jenkins, linebacker Jonathan Vilma and cornerback Jabari Greer can come up with the big plays.

Atlanta. This is the one defense that I think has the potential to be good all the way around, but it’s not there yet. It’s kind of ironic that coach Mike Smith comes from a defensive background, but hasn’t been able to totally play his kind of defense in his first three seasons.

That could change this year. Abraham still has a little left and he’s starting to get some help from defensive end Ray Edwards, the Falcons’ big acquisition in free agency, and defensive tackle Peria Jerry, who is starting to remind people why he was a first-round pick in 2009.

If defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux can get healthy, the Falcons could have the type of defensive line that allows linebackers Curtis Lofton and Sean Weatherspoon, cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson, and safety William Moore to become playmakers.

Tampa Bay. Like Smith, Raheem Morris comes from a defensive background. Like Smith, his defense is a work in progress. But Tampa Bay’s defense might not be as close to breaking through as Atlanta’s.

The Bucs are incredibly young in the front seven. But there is plenty of potential. Defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers were the team’s first two draft picks this year, and defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price were the top two draft picks last year. The Bucs are starting rookie Mason Foster at middle linebacker and he’s already flashing potential.

It might take the Bucs some time to get this defense going. Then again, Morris and his staff have been known to get quick results from young players. They won 10 games last season when Freeman was in his first full season as a starter.

Carolina. Ron Rivera also has a defensive pedigree, but he’s been dealt a tough hand. Beason and fellow linebacker Thomas Davis are out for the season, and the Panthers started losing defensive tackles in training camp.

But there’s hope because Carolina potentially could have the division’s best pass rush with defensive ends Johnson and Greg Hardy. They could force some turnovers and give Newton some help. A little defensive help is really all that’s needed in the NFC South.

The offenses are going to dominate this division. But one defense is going to decide it. Which one? It’s too early to say. "

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I think ATL's "D" has the potential to be similar to the Ain't (09) "D"...opportunistic.

No way I see our "D" being dominate(3 n out consistently) w/o some girth at the DT position. We can acheive Ain't like "D" from 09 but can we get the "O" consistently is the question. I think we have to push that 30pt mark on "O" to get to a SB...against real p/o competition.

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At least the Saints D has shut down an opponent so far. None of the other 3 have yet. Even with a common opponent. Bears had 246 yards against the Saints, 377 against Atlanta.

those stats may be true, but i feel they are skewed to a certain degree by the two big plays forte and hester had on the falcons D.

The falcons D exhibited very poor tackling techniques on both plays. I wont bother looking up the specific stats for hesters and fortes big plays, but i am thinking they were both at LEAST 70 yards each, and they essentially were both TD plays (hesters potential score was ruled to be otherwise, how i could not figure out for the life of me).

Take away those plays and thats 14 points off the Bears score and around 140 yds off their total offense. I know i am employing the "What if" technique. So, i will concede that also... IF Jay Cutler hadn't airmailed a ball over his receiver/TE (whichever) head when they were in the redzone, that would have been a TD for the bears instead of a FG. But i digress.

I know i am all over the place. So basically... lemme say that the Falcons had a tendency to give up big plays early in last years season (Pit Mendenhall OT run and Hightower 80 yd TD run), but i feel like the D ironed out that wrinkle for most of the remaining season. I feel like the same could be the case this season as well.

/end blah

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Saints also gave up a big play to Forte early, and a bad call (NFL has admitted to the Saints) on 3rd down that disallowed a Saints sack allowed the Bears to gain more yards and score 7 instead of 3.

For all the crap people talk about the Saints D, they woke up last week while the Falcons and Packers D continued to suck.

Edited by Saintdogg
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Funny how he said last week that the Bears were going to win By holding Brees with their vaunted D and Cutler would have success with suspect Saints D........gee that was Epic Fail

Saints D gave up only 49 yards the ENTIRE game, of which 42 was on one play and 7 total the rest of game.

Then he says "the offenses are going to dominate the division"

Well gee, that was a pretty solid 6 points put up by Falcons offense against bears and their D was so bad it left Cutler looking like he was Brees back there!

So basically all it said about falcons is the D has played bad but has "potential" and the Saints D that came off a solid D game against Bears is suspect. Do we have another Pete Prisco in the making!?

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Pat Y knows how to use ironic correctly.

Ironic: something opposite from what is expected, sometimes humorously so.

I was going to put the following post into this thread, but decided to make it into a new topic thread instead. Still, I think it belongs in this thread also:

For the life of me, I don't understand how defense-oriented coaches can play a soft zone, bend but don't break, type of defensive scheme with our existing personnel. Why do teams keep converting third and long and racking-up so many total yards on our defense? Why do we keep using a soft zone scheme, and 3-3-5 formations, and expect to get different results on third and long? I think in virtually all passing situations you should have your 4 best defensive linemen rushing the passer, at a Minimum. I think a 4-2-5 nickle package is much better than the more passive 3-3-5, especially with our personnel.

I've heard it said in the past that Smitty and Van Gorder have not quite had the defensive personnel to play the kind of defense that they would like: tough, aggressive, attacking, good hard-tackling, ie the type of defenses that offenses do not really want to face.

It appears to me that Atlanta now has the personnel for that brand of defense. Once Babs returns, we should have a very good aggressive/attacking type of DL, especially if Jerry keeps progressing as a penetrating disruptive player. I think Edwards is just what was needed to play opposite of Abe. He is beginning to get his game legs back, and already racking-up TFLs. QB pressures and sacks should be forthcoming from Edwards fairly soon. The Beerman, Sid, Walker, and Peters all provide quality rotational depth and needed rest for the starters, so that they can stay aggressive throughout the entire game.

Lofton, Spoon, and NIck are all young LBs with good game speed. They can be disruptive playmakers in their own right. I really liked the move of Spoon to the WLB, and starting Nickolas at SLB. This plays to the players strengths much better than starting Spoon at SLB and Peterson at WLB. I think Peterson can still be effective on a more limited rotational type basis, as he can back-up all three LB positions. Not exactly sure what we have with Dent and Adkins at this point though.

I believe that Hayden and Sanders will be good additions to our secondary. Grimes is turning into a consistent pro-bowl type of CB. Moore should get better with more experience, and he is a good hard hitter, if he gets the proper angle on a ball carrier. DeCoud has good potential as exemplified by his 2009 season. I don't know why he regressed, but the added competition from Sanders might help get him back in the right direction.

Dunta is a physical big-hitter type of CB, who can be disruptive if allowed to play his brand of tough football. I'm not so sure about Owens and Franks, but Walls may have some potential. I think Owens got his confidence shattered last season, and may or may not turn into a player. He did show some promise in his rookie season though. Hopefully, Schillinger will only have to play on special teams, and not any at Safety.

Why not play a little more aggressive tight zone scheme or mix in some man-to man coverages? Why not let Dunta jam receivers at the line of scrimmage sometimes? Why not use more creative and aggressive blitz packages? Sometimes its better to all-out rush 5 or 6 or even 7 at the passer, rather than dropping pass rushing defensive linemen back into coverage in most zone blitz packages. Why in the world is our best pass-rusher Abe dropping back in coverage so often anyway? Add an extra LB and/or DB to the pass rush, in addition to the 4 best pass-rushing linemen. Why not go after them more aggressively, rather than sit back passively waiting on them to come to you?

Even though these guys are pros, better tackling techniques need to be constantly taught and reinforced. If you are afraid to get offensive players hurt in more tackling drills, then let the defensive players tackle one another. I'd like to see better form tackling: where the defensive player sticks his helmet head-up into the midsection of the runner, wraps both arms and hands around his waist, and drives the runner forcibly into the ground. What ever happened to good old classic form tackling?

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So yu don't count them? The falcons defense gave up those big plays.






AWAY ..... 6 IS 6. B)

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At least the Saints D has shut down an opponent so far. None of the other 3 have yet. Even with a common opponent. Bears had 246 yards against the Saints, 377 against Atlanta.

You didn't shut down Green Bay (399 total yards of offense with 5 touchdowns and a 108 yard kick return for a touchdown) so your teams defense needs work as well <_< .

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If Robinson can remember his job is to cover and they stop blowing coverages left and right then this defense has huge potential. It won't shut down anyone in all likelihood but it will generate plenty of turnovers. You could see flashes of that last week but they're not where they need to be yet. Tighten up that coverage and be a bit more aggressive with the play calling and the defense will get its job done.

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