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 How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It? 
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Post How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
This is the *only* question going into the off season IMO. The offense is fine. Mayhew should grab a few young lineman in the later rounds or FA for the purpose of the future, but with Stafford showing so much improvement over the course of the season, the Lions O should be scary-good if Best and Leshoure are healthy.

So how bad is the D? The last two games, they might as well have not played at all they were that bad. Still, their performances should be kept in perspective: they were playing the best two offenses in the league, and playing them away.

Clearly, though, they must be improved. If you can't force a single punt in the playoffs, you aren't going to the Superbowl--and that's the goal. I think the back seven is where the improvement needs to come, and I don't think anyone's job should be safe in that crew.

As for Gunther, altogether not very impressed. He can't be blamed for missed tackles, but there were plenty of times receivers were completely open in that Saints game--and that's on him.

Still, the players seem to love the guy, and an abrupt firing could backfire in terms of morale. At the same time, the offense is going to get disheartened if the D can't keep up their side of the equation.


January 9th, 2012, 8:38 pm
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
Well, back when we ran the run and shoot, our offense was the best in the league. But, our defense was found to be lacking. How did we fix the defense then? We changed the offense. But, that was Wayne Fontes's idea of how to fix it. LOL. It didn't work.

But, I agree with you.

Priority #1 should be to work out a long term deal with Calvin that pays him big money in as cap friendly a way as possible. ( We just have to get him cheap for next year. The Cap is going to explode by the 2013 season. So, his bigger cap hits will be covered by an expanded cap.)

Priority #2 Sign Avril long term. ( Ditto the note in parenthesis above. )

We might be forced to sit out Free Agency due to cap issues.

Draft defensive back 7 players in each of the first 3 rounds.
Draft depth/OL with our last 3 picks.

Take a paper grocery bag.
Fill it with cow manure.
Set it on the doorstep of the KC Chiefs.
Light it on fire.
Ring the doorbell.
Run.


January 9th, 2012, 9:04 pm
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
BillySims wrote:
Well, back when we ran the run and shoot, our offense was the best in the league. But, our defense was found to be lacking. How did we fix the defense then? We changed the offense. But, that was Wayne Fontes's idea of how to fix it. LOL. It didn't work.

But, I agree with you.

Priority #1 should be to work out a long term deal with Calvin that pays him big money in as cap friendly a way as possible. ( We just have to get him cheap for next year. The Cap is going to explode by the 2013 season. So, his bigger cap hits will be covered by an expanded cap.)

Priority #2 Sign Avril long term. ( Ditto the note in parenthesis above. )

We might be forced to sit out Free Agency due to cap issues.

Draft defensive back 7 players in each of the first 3 rounds.
Draft depth/OL with our last 3 picks.

Take a paper grocery bag.
Fill it with cow manure.
Set it on the doorstep of the KC Chiefs.
Light it on fire.
Ring the doorbell.
Run
.



You're all wrong on that one BillySims. THAT is priority #1!

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January 9th, 2012, 10:16 pm
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
BillySims wrote:
Well, back when we ran the run and shoot, our offense was the best in the league. But, our defense was found to be lacking. How did we fix the defense then? We changed the offense. But, that was Wayne Fontes's idea of how to fix it. LOL. It didn't work.

But, I agree with you.

Priority #1 should be to work out a long term deal with Calvin that pays him big money in as cap friendly a way as possible. ( We just have to get him cheap for next year. The Cap is going to explode by the 2013 season. So, his bigger cap hits will be covered by an expanded cap.)

Priority #2 Sign Avril long term. ( Ditto the note in parenthesis above. )

We might be forced to sit out Free Agency due to cap issues.

Draft defensive back 7 players in each of the first 3 rounds.
Draft depth/OL with our last 3 picks.

Take a paper grocery bag.
Fill it with cow manure.
Set it on the doorstep of the KC Chiefs.
Light it on fire.
Ring the doorbell.
Run.


+1

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January 10th, 2012, 1:02 am
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
BillySims wrote:
Well, back when we ran the run and shoot, our offense was the best in the league. But, our defense was found to be lacking. How did we fix the defense then? We changed the offense. But, that was Wayne Fontes's idea of how to fix it. LOL. It didn't work.

But, I agree with you.

Priority #1 should be to work out a long term deal with Calvin that pays him big money in as cap friendly a way as possible. ( We just have to get him cheap for next year. The Cap is going to explode by the 2013 season. So, his bigger cap hits will be covered by an expanded cap.)

Priority #2 Sign Avril long term. ( Ditto the note in parenthesis above. )

We might be forced to sit out Free Agency due to cap issues.

Draft defensive back 7 players in each of the first 3 rounds.
Draft depth/OL with our last 3 picks.

Take a paper grocery bag.
Fill it with cow manure.
Set it on the doorstep of the KC Chiefs.
Light it on fire.
Ring the doorbell.
Run.


First, our offense was never the "best in the league". I think there was one year when we scored the most points, but with guys like Mitchell, Peete, and Ware leading the team we were certainly never the "best". Perhaps you have forgot about teams like the 49ers, or Cowboys, or Bills, or well you get the picture.

Secondly, defense was a hell of a lot more important to the game 15-20 years ago than it is today. In fact, the worst ranked defenses in each conference also happen to be the top seeds (GB #31 and NE #32).

Defense wins championships, not anymore. Offense (and more specifically Quarterbacks) win championships.

I do see the Lions addressing the defense but think any sort of draft strategy like drafting back 7 with the first 3 picks is too simplistic not knowing how the draft will unfold or the value that will present itself then. I think the Lions also have to really access their defensive schemes and make sure they have the right players to pull them off.

If the Lions find themselves sitting at pick #23 and the best value is along the OL or at DE I fully expect Mayhew to stick to his BPA approach. FA is also going to be a big factor by both what they do and don't do. But I also don't think Mayhew see's the draft as the end of the process as most fans do, he will look to add players in camp, etc.

It was a fun and surprising year, should be a fun and surprising offseason.

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January 10th, 2012, 1:29 am
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
Pablo wrote:
BillySims wrote:
Well, back when we ran the run and shoot, our offense was the best in the league. But, our defense was found to be lacking. How did we fix the defense then? We changed the offense. But, that was Wayne Fontes's idea of how to fix it. LOL. It didn't work.

But, I agree with you.

Priority #1 should be to work out a long term deal with Calvin that pays him big money in as cap friendly a way as possible. ( We just have to get him cheap for next year. The Cap is going to explode by the 2013 season. So, his bigger cap hits will be covered by an expanded cap.)

Priority #2 Sign Avril long term. ( Ditto the note in parenthesis above. )

We might be forced to sit out Free Agency due to cap issues.

Draft defensive back 7 players in each of the first 3 rounds.
Draft depth/OL with our last 3 picks.

Take a paper grocery bag.
Fill it with cow manure.
Set it on the doorstep of the KC Chiefs.
Light it on fire.
Ring the doorbell.
Run.


First, our offense was never the "best in the league". I think there was one year when we scored the most points, but with guys like Mitchell, Peete, and Ware leading the team we were certainly never the "best". Perhaps you have forgot about teams like the 49ers, or Cowboys, or Bills, or well you get the picture.

Secondly, defense was a hell of a lot more important to the game 15-20 years ago than it is today. In fact, the worst ranked defenses in each conference also happen to be the top seeds (GB #31 and NE #32).

Defense wins championships, not anymore. Offense (and more specifically Quarterbacks) win championships.

I do see the Lions addressing the defense but think any sort of draft strategy like drafting back 7 with the first 3 picks is too simplistic not knowing how the draft will unfold or the value that will present itself then. I think the Lions also have to really access their defensive schemes and make sure they have the right players to pull them off.

If the Lions find themselves sitting at pick #23 and the best value is along the OL or at DE I fully expect Mayhew to stick to his BPA approach. FA is also going to be a big factor by both what they do and don't do. But I also don't think Mayhew see's the draft as the end of the process as most fans do, he will look to add players in camp, etc.

It was a fun and surprising year, should be a fun and surprising offseason.


last 10 sb winners.....Defensive rank in the regular season...Defensive Rank Postseason
(just going from yards allowed and takeaways from what i can see according to NFL.COM Team Stats)
Packers...6th...4th
Saints...20th...4th
Steelers...1st...3rd
Giants...11th...2nd
Colts...20th...1st
Steelers...5th...1st
Patriots...6th...3rd
Patriots...2nd...4th
Bucs...1st...1st
Patriots...18th...8th

Now I know this is just eyeballing the stats but come on you cannot say that defense does not win championships...only one of the superbowl winners was higher than fourth in defense.

I do agree the qb position is very important if you go by this list cause your looking at all the usual suspects...Brees, Brady, Ben, Manning, Manning, Rodgers, Johnson. All very good qbs the only skeptic is Brad johnson but with that defense that year they were not gonna be stopped. A team like the Ravens this year could win the superbowl...good defense...and they can run the ball to control the clock. A team like the niners have a great defense and run the ball. The giants play good defense, run the ball, and Eli has weapons he can throw to. Eli didn't just beat the falcons...Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and their defense did. Tebow didnt put away the steelers, their defense did. T.J. Yates didnt beat the bengals, the defense and foster did. Get the picture. 3 out the 4 games this weekend were won with defense not offense. The saints are the only ones who annihilated their opponent this weekend with offense. The Patriots and Packers have elite offenses but in the playoffs (Expecially because the playoffs are going through New England and Green Bay) its gonna be cold you need to hit hard and run even harder. If theres 4 inches of snow on the field at lambeau when its 20 degrees outside would I take the Giants or Packers....Giants for sure because they will be able to contol the game. lol this became a long rant.

I just believe that if you wanna make it in the playoffs you will run into a team that wont let you put up 600 yards of offense on them and they will win the time of possession battle. Still think the giants and baltimore have the best shot at winnin the sb. just my opinion.

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January 10th, 2012, 3:14 am
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
Pablo wrote:
BillySims wrote:
Well, back when we ran the run and shoot, our offense was the best in the league. But, our defense was found to be lacking. How did we fix the defense then? We changed the offense. But, that was Wayne Fontes's idea of how to fix it. LOL. It didn't work.

But, I agree with you.

Priority #1 should be to work out a long term deal with Calvin that pays him big money in as cap friendly a way as possible. ( We just have to get him cheap for next year. The Cap is going to explode by the 2013 season. So, his bigger cap hits will be covered by an expanded cap.)

Priority #2 Sign Avril long term. ( Ditto the note in parenthesis above. )

We might be forced to sit out Free Agency due to cap issues.

Draft defensive back 7 players in each of the first 3 rounds.
Draft depth/OL with our last 3 picks.

Take a paper grocery bag.
Fill it with cow manure.
Set it on the doorstep of the KC Chiefs.
Light it on fire.
Ring the doorbell.
Run.


First, our offense was never the "best in the league". I think there was one year when we scored the most points, but with guys like Mitchell, Peete, and Ware leading the team we were certainly never the "best". Perhaps you have forgot about teams like the 49ers, or Cowboys, or Bills, or well you get the picture.

Secondly, defense was a hell of a lot more important to the game 15-20 years ago than it is today. In fact, the worst ranked defenses in each conference also happen to be the top seeds (GB #31 and NE #32).

Defense wins championships, not anymore. Offense (and more specifically Quarterbacks) win championships.

I do see the Lions addressing the defense but think any sort of draft strategy like drafting back 7 with the first 3 picks is too simplistic not knowing how the draft will unfold or the value that will present itself then. I think the Lions also have to really access their defensive schemes and make sure they have the right players to pull them off.

If the Lions find themselves sitting at pick #23 and the best value is along the OL or at DE I fully expect Mayhew to stick to his BPA approach. FA is also going to be a big factor by both what they do and don't do. But I also don't think Mayhew see's the draft as the end of the process as most fans do, he will look to add players in camp, etc.

It was a fun and surprising year, should be a fun and surprising offseason.

I agree with you completely Pablo. I think the success of the Packers, Saints, Giants and the Patriots this season has shown that you can be succesful whilst having a defense that gives up significant yards.

The Lions are in the fortunate position of having the essential ingredient for success in the NFL sorted - a killer passing game, behind a franchise QB supported by one superb WR and a bunch of other threats (Young, Pettigrew, Burleson etc). Whilst the last 2 games will have many fans screaming for defense, defense, defense in FA and the draft, I think Mayhew will realise that in today's NFL he is in the enviable position of being able to remain flexible on where he chooses to upgrade this team.

There will be no need to reach for defensive players in the draft, if the BPA that falls to us is an offensive player I expect we will be happy to take them. There will be no need to overpay defensive free agents out there through desperation to upgrade our defense, we can afford to take the players who are offering us the best bang for the buck regardless of what side of the ball they are on.

This doesn't mean I don't expect us to upgrade the defense - and if the stars align and the best FAs available to us and the BPAs in the draft that fall to us are on defense, we could well see a very defense biased off season for the Lions.

I do think, though, that upgrading just about any position group on this team can be a succesful strategy for the Lions - so I expect Mayhew to continue with the type of approach to FA and the draft that has seen this team improve every year under his tenure.


January 10th, 2012, 6:20 am
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
UK Lion wrote:
Pablo wrote:
BillySims wrote:
Well, back when we ran the run and shoot, our offense was the best in the league. But, our defense was found to be lacking. How did we fix the defense then? We changed the offense. But, that was Wayne Fontes's idea of how to fix it. LOL. It didn't work.

But, I agree with you.

Priority #1 should be to work out a long term deal with Calvin that pays him big money in as cap friendly a way as possible. ( We just have to get him cheap for next year. The Cap is going to explode by the 2013 season. So, his bigger cap hits will be covered by an expanded cap.)

Priority #2 Sign Avril long term. ( Ditto the note in parenthesis above. )

We might be forced to sit out Free Agency due to cap issues.

Draft defensive back 7 players in each of the first 3 rounds.
Draft depth/OL with our last 3 picks.

Take a paper grocery bag.
Fill it with cow manure.
Set it on the doorstep of the KC Chiefs.
Light it on fire.
Ring the doorbell.
Run.


First, our offense was never the "best in the league". I think there was one year when we scored the most points, but with guys like Mitchell, Peete, and Ware leading the team we were certainly never the "best". Perhaps you have forgot about teams like the 49ers, or Cowboys, or Bills, or well you get the picture.

Secondly, defense was a hell of a lot more important to the game 15-20 years ago than it is today. In fact, the worst ranked defenses in each conference also happen to be the top seeds (GB #31 and NE #32).

Defense wins championships, not anymore. Offense (and more specifically Quarterbacks) win championships.

I do see the Lions addressing the defense but think any sort of draft strategy like drafting back 7 with the first 3 picks is too simplistic not knowing how the draft will unfold or the value that will present itself then. I think the Lions also have to really access their defensive schemes and make sure they have the right players to pull them off.

If the Lions find themselves sitting at pick #23 and the best value is along the OL or at DE I fully expect Mayhew to stick to his BPA approach. FA is also going to be a big factor by both what they do and don't do. But I also don't think Mayhew see's the draft as the end of the process as most fans do, he will look to add players in camp, etc.

It was a fun and surprising year, should be a fun and surprising offseason.

I agree with you completely Pablo. I think the success of the Packers, Saints, Giants and the Patriots this season has shown that you can be succesful whilst having a defense that gives up significant yards.

The Lions are in the fortunate position of having the essential ingredient for success in the NFL sorted - a killer passing game, behind a franchise QB supported by one superb WR and a bunch of other threats (Young, Pettigrew, Burleson etc). Whilst the last 2 games will have many fans screaming for defense, defense, defense in FA and the draft, I think Mayhew will realise that in today's NFL he is in the enviable position of being able to remain flexible on where he chooses to upgrade this team.

There will be no need to reach for defensive players in the draft, if the BPA that falls to us is an offensive player I expect we will be happy to take them. There will be no need to overpay defensive free agents out there through desperation to upgrade our defense, we can afford to take the players who are offering us the best bang for the buck regardless of what side of the ball they are on.

This doesn't mean I don't expect us to upgrade the defense - and if the stars align and the best FAs available to us and the BPAs in the draft that fall to us are on defense, we could well see a very defense biased off season for the Lions.

I do think, though, that upgrading just about any position group on this team can be a succesful strategy for the Lions - so I expect Mayhew to continue with the type of approach to FA and the draft that has seen this team improve every year under his tenure.


Agree with Pablo and UK somewhat on Mayhew. Believe he will look to add a few mid-level FA's to plug holes and eliminate what he thinks are needs, prior to the draft, thereby making draft day a time to add talent and depth without specific positions in mind.


January 10th, 2012, 9:12 am
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
I think when we're full strength our back seven can be pretty good. Our d-line can be dominant, but Suh has to learn how to better channel his aggressiveness and not try to do too much.

Depth, however, is a major concern. It seems like in those home losses Bobby Carpenter was always involved somehow. I liked Alphonso but he's been exposed and embarrassed too many times.

Here's my controversial take on Avril: I think, in the end, we're going to have to let him walk. He's probably going to want too much and we have other priorities like re-signing Calvin and shoring up the rest of the defense and the o-line. I think you look at Turk last year and Willie this year--we obviously have a knack for developing d-lineman; I'm confident other people will step up and mid-way through next season Cliff will be an afterthought.

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January 10th, 2012, 9:36 am
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
I think somebody posted a KEY STAT, and that was takeaways. Early in the season we were blowing people up with our take aways, and that had our defense riding pretty high. But if one of you football geniuses would be so gracious as to see what the last 2/3 of our season looked like in take aways, we may find the culprit, or a contributor. Saturday's game alone had two missed take aways, and one that didn't allow us to get points.

I may not know what I'm talking about but it seemed that our numbers dropped significantly in this area. Also keep in mind that living out of state and out of market I didn't get to see or hear most games so I don't know what happened.

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January 10th, 2012, 9:39 am
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
WarEr4Christ wrote:
I think somebody posted a KEY STAT, and that was takeaways. Early in the season we were blowing people up with our take aways, and that had our defense riding pretty high. But if one of you football geniuses would be so gracious as to see what the last 2/3 of our season looked like in take aways, we may find the culprit, or a contributor. Saturday's game alone had two missed take aways, and one that didn't allow us to get points.

I may not know what I'm talking about but it seemed that our numbers dropped significantly in this area. Also keep in mind that living out of state and out of market I didn't get to see or hear most games so I don't know what happened.


Nope--as Schwartz said in his end of the season presser yesterday, getting takeaways is something we kept doing even when injuries caused a dip in most of our other stats.

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January 10th, 2012, 9:57 am
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
I don't think the defense has to be "fixed", but it could definitely use an upgrade. Much like the offensive line needs time to mesh to become of more effective unit, so too does that apply to a linebacking corps or a safety pair, etc. They need to know and trust each other. With new faces being something of a constant in Detroit the past few seasons, that hasn't happened.

First off, I think Gunner and Schwartz need to be more flexible in their approach to the game. There were moments when blitzing a little more often would have, in my opinion, been more effective than rushing four and dropping seven. Also, I think the Lions front should run a few more stunts. You hardly ever see that happening, but when it is done against the Lions that's when opposing teams were successful rushing their front four. Jared Allen, in their first game against Detroit, got two sacks for the Vikings coming off a twist with Letroy Guoin taking out the guard and tackle. He simply looped around and had a clear path to Stafford. Some wrinkles like that would help. That Wide 9 technique is OK, but not 100% of the time.

Secondly, the Lions have to stop "marketing" some of their defensive players, like Louis Delmas, as being all that and a bag of chips. He's not, and the playoff game showed just how incomplete a player he really is. Spievey is likewise a less than stellar player at safety. While some point at the cornerback position and feel that is where the upgrades are needed, I completely and utterly disagree. Houston and Wright were very good in coverage. Perfect? No, but much better than our safeties. It was when the safeties were expect to cover the middle zone, or over the top on outside receivers that we got in trouble.

The defense can use some personnel upgrades at linebacker as well. Durant, Levy and Tulloch were all liabilities in coverage, and we all know Levy was bad, bad, bad against the run. Once again, Schwartz and Mayhew have to be realistic about the performances of these players that they'be dubbed as "stars" for this team. Levy is among them, and he was by far our worst starter at linebacker this season. I would have preferred that Doug Hogue gotten a shot at WLB than to have kept Levy in. Tulloch was OK, but certainly didn't play to the level expected. With Williams, Hill, Suh and Fairley eating up blockers up front, Tulloch should have made more stops against the run. He was taken out of plays too easily, either by blockers or by poor gap penetration. His coverage skills are less than good, and his lack of depth in zone combined with the poor coverage of Delmas and Spievey destroyed us in the last two games. I like Tulloch's ability to blitz from inside, and I think he's worth re-signing if he accepts a contract that is realistic. However, I wouldn't give him anything more than a two or three year deal. If he wants more, let him leave. He didn't do enough to deserve that much. He wanted the one year deal to show his skills....you had your chance and blew it.

Personally, I think Aaron Berry is nothing mroe than a good nickel back in this league. He doesn't react terribly well to the ball, and many a time has failed to locate the ball quickly enough. His tackling skills are OK. His size is an advantage on outside receivers, but he just doesn't have the instincts or fluidness to keep up.

So, were I the Lions, I would definitely take the Packers approach to this off-season:

1. Resign key players, like CJ, Avril, Wright and maybe Tulloch.
2. Tender RFA offers, realistically, to those players we want.
3. Keep free agency moves to a minimum, get key pieces at an affordable price.
4. Position the draft picks to get players targeted as being of value AND filling a need. Whether that means moving up or down, negotiate a move.
5. REVIEW THE SCHEMES on both sides of the ball. While the offense may have been successful, that shouldn't mean no improvements are needed. The Lions have to include a running game, and that's more on Linehan than any one else.

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January 10th, 2012, 11:21 am
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
How hard would it be (in the draft) to get a safety with excellent pass coverage skills? Would it be worth spending our first rounder on him?


January 10th, 2012, 8:03 pm
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
Another fair question to ask is - is it worth spending resources on the defense? Our d is better than the saints d, I don't think many would disagree w that. Their offense has more dimensions to it than ours does. What's the better way to use ur resources? Have a good offense and good defense? Or great offense and patient defense that gives up yards but tries to create turnovers by making teams drive on them wo giving up big plays like the saints and packers and even patriots have modeled their teams. We ll see how well the niners and ravens fare vs these teams in the playoffs and that should provide us with some direction. Is it worth trying to build a great d at the expense of being able to make the offense great?


January 10th, 2012, 8:21 pm
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Post Re: How Broken is the Defense? How Do You Fix It?
from an outsiders perspective, this is my opinion...

Your defense is good, should be considered top 15 by everybody, and definitely top 10 IMO.

First things first is to not get overwhelmed by what the Saints did... that will happen occasionally to any defense, especially with an offense like that. The 2nd thing is the turnover battle... if there is one thing I've learned this year watching the niners play is that making turnovers AND NOT TURNING THE BALL OVER combined with an average running game will do wonders for your defense. Because Alex Smith played smart safe football it turned our defense, from a top 10 "D", into a top 3 Defense. Basically all we have to do is wait for our opponent to screw up and BOOM we've got a multi score lead. And when we have a lead we play conservative football which explains why Alex Smith has a fraction of the Attempts, Yards, TD's as Stafford.

I've learned that sometimes the way to fix a defense is through your offense. As prolific as the Lions offense is, its still 1 dimensional. My recommendation (even though it means squat) is to develop a stronger run game (like the Saints) and work on your LB corp. The weak spot on our D is the secondary, but our front seven is so dominating it allows our DB's to pick off passes like apples on a tree. When I look at your front 7, I really only see a dominating front 4... the 3 linebackers are hardly intimidating.

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January 10th, 2012, 11:18 pm
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