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On the Defense, Players, and Schemes

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Joined: 02 May 2012
Posts: 175
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:16 pm    Post subject: On the Defense, Players, and Schemes Reply with quote

I honestly see little problem with Griffin's play.
You know what I see? An ok tackler, good coverage guy who plays his assignments well. He played absolutely great in the first half- nothing was given up. And then we switched away from bump coverage, and into a doubleshell zone defense, and suddenly the Lions are just racking up yards like there's no tomorrow.

Please understand this- most NFL offenses are are built around timing and finding dead spots now. When we play tight coverage, or blitz, or, god willing, get a lot of pressure from just a four man front, it throws off the timing of the other team, and really smashes their passing game.

You're blaming Griffin for things that are in no way his fault. When we don't get pressure, or throw off the other team's timing by doing the bump coverage, Griffin will ALWAYS look bad. Why? Because all of the dead spots in our defensive backfield are between the safeties and everyone else. Tight Ends have been destroying us- why? Because we play close zones with the linebackers, and deep zones with the safeties- in between is a lot of dead space, and because the safeties are playing deep and watching the WRs constantly, the TEs just find empty spots constantly.

The other spot that kills us is deep and mid range plays out of the slot- Megatron was exclusively on the outside to start the game, but then they moved him into the slot in the second half (and we switched back to the stupid deep shell scheme) so he started finding those dead spots and tore it up.

You all complain and complain about Griffin, but to date this season, I haven't seen him give up a pass behind him. In fact, going into this week, we were one of like 5 teams that hadn't given up a play over 40 yards. If a pass play goes over 40 yards, then you can blame the safeties 100%. That IS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY.

But blaming Griffin for all the pass plays that end up in front of him is ridiculous. He is responsible for keeping track of EVERY receiver that goes beyond ten yards. You think he's slow to hit the player, or that he should have been closer and made a play on the ball? Look at the whole damn field- he's watching at least two players, if not three, all at the same time. And if he tightens up on the wrong one, boom, you have a 40+ yard play or a touchdown.

He is doing his damn job. Jerry Gray isn't (well, he did the first half). He's putting our defense in a bad spot, and making the safeties look far far worse than they are.

Griffin has not whiffed on tackles this year. He has allowed 0 plays behind him. He has been in position to tackle the receivers in front of him. And he has tackled them well. HE IS DOING HIS JOB. Is he an all pro? No. But is he playing badly? Absolutely not.

Our defense has looked bad because of the scheme we've been playing. We did ok with the deep shell for two quarters against San Diego- why? Because we were blitzing and getting a ton of pressure on Rivers. Then fatigue hit and our ability to pressure fell off.

We did decent early on against the Pats too- again, blitzing helped a lot to create pressure. But because NE has two all-pro level Tight Ends, it worked far less than it did against SD. Today, we abandoned the two deep shell against the Lions and went with a bump and run, one safety tight scheme, and looked fantastic. Then we went back to two deep shell, but didn't even blitz, and looked terrible for a half.

EVERY PROBLEM ON DEFENSE SO FAR IS TRACEABLE TO THE SCHEME. Not a single player has been bad this season. All of our corners have looked fantastic. The safeties and linebackers look bad in pass coverage because our SCHEME leaves a ton of room in between the two groups.

When we rush successfully from the 2 deep shell, that problem disappears. When we constantly throw off timing in bump and run (also lowering the chances of deep passes before the rush gets to the QB) and play one safety close, we look great.

It's easy to hate on Griffin, he was legitimately bad last year (not his coverage though, same problem as this year, but because his tackling was just awful). But he has played well this year. Rob Johnson has too-
You know why Babs started today? Because we did the bump and run with a tight safety, and Babs is a great in the box safety. When we switched back to the deep shell, Johnson came back in.

Honestly, half the time you guys sound like politicians. You take a complex problem and try to pin it on one guy, or a very simple explanation. Football is the most complicated, interesting game in the world- I say game because Football is real time chess with variable pieces and variable boards.

Right now, our team, in the run game and on the defense, is failing mentally. That's a problem of the coaches- Palmer's inability to recognize CJ cannot run in a zone scheme, and Gray's stubborn insistence on running two deep shell against teams that can exploit it. CJ had a bunch of good runs today- all of them were in a "here's one direction/hole, or you can cutback" play. He was absolutely terrible on his own in OT, just making awful decisions. And all those runs he got stuffed on, or got like two yards? Same old Palmer zone-read plays.

Look, I'm buying Palmer's passing offense. It really clicked today, and it looked fine the first two weeks (our inability to run and Palmer's insistence on not abandoning the run killed us). Palmer can either take CJ out, or run the plays CJ is good at. I've said this before.

Same on defense. Gray is smart. and his scheme isn't bad, per se. But to run a two deep shell, we either need to blitz and create pressure (ala the Giants/Eagles for the last decade) or have such a damn good front four we don't need to blitz (ala the Colts for the last decade). We definitely can't do the latter- our Dline is good, but not that good. And the former doesn't work against QBs like Brady and Rivers, or against teams with high level TEs like the Pats.

It's clear we can do bump and run with a safety close. We have the speed and strength at corner, especially in nickel with Mouton.

Here's our formula for success-
Against a high level QB- either 2 deep shell with blitzing (if they have a bad offensive line) or bump and run (if they have good tight ends)
Against a high level QB w/ a good offensive line and high level tight ends- have to do bump and run with a close safety.
Against a middle of the road QB- Two Deep Shell is fine. Bump and run might be even better (take away his close passes and short stuff and let the DLine come after him)

The point is- we need to change our style against different matchups. We have the talent and ability to run 2 deep shell, with or without heavy blitzing, or 4 man rush bump and run coverage with a tight safety.

If Gray can do this, and choose the right scheme and play call throughout the game, we should have a top level defense, just as we did in quarter 2 and 3 against SD, and the first half against the Lions.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You sir just won the internets with the truth.

^^El ramster^^
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing post. i agree with just about everything you said. Was just about to make a post earlier about how i felt like i was watching Jeff Fisher coach all over again. We play the exact same scheme as he did when he was here. Rush 4, play soft zone behind it was safeties deep. its so predictable and easy to exploit, especially with a good quarterback like stafford. i just don't understand how our coordinators and coaches think that can be an effective scheme especially with a mediocre front 7. We had an effective scheme going in the 1st half, then we go conservative and basically start playing prevent defense(Ala Jeff Fisher)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My problem with Griffin will always be how soft he plays.

He had the chance to LAY THE WOOD to Calvin Johnson on that big gain in OT. But Griffin just whiffed.

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RIP Steve "Air" McNair...the greatest Titan of all-time
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffin hasn't been a beast of a tackler since he tore up his shoulder.
The reason people like myself trash Griffin is because the guy has all the tools all the tools height speed physicality to be an elite safety in the game,but he's so damn inconsistent & what I see hurts griffin the most be the little things he keep doing,that you would think by now he will correct.
1.He bights on play action so much that sometimes he plays deeper position so he want get beat deep,but he's so far off he can't make a play on the ball.
2. He takes bad angles in the run defense & sometimes cutting off his receiver route.
3 He just don't play with a swagger anymore like he's 1 of the best or you better not throw on my side. He plays like he want someone to feel sorry for him
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with our defense right now is the lack of a pass rush.

It isn't Griffin, and it isn't the fact that Gray is an idiot or a bad coach. It's the fact that the scheme we are running doesn't work without pressure.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrOneWayRoad wrote:
The problem with our defense right now is the lack of a pass rush.

It isn't Griffin, and it isn't the fact that Gray is an idiot or a bad coach. It's the fact that the scheme we are running doesn't work without pressure.

Well then adjust. Don't go out in the 1st quarter with a great gameplan and then just throw it out after that. Our pass-rush isn't that bad. Their getting pressure, just not the sack. Plus idk how many times I've seen Wimbley held in the past 3 games. Once we get McCarthy back and hopefully Spoon is benched in favor of Brown(Spoon is just terrible), we'll be better IMO.

Avery Williamson
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the 4 man pass rush is fine- if you look at the tape today, we essentially had 0 blitzes. It was 4 (and a lot of 3) man rush all day. Like I said, our dline is pretty good, but they're not good enough to consistently get sacks when it's just a 4 man rush. They did put pressure on Stafford though- he had to move, he had to throw fairly fast.

I don't know what we saw against SD that we didn't here, because we were blitzing from everywhere against them, and it really worked early on (again, fatigue).

I'd also like to point out that despite winning, our time of possession didn't improve that much. Two scores on special teams means no breather for the defense, and on offense two touchdowns from 60+ yard plays doesn't give time for a breather either.

I mean look at our games so far- we gave up 6 in the first quarter, 3 in the second, 7 in the 3rd, and 25 in the fourth. Against SD, we had a terrible first quarter (although 1 TD was a defensive TD), same against Pats (Locker turnover at our 14). Then we buckle down and do great in the second and third quarter.

But by the time the 4th rolls around, the defense is bone tired. SD put up a ton in the 4th, Lions put up a ton in the 4th.

Our inability to run and control the clock is really a big cause of our defensive slowdown. I still think Gray made a terrible call on the scheme change in the third, but we were still doing ok-ish. But trying to keep up with that offense in the 4th turned bad real fast.

Guys, we honestly have a great defense (talent wise). The players are individually playing well (Witherspoon is the weak link). But our scheme hasn't been great, and the fact they're on the field 35+ minutes every single game so far is just making the 4th quarter so, so bad.

I was thinking last night that maybe Gray wasn't as dumb as I think- he might have left bump and run and went back to shell because he recognized how exhausted the defense was getting (playing zone is a lot less tiring than bump and run for the DBs).

Anyways, we need to do better at TOP. We did have a few long drives (with Bironas missing field goals due to injury). But the lack of a running game, and our emphasis on big plays on offense, is definitely hurting the defense.
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