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Defense 101 - Part 1,2,3,4,5

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; There is one key point that is being missed: You and Billy both are assuming A) a great run defense (which is fine b/c I said that we should assume that in my previous post) and B) a great pass ...

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Old 06-08-2004, 09:30 AM   #11
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Defense 101 - Part 1,2,3,4,5

There is one key point that is being missed: You and Billy both are assuming A) a great run defense (which is fine b/c I said that we should assume that in my previous post) and B) a great pass rush.

I do not realistically assume either. For starters, I have some serious questions about our run defense getting any better.
I also have my concerns. I\'m still trying to figure out why the run defense is so suspect. Is it personnel, especially the linebacking core? Is is scheme? I know that in 2002 Clemons aided the opposing offense by being out of position most of the time. But last year, I couldn\'t get a bead on why the defense couldn\'t generate the stops in the rushing game necessary to get off the field.

But the point that I\'m trying to make is that for the defense to improve, the rush has to be curtailed. Feel free to discuss how that can be accomplished with the personnel that we have.

But let\'s stay on course and pretend that they do. That still doesn\'t mean great pass rush.

You two seem to believe that b/c we have players capable of rushing the passer that we will do that successfully as a team. I don\'t. Sure, we will get more pressure on opposing QBs. However, Venturi\'s read and react system is not conducive to aggressive play.
I always thought that Venturi was a part of the problem. But I still question if read/react is an issue when the down and distance is right. If it\'s an obvious passing down, then why is there a need to read/react? All the D-Line and blitzing linebackers/corners/safeties need worry about is getting to the QB and getting him down before he can complete the pass. And of course that means containing the QB (re: Vick) and RB delays/dumpoffs.

Additionally, if our offense is anywhere near as explosive as it can be AND our run defense is improved, teams will not be content to sit on the ball and try to ground it out on the ground. We WILL see more spread. We WILL see more passes.
Agreed on that. In fact if we can make the opposing offense one dimensional, it\'ll definitely be to the defense\'s advantage.

That being said, I am not confident in our secondary. Thomas and Craft both seem like solid number 2s to me, but neither is a number one corner. Thomas is getting older, slower, and has always been undersized. Do you like Thomas on any of the 50 or so 6-4 WRs who can run a sub 4.5 40? I don\'t.

Craft is an unknown so unti lI see him play I cannot speak to it. To suggest that he IS or IS NOT capable without any prior knowledge is irresponsible. I\'ll suffice it to say that I am skeptical of a guy relaeased by a team who rebuilt their secondary (with a great defensive mind running their ship) who also happens to be coming off an injury.

The real problem begins when you add Ambrose or Fahkir Brown in the mix. You want Ambrose matching up with a guy like Henderson? How about Brown on a guy with M Lewis\' speed or Gardner\'s talent? Crowell\'s?
I hear what you\'re saying. But the whole point of this thread is to point out that it\'s possible to scheme with the personnel that you have to win for 3 seconds most of the time. A from a passing perspective that\'s what our defense needs to do. The basic job of our secondary this year is twofold:

1. Cover the receivers until the rush gets to the QB and disrupts the pass play. And.

2. failing that, keep the receiver in front of you at all costs. This is especially true of Tebucky Jones, the Human Missile.

Now Venturi\'s and the defensive coaches\' job is to pick the appropriate scheme outlined above to accomplish that.

I don\'t want you to confuse my defining the tasks the defense has to do means that I think that the defense will in fact do those tasks. I\'m simply trying to define what needs to be done. The bottom line is that we need to stop explosive plays, curtail the run game, and force offenses to grind down the field. And we\'re going to have to do it with the personnel we have on staff.

I\'ll put it out on the table: we can\'t afford McKenzie or any other #1 corner. The cost in picks, personnel, and money is too steep. GB wants a 1st and a 5th. It\'ll probably end up being a second and a player. Then we have to dig deep to give McKenzie the big money, which is the only reason he\'s complaining with GB now. We can\'t afford it. So let\'s talk about how to be successful with what we have.

Time will tell, but I\'ll say this - if our run defense gets into and stays in the top 10, I will look for our secondary to get burned with greater frequency. Some of us seem to have short-term memory... b/c I remember the Dome Patrol allowing less than 50 yards rushing, picking up 6 sacks, and still allowing first down after first down on 3rd and 8 regularly... or maybe we should just think back two years ago...
As do I. But those same teams won division titles and advanced to the playoffs. And I think we can agree that our offense now is much much better than then.

The defense is just going to have to learn to play smarter. One should be able to get off the field with #2 corners. I do believe that Washington proved last year that having #1 corners isn\'t a magic bullet.


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Old 06-09-2004, 08:25 AM   #12
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Defense 101 - Part 1,2,3,4,5

First, Thanks for posting these articles GumboBC. i LOVE football strategy and philosophy.

This seems to be where we are a bit lacking. Venturi, in my humble opinion is not a great Def. Coordinator. I am willing to see what he can do when he has the personnel he wants (and healthy) this year. He may turn out to be a genius.

But i pulled many a hair watching people out of position, as if expecting something completely different. Too many times. There is no \'stat\' for that. It is one of those intangibles. Some teams have great players with natural instincts and can make up for some bad strategy by the coaches. I do not feel we have those kinds of players. We have a very good group of guys, but not great....yet. So they have to depend on schemes.

Does anyone have the stat for % 3rd down conversions against our defense? It seems that was a biggy for us last year. If we could get our guys off the field more often, and quicker, our guys would be fresher in the 4th quarter, giving us a fighting chance more often.

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