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YR's My Meaningless Thoughts on the Defense...

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by Yakuza Rich, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    Yesterday I did a post giving my thoughts on the offense after watching a bunch of All-22 games.

    http://cowboyszone.com/forums/dallascowboys.php?t=247959

    First, I’ve went back and forth on Rob Ryan as the D-Coordinator. I have concluded that at this moment he is a ‘good coach.’ That does not guarantee that he gets better or even remains a ‘good coach.’ Sometimes good coaches have a ‘blind spot’ that prevents them from getting better. Or they may have their defense exposed by the league and struggle to adjust to it.

    But from what I see on All-22 is a defense that is advanced schematically, that adjusts well to its personnel and to the opponents and that new players can pick up fairly quickly. I sometimes question his initial gameplan, but given the injuries and the offense having turned the ball over so much, I do not know if that is really an issue we have to consider in the future.

    I see 3 issues with this defense this year:

    1. Safety Play
    2. Defensive End
    3. Injuries

    I have always been a bit lukewarm on Sensabaugh. Couchscout mentioned his problems in zone coverage and All-22 exposes that. However, he is quite good in man-to-man coverage. So I can see why he appeals to coaches, he plays man-to-man better than most safeties. But, it’s part of the recurring theme with this team…a poor job of meshing skill sets. I liked what I saw out of Barry Church, but I thought he had some issues on deeper zone coverage. Short and intermediate zone coverage, I liked what I saw. IMO, you would want somebody like Sensy paired with a good deep zone coverage safety so Sensy could take away short-to-intermediate pass patterns in man coverage.

    I thought McCray looked good early on, but teams caught on quickly to him being a liability in coverage. I can see why Rob Ryan is not afraid to move Brandon Carr to safety. I haven’t seen enough of Peprah and company. But, I think Ryan lost confidence in McCray in the Redskins game when he botched his assignment on the long pass to Robinson. I think Rob could live with getting beat athletically, but getting beat mentally is unacceptable.

    Even if Church was still playing, I think the safety play would still not be where it needs to be. And personally, I’m more interested in athletic, good tackling safeties who play zone coverage well versus athletic safeties who play man coverage well. We have to remember that we will face RG3 and Mike Vick in 25% of our games for the year and their scrambling ability means much more zone play and requires the DB’s to help out in tackling them. Plus, my gripes against the lack of INT’s from the safeties are justified when you watch them play zone coverage in All-22. Lastly, I think the zone play of the safeties becomes even more important given Rob’s scheme. He likes to have the ILB’s and Safeties run north and south. We have ILB’s in Carter and Lee that can do that, but we don’t quite have that at safety. If Matt Johnson ever gets healthy and is nearly as good as advertised, expect to see a big north and south style running defender.

    Because the safety play is poor, that has Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne playing less press coverage. Mo can handle it. I think the kid is really impressive to watch. He may end up being our version of Revis. Revis plays more with his upper body strength, Mo plays more with his long arms and athleticism. Furthermore, he’s really starting to play better and better in zone coverage. And while his tackling could be better, it has improved and is actually better than I expected it to be.

    Carr has really lost his confidence. He’s not allowed to play press coverage enough because Rob can’t trust the safeties if the WR gets a break off press coverage. And then they have Carr playing safety. I actually think all things considered, Carr has put an admirable effort. But unless we get safeties behind him and get him playing to his strengths, we’ll just have wasted his time here.

    Oh and Scandrick has been downright excellent in coverage for almost the entire year. This really surprised me how well he’s played. Unfortunately, he botched 2 crucial plays against Atlanta and had a stupid roughing the passer penalty. Then he went on I-R.

    Where we did a great job of meshing skill sets is in the LB corp. We could use Lee and Carter in a variety of ways. We could give Carter deeper zone responsibilities and deeper man-to-man responsibilities. We could give Lee more short responsibilities and take on blockers. It also helps that both are smart football players as well. And we can switch up the responsibilities from time-to-time to throw off the opposing offense.

    I’ve flip flopped on Spencer, but All-22 exposes the problems better. Spencer is a really good player. He can rush the passer, is really good against the run and sometimes elite against it. And he’s capable in pass coverage. The problems we have had are at safety and Defensive End. Unless we were able to get another elite pass rusher like an Aldon Smith, there’s just no reason to let Spencer go unless he’s asking for way too much. And good luck finding another Aldon Smith in the draft.

    Lastly, we get to the DE’s. I recommend people focus on Jason Hatcher in the All-22. You may be surprised how great he has played this year. He’s thoroughly impressive out there and is a top-5 player on the team right now. I think our scouting on defense has been very good, we just don’t go after safeties or DE’s that much. Guys like Hatcher give me hope that somebody like Crawford is the real deal and perhaps the same with Matt Johnson.

    But, what’s disappointing is that the team seems to be afraid to send a message to a player in the middle of the season. I thought they did a nice job of sending a message last year when the released Gurode and company. This year, there is just no way that Marcus Spears should be starting. And the only thing that would prevent me from releasing him is the injuries. In fact, if Lissemore comes back and Ben Bass shows some desire, I would then release Spears. There is no way he deserves to start over Tyrone Crawford.

    I will say this, there is some real hope for this defense in 2013 if they can stay healthy and make an upgrade at safety. Yes, they need to be better on the D-Line, but I think that moving Crawford to starter and getting Lissemore as a passing down rusher and getting another year out of Ratliff will make for a very good D-Line. And if we get some real safeties, we can get Carr back to playing more press coverage, a very underrated Scandrick in the slot and hopefully Mo just gets better with another year of experience and becomes ‘Revis-esque.’

    For right now, we are just seeing a sad replica of the defense with all of the injuries. Sims is pretty good in space, but stands no chance if blockers get on him. He does put up an admirable fight. Connor has gotten better, but is still limited. I’ve already gone over McCray.

    But, whoever is the head coach here next season, I think it’s an imperative to keep Rob Ryan on the team. And I did not quite feel this way a little while ago.








    YR
  2. Joshmil53

    Joshmil53 Well-Known Member

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    I think I red somewhere that Carr is top 5 or something when in press coverage. It's a shame he can't play it due to our safeties.
  3. Gaede

    Gaede Well-Known Member

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    Good post YR.

    Three guys I've been impressed with this year (that I didn't expect to be impressed with) are Spencer, Hatcher and Crawford. Spencer is just a solid player all around and very important to the defense in all of the roles that he fulfills. Hatcher is getting excellent pressure (one of our few DL who do) and playing very hard. And Crawford isn't getting sacks but when I focus on him, he's consistently pushing the pocket back. Oh, and I agree, Scandrick was playing very well this year.

    Agree that there's no reason Spears should be on the team. And safety is such a huge weakness that it's visible even without all-22 footage.

    I have hope for the defense in 2013, for sure.
  4. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    It was DUMB to get rid of Gurode who at least had an excuse due to late surgery, and even DUMBER to think Costa could play.

    If we can get a pass rusher who can get us double digit sacks or close to it that is better then what spencer can give us. Sure he is having a career year; but why did it take 6 years for him to have one?
  5. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if he's in the top-5 in press coverage, but he certainly looks a bit tentative when he's not playing press.






    YR
  6. egn22

    egn22 Well-Known Member

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    YR, thanks again man. keep it up, i look forward to your posts.
  7. IrishAnto

    IrishAnto Well-Known Member

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    YR nice post and I agree with what you say up to a point.

    To me the single biggest thing a defense needs to do, it to generate turnovers as turnover ratio have the biggest single impact on the outcome of the game.

    Now it seems to be an orthodoxy around here that in order to generate we need better pass rush/safety play.

    Now while I don’t say that this isn’t true I also don’t think that one automatically follows the other.

    And the reason I say this…

    Back in 2010 just after Wade Philips got canned, Paul Pasqualoni took over the defense and in eight games generated 20 turnovers, a rate that hasn’t been seen in these part for many a long year.

    Who were Pasqualoni’s starting safeties?

    Gerald Sensabaugh and Alan Ball.

    Starting DEs?

    Marcus Spears and Igor Olshansky.

    ILBs

    Bray James and Keith Brooking

    As you can see hardly a who’s who of Ring of Honour Candidates.

    The point I’m making which is the one you made yesterday in your post on the offense is that you need to run a scheme that makes the best use of your available talent and clearly Pasqualoni could.

    So far Roy Ryan hasn’t.
  8. Everlastingxxx

    Everlastingxxx All Star

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    Pretty good write up. The defense has been far from perfect, but i don’t think they have been a liability, even with all the injuries.
  9. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    The Defense started well, and has been great at times. I am disappointed that we are allowing more points than last year on average per game despite the DB Upgrades. I think that has only happened since Lee and Carter got hurt, but I still wanted to improve.
  10. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    Are we allowing more points or is the offense allowing more points?






    YR
  11. IrishAnto

    IrishAnto Well-Known Member

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    Again I don't see how you can call a defense great when they're as poor as we are at generating turnovers.
  12. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    Good point. Our STs and Offense have given the other side over 80 points last I checked. But that happened last year too, so I am not 100% sure as of right now.
  13. Idgit

    Idgit Ice up, son. Ice up! Staff Member

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    IrishAnto, you have no idea what you've just done...
  14. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    I've been off and on the last few days, but I don't think Scandrick is on IR. I think he's out for awhile clearly, but I don't think they moved him, unless I missed a post somewhere.
  15. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    I'm not calling them great. I said great at times. There's a big difference in the two.
  16. jjktkk

    jjktkk Active Member

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    :laugh2:
  17. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    You are correct.
  18. cowboysooner

    cowboysooner Well-Known Member

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    Part of the reason we are allowing more points is the offense can't sustain anything with the running game and help out the defense with some possession.

    This defense, with premium corners, premium outside linebacker and good coverage inside backers that can play the ball was built to play with leads. We don't build leads in the first half on offense so the defense never got to be turned loose. Now, it is too beat up to even be used in the same manner.
  19. Cowboy06

    Cowboy06 Active Member

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    Meaningless?? I don't think so at all, I have mostly the same thoughts about the Safety position and I would love to see a pass rush from the DL and someone other than DeMarcus Ware. They have to finally get past him being a pass rush threat, teams have been able to scheme past him, nor do you want to count on a nose guard that can be blocked merely based upon his position on the field with the opposing offensive guards and center.

    I just don't believe you can be advanced if you haven't mastered the basics. You have to be able to excel at being a vanilla defense before you start adding sprinkles, nuts, sauce and cream... if the base isn't good, nothing you do to mask it will make a difference.
  20. IrishAnto

    IrishAnto Well-Known Member

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    True, but I still find it hard to call them great at any time, Descent yes, Good maybe, but great?

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