I have scoured sites finding team stats in almost every category you could think of so we could really see where we stand. I have seen some nice write ups lately on here talking about the defensive collapse but there were many areas that the defense excelled. There is most definitely a need for improvement at multiple positions and Reid and Dorsey will probably make some decisions on certain players that may make us think we are going in the wrong direction. We need to find talent on both sides of the ball and I don't expect this to come from free agency not because of the cap situation but because Dorsey believes on building through the draft and that is what I think he will do this year.
Defense: Lets start with the bad
24th in total yards per game given up
25th in passing yards per game given up ( 247.6 per game)
14th in passing TD's given up ( 25 TD's )
30th in 20+ yard passing plays given up (63) Seattle is number 1 they gave up 30
30th in 40+ yard passing plays given up (16) Seattle is number 1 they gave up 3
Here is the bad too many big plays is clearly a problem that is how we lost the playoff game to the Colts they scored 3 times in that game and all three time it took them less than 2 minutes to do it. How to get there? We need an absolute ball hawk at FS something everyone already knew that watched the Chiefs this year. Something else that I think will improve this is all the players getting more comfortable in this scheme we had some young players on defense this season and everyone was learning the new system and new assignments I think with another year we will improve on these numbers. The top three teams in the least big plays given up were Seattle, Tennessee, and the Giants. Seattle= Sherman (CB) Maxwell (CB) Thomas (FS) and throw Chancellor in for good measure and these four players are why this defense is so good. Tennessee= Verner (CB) McCourty (CB) Griffin (FS) notice any patterns yet? Giants= Amukamara (CB) Thomas (CB) Mundy (FS) everyone of these teams has two good to really good corners and a very capable Free Safety.
Defense: Now with the good
5th in points per game given up (19.1 per game)
3rd in interceptions (21)
6th in sacks (47)
1st in pass deflections (121)
1st in INT's returned for TD's (5)
7th in QB rating (78.5)
14th in Forced Fumbles (13)
1st in Fumble recoveries (15)
4th in fumbles returned for TD's (2)
What this tells me is our corners have some serious ball skills you don't lead the league in pass deflections and in the top 5 in INT's when you have bad corner back play. But when you play so much man to man coverage and your deep safety can't cover ground you are going to give up big plays but our corners proved this season that they can play in this defense as evidence by these numbers. Marcus Cooper led the team with 22 pass deflections and Sean Smith was second with 17. You know who had more pass deflections then Cooper in the league Verner, Haden, Sherman, Webb, and Boykin. Cooper ranked 7th in the league in pass deflections I am very high on him becoming our Sherman this season with good FS play we could really field one of the best secondaries in the league we have the corners already on the roster I don't think this position needs addressed until later in the draft especially with Commings potentially coming back. One quick thing on Commings he played almost exclusively in press man coverage at Georgia this is why we drafted him, no way do I think he makes a move to safety he isn't nearly as good in zone coverage as he is in man coverage, he is a very big physical corner and that is what we are looking for in this defense.
Rush Defense: None of this is really that good
22nd in rush yards given up per game (120.2 4.5 YPC)
6th in rushing TD's given up (9)
27th in 20+ rush plays given up (15)
30th in the 40+ rush plays given up (6)
This is just not good yes only giving up 9 rushing TD's is good but again too many big plays here and too many yards given up per game. I think this breaks down to a few things first we have Devito on the same side as Hali which is good because Devito is one of the better run defenders in the league at the DE spot but Hali is one of the worst run defenders in the league at the OLB spot. Houston played well against the run and D.J. is who he is a very good overall player we need a DE that can not only rush the passer and take some pressure off of everyone (Poe, Houston, D.J.) and we need a really good ILB to pair with Johnson Akeem Jordan did an descent job this past season but he just isn't the player we need in this defense.
I think there will be some surprises on this defense going into the offseason but I know one thing in my mind we are sitting pretty good at a number of spots on this defense. Corner I think we are good maybe add one later in the draft in round 5 or 6. Eric Berry is one of the best SS in the league and D.J. is still one of the best ILB in the league. We have Devito at RE for our run stuffing guy. We have Houston who is an absolute force in all facets of his game and we have Poe who I think will take a much bigger turn this season even more than he did last season if we can get some help for him on the inside at the LE position. We need a FS more than anything on this team a good pass rushing DE and a good ILB to pair with Johnson. We may also need to find a replacement for Hali I believe we will be dangling him on the market to try and get a 2nd round pick for him maybe more. If we can get into the 2nd round that is where we are going to find some value and I think this defense can replace Hali's 11 sacks with a number of players in free agency or the draft.
Look for Addressing the Offense later today.