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Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

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Old 10-10-2008, 01:57 AM   #1
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Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

So I used by 6,000th post to discuss the economy. Bummer. Here's the more celebratory 6,001st post!

----------------------------------------------------------

Donovan McNabb was once an elite quarterback. Perhaps more because of circumstance and lack of elite passers in the NFL, but there was a time when Mark Brunell, Kurt Warner, and Vinny Testeverde roamed the NFC East, when Eli Manning was but Peyton’s kid brother, when Tony Romo was a clipboard holder buried behind Drew Henson (it worked out well for Tom Brady too!), when Jason Campbell was winning games in a new offense, and when Donovan McNabb was a lock for the pro bowl every year.

Call me crazy, but I think those days are over.

Since he first started to make plays in 2001, and the Eagles reached the top of the division, McNabb has always seen the field well. His name is right up there with Neil O’Donnell in terms of lowest ever INT percentage. He’s never thrown more than 13 INTs in a season and never more than 9 in any season since his breakout in 2004.

And, as was typified in this game, McNabb was never able to become a complete passer. No matter how often his receivers turnover from year to year, McNabb cannot consistently break the 60% completion plateau. He’s thrown for 7.0 Y/A or better every year since 2004, and yet, he can’t seem to sustain drives. The Eagles allow him to throw on first down more than any QB in the NFL, and all it seems to do is cost Brian Westbrook some carries.

McNabb has two major tangible problems. One was not a factor in this game. The other cost the Eagles the ball game. 1) McNabb holds the ball too long and takes too many sacks for a man with his mobility. (The Redskins did not sack McNabb) 2) When McNabb feels pressure, he throws errantly to [often wide open] wide receivers who struggle to come up with the catches. (This cost the Eagles the game). By not anticipating the routes and the coverages, McNabb costs himself valuable split seconds and puts his receivers in bad positions.

The thing is, the Eagles have a GREAT pass blocking offensive line. McNabb only feels pressure because he’s not looking to get the ball out of his hands. Jason Campbell, on the other hand, spends most of the game getting the ball out of his hand as soon as someone comes open. Both guys feel the pocket very well, but Campbell was the better QB in this game, and likely is the better QB of the two right at this moment.

Pass Defense

Because the open was all about McNabb, we’ll jump right into the pass defense.

Vital Statistics — 30 plays [5 screens]
Adj Pass Yards Against — 204
Adj Pass Yds per Play — 6.8
Success Rate against — 43%

The yards per attempt vastly outdid the Redskins’ passing production, but success rate tells a VASTLY different story. Almost as if for two entire quarters, there was nothing successful about the Eagles’ passing game. Oh wait, that’s EXACTLY what happened. The Redskins consistently beat the Eagles, but were unable to prevent big chunks of yards on the two Eagles’ scoring drives.

I don’t like the Redskins chances if you give the Eagles more offensive plays. However, combined with the fact that the Redskins offense kept the Eagles offense on the sideline, credit also has to go to the pass defense for putting them there in the first place.

Time to check out the coverage stats:

(Targeted, Comp % against, YPA, SR against)
*Carlos Rogers 5, 20%, 1.8, 20%
**Fred Smoot 5, 80%, 9.8, 60%
Chris Horton 3, 100%, 9.3, 100%
LaRon Landry — NOT TARGETED
London Fletcher 3, 67%, 3.0, 0%
Rocky McIntosh 4, 50%, 5.3, 50%

*I said after the Saints game that no one targets Carlos Rogers. That was a premature statement. Teams have to throw at Rogers because they won’t ever throw at Landry. Rogers just shuts everyone down.

If there’s a reason his statline reminds you of Cooley’s, its because Carlos was to the defense what Cooley was to the offense. His side was simply never available.

**Fred Smoot sucks.

London Fletcher is definately in the running for game MVP. He’s getting some overdue hype for the pro bowl, but he really deserved it last season. This year, Rocky is more deserving, although Fletcher was the better of the two on this day.

Screen Defense — Because it’s the Eagles

5 screens, 4 successful screens, 39 total yards off screens (7.8 per)

The Eagles had their most success in the screen game, mostly because they get the ball out of Donovan’s hands quickly and block it well. The screen that didn’t work…yeah Rogers blew that play up too. No, that wasn’t factored into his individual stats. If Carlos Rogers doesn’t go to the pro bowl this season we need to seriously consider abolishing the pro bowl.

Pass Pressure


There wasn’t very much in this department. I’d give gameballs to the entire Eagles OL in this one. McNabb held the ball a long time and the Redskins blitzed often (see below). Normally, that would favor the defense, but on 80% of all passing plays, the Redskins did not register a sack, hit, deflection, or pressure.

No hits, no sacks

Pressures (4)
Lorenzo Alexander
London Fletcher
Anthony Montgomery (he was really good at this last year, this is his first pressure of the year)
LaRon Landry

Passes Deflected (2)
London Fletcher
Andre Carter

Run Defense


Vital Statistics (19 plays)
Total Rush yds against - 58
Rush yds/play - 3.05
Rush SR against - 37%

Successful running plays by the Eagles in between the two scoring drives = 0
Longest run from scrimmage for Eagles = 9 yards (the touchdown)

I’d say more, but those two stats say it all. That team has Brian Westbrook!

Individual Numbers:

(tackles [for] yards per tackle)
HB Blades 4 for 2.8
Andre Carter 3 for 0.7
Rocky McIntosh 2 for 3.0
London Fletcher 1 for 3.0
Chris Horton 4 for 2.3
LaRon Landry 1 for 5.0
Khary Campbell 1 for -3
Corneilius Griffin 1 for 7.0
Fred Smoot 1 for 5
Leigh Torrence 1 for 6
Lorenzo Alexander 1 for 2
Chris Wilson 1 for 6

The Eagles gameplan was to get bodies on Fletcher and McIntosh and prevent them from making plays. This made sense at the time because they figured the Redskins would spend a lot of time in the nickel vs their 3 WR sets. The Redskins were in the nickel for three plays. Anyway, that plan blew up in their faces.

I’m a bit disappointed with the interior DL play, against both the pass and the run. With O-Linemen trying to get to the second level, there should have been more tackles at the first level. Oh well, I guess you can put that on Westbrook’s greatness. Kedric Golston started really strong, but his play has noticeably dropped off the last two games. Griffin manhandled Max Jean-Gilles all day, but if Shawn Andrews is healthy when we see them again, this could be a lot tougher.

Greg Blache


Greg Blache was relegated all the way down here for his mockery of people who look at statistics.

Personnel Groupings:
Base 4-3 - 30 (61%)
Cobra (3 safeties) - 4 (8%)
Nickel (3 corners) - 3 (6%)
Dime - 11 (22%)
4-4 - 1

Remember all the talk about how Blache was avoiding 6+ DB sets? Yeah, not so much these days. The Redskins basically went between their 4-3, and 6 DBs depending on the down and distance. This is the main reason that Rocky Mac’s numbers were down this game, is that he was on the sideline for almost a quarter of the defensive plays.

Blitz calls:

7
Five+ man blitzes
3 Six+ man blitzes

McIntosh x2
Horton x2
Fletcher x2 - 1 pressure
Doughty x2
Blades
Landry - 1 pressure

Overall Defense


Vital Statistics
Total Adj Yards - 262
Adj Yards per Play - 5.46
SR Against - 44%

The Redskins beat the Eagles by running the ball and playing good defense. That doesn’t mean the DL play isn’t a cause for concern, but it does mean that the Redskins are talented enough on defense to shut down top offenses even without Gregg Williams’ complex schemes. The overall defense might actually end up holding the offense back in the playoffs, but outside of the defensive line, I don’t see a weakness on this team. Demetric Evans, who was so great against the Cowboys, was dominated by Jon Runyan to the point where no one even knew he was on the field. Erasmus James got some snaps in his place at the end of the game with similar results. Chris Wilson is getting increased playing time. The Redskins may need a quicker rotation at DT with Golston potentially wearing down. If the DL is going to do damage in the playoffs, KG needs to be at his best.

Overall, these issues are minor, and the Redskins D will get to play some weaker offenses now and should establish itself as a top ten unit. Combined with the help it’s now getting from Jason Campbell’s offensive unit, and the resurgence of Clinton Portis, I’m starting to see a very special season in Washington shaping up on the horizon.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:40 AM   #2
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

Awesome! Excellent analysis as usual.

I love seeing the stats on Carlos Rogers. It seems like every time I see the guy he's breaking up a play or blanketing a receiver.

Smoot does seem to really struggle, but what's our other option? Who else should fill in for Springs or be the nickle back?
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:11 AM   #3
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

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Originally Posted by mheisig View Post
Awesome! Excellent analysis as usual.

I love seeing the stats on Carlos Rogers. It seems like every time I see the guy he's breaking up a play or blanketing a receiver.

Smoot does seem to really struggle, but what's our other option? Who else should fill in for Springs or be the nickle back?
Blache has been mixing in more Leigh Torrence, and Springs has won the starting job when he's healthy. Past that, I think it's a spot we must address in the offseason.

Despite all the success this team has had, I still see a lot of places we need a draft pick to come in and play well for sustained success in 2009. At corner, on the defensive line (whereever we can find a playmaker), and eventually, at MLB (although I think Rocky is capable of moving inside if necessary).
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:12 AM   #4
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

Are there any veteran corners on the market? Might Kansas City take a 7th rounder for Patrick Surtain?
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:49 AM   #5
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

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Are there any veteran corners on the market? Might Kansas City take a 7th rounder for Patrick Surtain?
I don't think we should try to acquire Surtain because he's old (32 yrs old)? Perhaps we should wait until off season begins, then we can either sign a vet or draft CB (in first day draft)..
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:27 PM   #6
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That, and I just realized that we don't have a 6th or 7th rounder left this year (P. Kendall and Erasmus James)
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:42 PM   #7
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

Game value, in order of contribution (consider this a "defensive game MVP" ballot):

1) Rogers
2) Fletcher
3) Carter
4) Landry
5) Horton
6) McIntosh
7) Griffin
8) Blades
9) L. Alexander
10) C. Wilson
11) Torrence
12) Golston
13) Smoot
14) Doughty
15) Evans
16) Montgomery
17) K. Moore
18) E. James
19) Khary Campbell
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:21 PM   #8
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

Always informative and interesting G. McIntosh is a beast, I'd like to see how he'd do at middle linebacker. After Fletcher retires of course.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:58 PM   #9
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

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Originally Posted by GTripp0012 View Post
Blache has been mixing in more Leigh Torrence, and Springs has won the starting job when he's healthy. Past that, I think it's a spot we must address in the offseason.

Despite all the success this team has had, I still see a lot of places we need a draft pick to come in and play well for sustained success in 2009. At corner, on the defensive line (whereever we can find a playmaker), and eventually, at MLB (although I think Rocky is capable of moving inside if necessary).
What are your thoughts on H.B. Blades? I liked what I saw from him in his rookie year, do you think that he can play MLB if necessary, rather than move Rocky?
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:40 PM   #10
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

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I think I remember H.B. playing MLB last year in preseason. There were comparisons made of him and London Fletcher being the same height, weight etc.
I remember that also, but IMO he did really well last year when he had to fill in during the season when Rocky went down...
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:55 AM   #11
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

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Originally Posted by Redskins8588 View Post
What are your thoughts on H.B. Blades? I liked what I saw from him in his rookie year, do you think that he can play MLB if necessary, rather than move Rocky?
All due respect to what Marcus Washington has meant to this franchise over the last five seasons, I think Blades should be starting at SLB right now.

I know Blades played in the middle in college, but I think Rocky's skill set would make him a better MLB than Blades. Plus in our nickel formations, Rocky and London both play between the tackles and Rocky, IMO has outperformed London in these situations. I don't think there would be any dropoff with Rocky at MLB and Blades in at SLB.

Blades' weaknesses right now include pass rushing and sideline to sideline range, and the latter would be a big problem as Blache's MLB.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:58 AM   #12
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

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Carlos Rogers didn't have many interceptions at Auburn. Why? Because teams didn't throw at him often. I'm glad he's living up to the 9th overall selection. The other two corners taken higher in that draft were Adam Jones and Antrel Rolle. Who would you rather have?
Carlos and Pac Man are about equivelents on the field, and Pac Man has added value in the return game, but given the off-the-field stuff, I would take them in this order if I had 2005 all over again:

1) Rogers
2) Jones
3) Rolle

I also would not have invested a first round pick in either of the last two, for different reasons.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:37 AM   #13
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Re: Defensive GT Review, GTripp's 6,001st

Pacman '06:
Targeted 69 times
37% SR against, NFL Rank: 2
5.4 YPA against, NFL Rank: 1

Rogers '08
Targeted 25 times
32% SR against
4.7 YPA against

So, it's only been 25 targets for Rogers, which is a small sample, but his season would have been the best year for a CB in either 2006 or 2007, and it's not dissimilar to his 2007 half-season.

Is it time to call Carlos Rogers a shutdown corner? I'm not yet sure he can handle elite receivers, but then again, I'm not sure the elite receivers in today's game can be covered by any CB anymore. Only Burress and Fitzgerald have done anything against Rogers this season.
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