Originally Posted by borg
Ten #1s and #2s on defensive roster and the results are mediocre. After the draft, that number will likely be 11 or 12. His scheme, his players...can't think of another NFL team that has utilized so many premium assets ....yet they blow on 3rd down and pass pressure.
(1) Mayo - fine 3rd-year ILB whose primary job is to tackle RBs coming through the gap that the D-line and Spikes limit them to; severely overworked in 2010 because the D-line (aside from Wilfork) couldn't close gaps against a sleepy Cub Scout.
(2) McCourty - ROOKIE - pretty much out-performed Revis' rookie season in spite of spending a lot of plays in run-support (see Mayo, above) and dealing with a rib injury during the late going.
(3) Meriweather - really very good deep-centerfield FS/backstop for McCourty and Arrington, when he sticks to his assignment and doesn't freelance.
(4) Wilfork - possibly no finer NT in the NFL who's proven he can be pretty decent at 34DE, too - but clearly can't do it alone.
(5) G. Warren - ageing journeyman 4-3 DT (though a 1st-round pick) playing in a 3-4 for the first time in his career; picked up as a temporary DE reserve and 40-front supplement; valiant effort trying 34DE (when Ty Warren's injury made this necessary), but was quickly moved inside in favor of Wilfork because he just wasn't cutting it.
- on IR all last season
- not with the team last season
(1) Ron Brace - 2nd year reserve NT, 40-front DT who played out of position at LDE all season; showing signs of getting better at what he was originally drafted to do, which is clearly NOT playing LDE in a 30-front
(2) Darius Butler - Bust (crude summarization of his career so far) - at least not much of a factor in the season, he was so rarely seen
(3) Pat Chung - 2nd year SS; playing over injuries, he performed at least as well as a healthy Brandon McGowan did in 2009; spent an extraordinary amount of time playing as a nickel-back over Wilhite, NOT because his coverage skils are so grand, but because his run-support is much, much better (see "Mayo", above)
(4) Brandon Spikes - ROOKIE - grew quickly into his ILB role, which is to fill one running gap left by the D-line in order to funnel RBs toward Mayo; performed very well in spite of the fact that the D-line was leaving way more than just the one running lane; even appeared to be catching on a bit to coverage responsibilities before getting suspended the last four regular season games
5) Jermaine Cunningham - ROOKIE - grew quickly into a solid edge-setter (his first task to learn playing OLB for BB) and kept most RB's funneled back toward the D-line (which is actually sorta unfortunate, now that I think about it); applied pass-rush pressure that often helped other guys (Ninkovich and Moore said as much) to "get home", even if he didn't get home himself).
So, that's five 1sts and five 2nds (one of whom saw limited action) that included:
- 3 ROOKIES
- 2 second year players (both playing sorta outside their optimum assignments due to injuries to other players)
- 1 3rd year player
- 1 over-the-hill vet "temp" (who was never that good to begin with) playing outside his prior experience
- 1 VG veteran - playing out of position
Filling in around them and often starting alongside them on a regular basis (some due to injuries) were:
0 3rd rounders
2 4th rounder (Sanders, Wilhite)
1 5th rounder (Ninkovich)
2 6th rounders (Moore, Pryor)
4 7th rounders (TBC, Landon Cohen, Brandon Deaderick, Jarrad Page)
7 UDFAs (Arrington, Sergio Brown, Dane Fletcher, Gary Guyton, Kyle Love, Mike Wright)
So, if you're NOT a "glass half EMPTY" type of person, you might say that they did pretty okay for a defense that was 61% guys drafted in the 4th or later, 42% either 7th rounders or UDFAs - vs. 38% drafted in the first or second rounds.