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I can't decide whether this defense is good or bad

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ivanvamp, Sep 28, 2009.

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  1. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    When I watch the Pats play, I don't get the feeling that their D is capable of really stopping people. Seems like they give up too many 3rd down conversions, they don't really get after the QB, etc. I know many of you here share that sense.

    But then I look at the numbers. Here are some relevant stats:

    - #6 in the league in total yards allowed per game (262.3)
    - #7 in the league in passing yards allowed per game (174.0)
    - #10 in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (88.3)
    - #7 in the league in points allowed per game (16.7) - but that number is really even less, since 7 of them came on an interception return by Buffalo, and really was on the offense. So their D is giving up 15.3 ppg. Pretty stellar, actually.
    - #7 in the league in 3rd down conversions allowed (30.0%) - I was surprised at this number.

    I mean, that's pretty good, right? Essentially a top 7 defense, according to those numbers.

    But then there are some bad stats, too:
    - #25 in the league in QB rating allowed (98.4)
    - #23 in the league in passing yds/att (7.7)
    - #20 in the league in sacks (6)
    - #16 in the league in rushing yds/att (4.0)

    So what do you think? Is this a good defense or a not-so-good defense? I think the conclusion I'm coming to is that there is the potential here for a top 7 defense, and at times, they show it. But (despite media reports to the contrary) this is a young group missing some key players (now Wilfork is injured), and when they come together, they could be very tough.

    This week's game against a very good offense (Baltimore) will be a real test, but I love the 10 points allowed to the Falcons.
     
  2. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    The QB Rating Allowed is what annoys me most. I think that would be remedied by INTs, and they might not even have one yet.

    I think they are consistent, and I think they are above average, but I don't think they are going to shut anyone out this year. We'll know more as the year progresses, but I think this D will improve.
     
  3. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The defense works right now and it did a good job yesterday. You have to remember that most of that secondary is brand new and/or unpolished. Give them some more games under their belt and they will start generating turnovers. Also, you'll see some swift improvement once Mayo and Wilfork are shuffled back into the line-up together (though Pryor did pretty good yesterday vs. the run).
     
  4. jays52

    jays52 In the Starting Line-Up

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    As it stands right now, this is the best Patriots defense in four years. I also respectfully disagree with you saying that the team cannot stop anyone. They have gotten off of the field a lot better than the past teams have done. They are not only creating third and long situations, but not letting Dean Pees ruin the situation by running his cover-4. They may not be swarming the QB with blitz schemes, but they are usually closing on the football in numbers, and quick to tackle when they do give up a pass. When they bring pressure, it is almost always effective pressure.

    I also think that statistics are likely the worst measure of performance in football. It is a game that cannot be quantified. Stats do not show situation, down and distance, personnel groupings, defensive playcall, offensive playcall, momentum, emotion, energy levels, prevalent tendencies, and coaching psyches, so the numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. Ultimately, there is only one statistic that matters in defensive football, and that is points allowed. It doesn't matter how you get it done as long as you get it done. 15.3 PPG in Bill Polian's NFL is a stellar defense.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  5. MetalBleachers

    MetalBleachers Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I think it's pretty good.

    You're welcome. :D
     
  6. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    I used the words "seems" and "feels like" to explain my perception of this defense. Obviously, the stats show that they're making a higher percentage of 3rd down stops than pretty much most everybody else, so what it "feels" like isn't the same as what is actually happening. That's why I juxtaposed my perception with the data.
     
  7. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    LOL. I like the quick and easy answers.
     
  8. Sean Pa Patriot

    Sean Pa Patriot Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    Would like to see Derrick Burgess step up though and get some sacks.. Thomas played better, but he needs to do even better... Its done well, will be a bend but dont break, real test next week...
     
  9. Ice Cold Bruschi

    Ice Cold Bruschi Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    This is the definition of a bend don't break defense. Its amazing how well they're doing without getting any consistent pressure or turnovers.
     
  10. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    It "seems" like the defense is bad because the "pundits" are telling you that the Pats defense is old and slow. There is also the hangover from 2006/7.

    Also, I would point out that even "great" defenses will give up some yards/first downs/points. What matters is quantity. Fans have to realize that defenses don't pitch negative yardage shutout after shutout.

    A defense that gives up 20 minutes TOP/253 yards/10 Points played well. Unfortunately, this board fixates on interceptions and sacks.
     
  11. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar In the Starting Line-Up

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    I like this defense. Given time and barring injuries, they will get better just in time for the return of Mayo and the return of the offense we all know is lurking.
     
  12. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

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    I'll take that any day. The D is top ten in the league right now after losing Tedy, Sey, Vrabel, Rodney, etc, etc...They will gell and improve over the season. They are much younger faster, and flexible than last year. You almost have to wonder if this is Bill showing off what a great HC he is by rebuilding the D in stride. One catch for Gonzales? Ten points by Atlanta?
     
  13. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree on this being the best Pats defense since 2004. Also, if you take away the Bill's interception for a touchdown, the defense has give up 14.3 PPG (43 points in 3 games. 17 to Buffalo, 16 to the Jets, 10 to Atlanta). Our PPG is going down every game. Atlanta was a very balanced offense, and we shut them down. We are a very good defense right now, with the potential to be exceptional once Mayo returns and things gel. Probably not dominant, but exceptional.

    Only 2 things concern me: (1) the lack of pass rush and turnovers (which are clearly related); and (2) the opposing QB ratings allowed (which is also somewhat related). I'd like to see more disruption and more big plays.

    One thing is obvious: BB has confidence in this defense. You don't go for it on 4th and 1 from your 26 with a one TD lead unless you are very confident that your defense can hold the other guys to a field goal if you fail. That's a huge statement about his confidence in the D, even more than his confidence in the O.
     
  14. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I disagree. That decision to go for it was, IMO, based on the fact that it the outcome will be, statistically speaking, favorable for your team if you go for it on 4th and short, no matter where on the field it is.
     
  15. wahwho

    wahwho Practice Squad Player

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    Not to be pessemistic about it or anything, but maybe some of the enthusiasm should be tempered a bit. Most of the good defensive stats are a side effect of the offense holding the ball for a lot of long drives. The high yards/pass att stat is not a good sign. However, I'm glad to see the 30% 3rd down conversion rate, that's not something I'd expected to see just from watching the games.
     
  16. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    Only the defense can prevent the opponent's offense from going on 80-90 yard/ 18 play/10 minute drives.


    Also, what exact evidence the the "lack of pressure" wasn't in the defensive gameplan?
     
  17. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    GREAT thread and kudos to the OP. I'm not sure what to make of this D, either. I think it's easy to be misled by stats, and it's important to keep in mind the offenses we've played, but then...well, we played ATLANTA yesterday and they seem to have a pretty good offense. In any case, I hope they continue on what is, for sure, an upswing at least.
     
  18. Lord_Reginald_III

    Lord_Reginald_III Practice Squad Player

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    atlanta 10 pts = good. they stepped up the run D & held gonzo to 1 catch = good. its too early to judge, in the sense that good play is consistent play... and we've only seen 3 games. that said, they are way better than i had expected thus far. even with big vince going down, and Skinny G running the middle...
     
  19. MetalBleachers

    MetalBleachers Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Next week's the best test: one quarter into the season, probably fewer sustained drives by the O vs. Ravens' D, and a solid-looking Baltimore offense (that has yet to face a very good defense). Interesting stuff.
     
  20. wahwho

    wahwho Practice Squad Player

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    Yes, and that's why I just said it should be tempered a bit, not that it was completely overblown. Most of the positive stats listed in the OP are given a healthy push by the offense's ability to stay on the field. The per play-based stats (except 3rd down, as I mentioned) are not as good, with high QB rating against, pass yrds/att, and run yrds/att. Seems odd to say, but the 3rd down play seems to be saving the defense in a lot of ways, though I can think of at least a couple of 3rd downs that they ended up getting off the field because the receiver dropped a catchable ball. I'm just saying that the defense's good aggregate stats might be as much of a mirage as the offense's low point totals (which 'should' be higher if not for red zone performance that isn't representative of their play with a longer field) and both could easily evaporate.
     
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