Defensive Metrics


Dom Capers

Now that we are a quarter of the way into the season, and have played a mix of teams, it is a good time to compare the metrics of our defense agaisnt the 4th quarter of last season, to see if there is any improvement. How is the switch to a 3-4 defense going?

2009 1st quarter opponents:
Chicago, Cincinnatti, @St. Louis, @Minnesota

2008 4th quarter opponents:
Houston, @Jacksonville, @Chicago, Detroit

Scoring:
The ultimate measure, are they getting the job done or not, are they preventing the opponents offense from scoring?

2009 – 93 points, 23.3 ppg average
2008 – 85 points, 21.3 ppg average
Verdict – Decline

3rd Down Defense:
Good 3rd down defense prevents opponents from sustaining drives, forcing opponents to produce big plays to put points on the board.

2009 – 25/57, 43.9%
2008 – 21/54, 38.9%
Verdict – Decline

Run Defense:
If you can’t stop the run, you aren’t going to field a very successful defense, and your offense will have little time to try to put points on the board.

2009 – 128 att, 449 yd, 3.5 YPC, 13 TFL, 2 TD, 10 10+
2008 – 105 att, 405 yd, 3.9 YPC, 10 TFL, 3 TD, 7 10+
Verdict – Improvement

Pass Defense:
Anecdote says stopping the run is the key to winning football games. Statistical studies of the game, including the trends of past Superbowl winners, shows that stopping the pass is in fact the key to winning football games.

2009 – 75/126, 59.5%, 892 yd, 7.1 YPA, 9 TD, 7 Int, 82.8 Rating
2008 – 85/144, 59.0%, 1019 yd, 7.1 YPA, 7 TD, 5 Int, 82.5 Rating
Verdict – Push

Big Plays:
Often it isn’t good fundamentals that wins at the end of the day, in football big plays are king; they change momentum and put points on the board.

2009 – 15 20+, 3 fum, 7 int, 5 Sk, 2 DTD
2008 – 17 20+, 2 fum, 5 Int, 8 Sk, 0 DTD
Verdict – Improvement

Penalties:
Penalties can hamper even the best units, and are typically the hallmark of poorly focused and/or coached teams.

2009 – 10 defensive penalites
2008 – 8 defensive penalites
Verdict – decline

Time of Possession:
Could they get off the field? Were they worn down?

2009 – 128:16, 32:04 DTOP/gm
2008 – 119:52, 29:58 DTOP/gm
Verdict – decline

Overall:
Overall I think that we are seeing slight improvements to fundamental metrics over where we were at the end of last season, however it is ultimately not translating to 3rd downs or the bottom line. The TOP gives us a clear indication why, the D isn’t getting off the field, and when they can, the offense is struggling to do much with the ball.

Overall I think that the unit is schematically limited by the injury to the starting SS. As the players continue to adjust, Bigby returns from injury, and the coaches get a chance to self scout, I think that we will see the group show steady improvement in the next quarter of the season. The first quarter of the season after a major defensive shift is expected to be a little bumpy.

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