Say, remember those two desperate/courageous/insane Russian guys who last week took a tiny boat across a cold, dangerous Bering Strait from Russia to Alaska to avoid being sent to Ukraine with a doomed Russian army? My only guess is that they took stock of the situation and made the split second decision that, despite all the odds, it would probably be easier to pull out of Bristol Palin than Ukraine.
So, on the other hand, why have we stopped blitzing?
My eye said (or my mouth saw) “we’ve stopped blitzing” this season, and sure enough, we pretty much have, and I’m not sure why, but it seems like the defense (and by that measure, the team) is paying for it.
By www.pro-foootball-reference.com (pro tip, always be a good fellow and cite your sources), here are our defense’s “blitz percentages,” or the number of times a team blitzes a passer over the number of times the QB drops back to pass, and “pressure percentages,” which is (hurries + QB knockdowns + sacks) divided by dropbacks, in each case since 2018:
|Blitz %||League Rank||Pressure %||League Rank|
Looks like we used to be pretty good at mixing things up and getting after the passer, and now not so much. We’ve stopped blitzing, relying on the four down linemen to get to the opposing QB. And it’s not working.
Also, while we’re doing sort of OK in sacks (our 10 sacks ties us for a middlin’ 18-22 rank with four other teams), to my eye these feel like mostly coverage sacks, because we’re not really getting much pressure or hitting the QB. If the QB has time, and you’re not hitting him, to me that means you’re getting coverage sacks where the DL finally has time to get to the QB.
Why? Here’s why, and stay with me:
In the immortal words of Lord Keynes, better for one’s career to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally. In Allen’s role now, he’s not taking any chances. My thought is that this is an inherited job, and he doesn’t want to blow it in a highly visible fashion. We’re 10th in the NFL in total defense, but 27th in percentage of opponents drives that end in a score. We have one pick and three defensive fumble recoveries in five games. The defense isn’t taking any chances, and thus not giving up a ton of TDs (only 10 in five games) but also not making any big plays or setting up the offense, and it shows.
|Number of defensive possessions||Three & outs||Takeaways|
This defense isn’t getting off the field fast enough often enough, it’s giving up too many scores (even if it’s only a FG, this means the offense is starting at the 25 after a kickoff), and it’s not taking the ball away. It SEEMS like the defense is playing well, and in some respects it is, but not in a way that’s really moving the needle. Sadly, this is not how you win a Super Bowl, but it might prevent you getting fired too soon.
We can only hope that as Allen settles in and we get a little success, he’ll loosen up and remember what got him chosen to take over the head coach role in the first place.
Sad to see former Packers/Jets/Vikings QB and Saints punching bag Brett Favre continue his slide from “spectacular and charming redneck QB” to “typical dick-pic sharing moron” to “digusting small time guy conspiring to rip off welfare funds,” but there you are.
Remember, when you are the former best QB in the world, and the best promotion job you can get is “Tommy Copper spokesperson,” that’s the world telling you something.
As a final note, we are ONCE AGAIN reminded that this small person from a small town is from Kiln, Mississippi, which I have to assume the locals pronounce as “KINN-ull.” But again we digress.
But hey, a win on Sunday is a win on Sunday.
It’s not great to be 2-3, but this team has again absorbed a brutal number of injuries so far, especially at the QB, WR and DB positions, all of which are critical to this particular team’s success.
Not to mention that it seems like a lot of other teams are struggling with mediocrity, and there’s plenty of time to move up and separate yourself from the pack.
So, chin up, lads.
Claude will be along later in the week to help put this Andy Dalton thing into perspective. Until then,