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Patrick Willis... Sackmaster?

  • Wodwo
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  • Posts: 8,104
Ok... second thread. I'll try not to ramble so much this time.

As we've all been aware, Willis has not been getting tackles at the rate we are accustomed to. Some have questioned his health, some have questioned his support from the defensive line, others have even been critical of Willis himself.

Whatever the reason for his lack of tackling production is, it seems that he is starting to overcome it. Through the first 6 games of the season he was averaging 7.8 tackles per game. Through the past five games, he has been averaging 9.8 tackles per game. Just to put that into perspective, last season Willis averaged 9.5 tackles per game on the year.

The thing that I find most interesting is that over the last three games Willis has recorded 4 sacks. He currently has 5 sacks in the books. This is an outstanding number for someone playing his role in a defense. Willis is our tackling machine... if you look at the statistics for linebackers around the league, you will notice that those with a high number of tackles rarely have a high number of sacks. Willis is currently ranked 7th overall in tackles for linebackers. The next linebacker on the list with more sacks than Willis right now is James Harrison who is ranked 24th and he has 10 sacks. The next linebacker with more sacks than Willis is Suggs and he is ranked 59th in tackles and has 7.5 sacks.

Now, I know that two of the sacks came against division opponents and we all know the NFC West is the short bus of the NFL. However, Josh Freeman doesn't take a high number of sacks... the guy is mobile and a load to bring down at 6-6 250. Willis sacked him twice.

It's just a trend that I noticed that I thought I'd bring up to see if anyone else thinks Willis is back to form and is also being utilized more in blitz packages. It's just got me all tingly and excited thinking that this trend might continue. If it does... he could end up with some beastly sack numbers to end the season.

It's most likely an anomaly and wont trend, but I can't help myself, so I looked at the numbers and I'll post them if anyone cares. I'm taking this way too far, I know... I'm just hungry for something positive about this team.

Teams After Bye Week With NFL.com Offensive Line Sack Ranking

Rams: 16th
Buccaneers: 11th
Cardinals: 31st
Packers: 12th
Seahawks: 23rd
Chargers: 21st
Rams: 16th
Cardinals: 31st

Huh. Willis had two sacks against the highest ranked team of the bunch. The rest aren't ranked very high, with the exception of Green Bay. Maybe there's a chance the trend continues... in my day dream.

If the trend does continue and he stays on pace with his sack numbers after the bye week, he could end up with 12 sacks. Now, don't go all apes**t on me, I know statistics... I passed the class at a University. It's just fun football statistics, so I don't bother with all the silly real statistical analysis. Hehe....

My point is... I think Willis is back, baby! Better, stronger, faster, meaner... soon to be hairy like a wild man!



So, does anyone else think Willis can continue getting sacks at anywhere near the pace he has been?
They got to use him to blitz more plain and simple. some of us been saying this for over 2 years now. They hardly ever let him attack. The last few games they did let him attack. Just like in the Saints game he got a huge sack on a a gap blitz and they never went back to it. It all comes down how Manusky uses him. i think they realize all the OLB'ers are fails at pass rushing so why not send Willis up the middle. He should take a page from Don Capers(who moves his linebackers all around) and move Willis around more often to have him blitzing from different spot or just as a decoy.
Originally posted by lamontb:
They got to use him to blitz more plain and simple. some of us been saying this for over 2 years now. They hardly ever let him attack. The last few games they did let him attack. Just like in the Saints game he got a huge sack on a a gap blitz and they never went back to it. It all comes down how Manusky uses him. i think they realize all the OLB'ers are fails at pass rushing so why not send Willis up the middle. He should take a page from Don Capers(who moves his linebackers all around) and move Willis around more often to have him blitzing from different spot or just as a decoy.

This, Willis' numbers are somewhat 'down' this year because defenses always know where he's going to be and how he'll be used. When you move him around and cut him lose on the QB once in a while good things will happen.
Originally posted by lamontb:
They got to use him to blitz more plain and simple. some of us been saying this for over 2 years now. They hardly ever let him attack. The last few games they did let him attack. Just like in the Saints game he got a huge sack on a a gap blitz and they never went back to it. It all comes down how Manusky uses him. i think they realize all the OLB'ers are fails at pass rushing so why not send Willis up the middle. He should take a page from Don Capers(who moves his linebackers all around) and move Willis around more often to have him blitzing from different spot or just as a decoy.

Perhaps if the Niners safeties and corners were more reliable, they could blitz Patrick more often.
I think they rely on him a lot in pass coverage. Just my opinion.......

[ Edited by kemp_j on Dec 2, 2010 at 09:59:56 ]
  • Wodwo
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  • Posts: 8,104
Originally posted by lamontb:
They got to use him to blitz more plain and simple. some of us been saying this for over 2 years now. They hardly ever let him attack. The last few games they did let him attack. Just like in the Saints game he got a huge sack on a a gap blitz and they never went back to it. It all comes down how Manusky uses him. i think they realize all the OLB'ers are fails at pass rushing so why not send Willis up the middle. He should take a page from Don Capers(who moves his linebackers all around) and move Willis around more often to have him blitzing from different spot or just as a decoy.

Yeah, this is the s**t I'm talking about! Defensive scheming, baby!

I think almost all of our real pressure comes from good blitzes. Why Manusky is so vanilla most of the time, I'll never know. That stunt that Lawson ran from the weak side against the Broncos where he knocked the stuffing out of Orton is exactly what we need to be doing more of.

You think Willis can keep up the pace if they keep blitzing him, though?
  • Wodwo
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Originally posted by kemp_j:


Perhaps if the Niners safeties and corners were more reliable, they could blitz Patrick more often.
I think they rely on him a lot in pass coverage. Just my opinion.......

Yeah, this is true. It's actually part of our base coverage scheme, I think, and not so much lack of confidence in our defensive backs. Something I've been b***hing about all season.
I love your posts!

To take this one step further, I think Manusky (scheme) is starting to get some balls and using Willis better. Last year we saw he had success with the MIKE blitz and even an occassional TED blitz. But with zero pressure from the SAM & WILL spots, why not. Willis is the "free man" in our defense; a defense that is designed around him to roam free and make plays. So why not blitz him up the gut more?

This year, I thought Manusky would take the next step and would put a premium on the pass rush with Brooks and LaBoy in as starters and Haralson in off the bench as well as Lawson but mostly for 3rd and long coverages or against a dominate pass-catching TE. Instead, the premium is on "setting the edge," forcing the run and dropping back in coverage.

Manusky has made this a one-dimensional, predictable 3-4 that is focsed on the run, giving up lots of yards between the 20's but few big plays and tightening up in the red zone.

Willis continues to be exposed in coverage, our middle is very soft in coverage but we are getting better at recognizing screens. B/c this defense is designed around Willis, he'll get his tackle stats and end up being top 3 but it is nice to see Manusky allowing him to use his speed and athleticism to get after the QB as well. I would not be surprised to see him end the season with 8-10 sacks this way.

[ Edited by NCommand on Dec 2, 2010 at 10:12:19 ]
  • Wodwo
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Originally posted by NCommand:
I love your posts!

To take this one step further, I think Manusky (scheme) is starting to get some balls and using Willis better. Last year we saw he had success with the MIKE blitz and even an occassional TED blitz. But with zero pressure from the SAM & WILL spots, why not. Willis is the "free man" in our defense; a defense that is designed around him to rom free and make plays. So why not blitz him up the gut more?

This year, I thought Manusky would take the next step and would put a premium on the pass rush with Brooks and LaBoy in as starters and Haralson in off the bench as well as Lawson but mostly for 3rd and long coverages or against a dominate pass-catching TE. Instead, the premium is on "setting the edge," forcing the run and dropping back in coverage.

Manusky has made this a one-dimensional, predictable 3-4 that is focsed on the run, giving up lots of yards between the 20's but few big plays and tightening up in the red zone.

Willis continues to be exposed in coverage, our middle is very soft in coverage but we are getting better at recognizing screens. B/c this defense is designed around Willis, he'll get his tackle stats and end up being top 3 but it is nice to see Manusky allowing him to use his speed and athleticism to get after the QB as well. I would no be surprised to see him end the season with 8-10 sacks this way.

Thanks! Warm fuzzy!

I think you see exactly the same thing I am. We only differ on Lawson, but I knew that already. I think Manusky isn't using him right, either. He needs to be moved around and we need to play to his strengths with blitzes and stunts.

Stupid vanilla ass defense.

You think maybe Singletary is influencing the defense the same way (we think) he is the offense?

I think we did confuse the hell out of Derek Anderson last week showing blitz before the snap and backing off into coverage, though. Doubt that works against Rodgers....

I want aggression! This "bend, but don't break" crap has been going on for far too long. Mora Jr. did the same thing with the 4-3 didn't he? It's so frustrating!
Originally posted by Wodwo:
Originally posted by lamontb:
They got to use him to blitz more plain and simple. some of us been saying this for over 2 years now. They hardly ever let him attack. The last few games they did let him attack. Just like in the Saints game he got a huge sack on a a gap blitz and they never went back to it. It all comes down how Manusky uses him. i think they realize all the OLB'ers are fails at pass rushing so why not send Willis up the middle. He should take a page from Don Capers(who moves his linebackers all around) and move Willis around more often to have him blitzing from different spot or just as a decoy.

Yeah, this is the s**t I'm talking about! Defensive scheming, baby!

I think almost all of our real pressure comes from good blitzes. Why Manusky is so vanilla most of the time, I'll never know. That stunt that Lawson ran from the weak side against the Broncos where he knocked the stuffing out of Orton is exactly what we need to be doing more of.

You think Willis can keep up the pace if they keep blitzing him, though?

I think he can b/c this is what gets players amped up. Especially during the week if Willis is in meetings hearing he's gonna be attacking more he's more into it. Manusky takes out and rotates a lot of players but we hardly ever see them move guys around. instead of always taking Manny or Parys out of the game how bout moving one of them to the inside for a play or 2. Let them blitz up the middle or fall back into coverage. Or come out on a play and put Spikes and Willis on the outside. They don't have to blitz, but give the opposing qb a different look and confuse his pre snap reads. I mean this is what the 3-4 is supposed to be all about. Instead they are straight up ben and jerry's vanilla offense.
  • Wodwo
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Originally posted by lamontb:


I think he can b/c this is what gets players amped up. Especially during the week if Willis is in meetings hearing he's gonna be attacking more he's more into it. Manusky takes out and rotates a lot of players but we hardly ever see them move guys around. instead of always taking Manny or Parys out of the game how bout moving one of them to the inside for a play or 2. Let them blitz up the middle or fall back into coverage. Or come out on a play and put Spikes and Willis on the outside. They don't have to blitz, but give the opposing qb a different look and confuse his pre snap reads. I mean this is what the 3-4 is supposed to be all about. Instead they are straight up ben and jerry's vanilla offense.

Thank you!


Let's get some movement and confusion going. I think we have to change our coverage scheme to do it, too.

Lawson playing inside make so much sense to me. It would confuse the QB, his height is a major factor playing zone in the middle, he can cover better than Willis, plus, y'know, shoot him in that gap, too. He's not as fast as he used to be, but he's still got speed.

They were also talking at the start of the season about using Brooks as the emergency back-up at TED. Now, why in the hell can't they just stick him in there, move Spikes over and stick Willis on the weak side? Seems fairly straight forward to me... confusion without loss of threat. Stunt Willis and Brooks... rush both or have Brooks cover the flat.

I bet we see less of the "almost" defense if we start doing this stuff.

I came up with an extremely complicated cover scheme to try and maximize the strengths of our personnel and allow our linebackers more freedom. We wouldn't even really need to get complicated... just stop playing pansy coverage. Hell, Clements is a better tackler than coverage guy anyway, just have him seal the edge. Hehehe....

Wow... ok.

/rant
Originally posted by Wodwo:
Originally posted by lamontb:


I think he can b/c this is what gets players amped up. Especially during the week if Willis is in meetings hearing he's gonna be attacking more he's more into it. Manusky takes out and rotates a lot of players but we hardly ever see them move guys around. instead of always taking Manny or Parys out of the game how bout moving one of them to the inside for a play or 2. Let them blitz up the middle or fall back into coverage. Or come out on a play and put Spikes and Willis on the outside. They don't have to blitz, but give the opposing qb a different look and confuse his pre snap reads. I mean this is what the 3-4 is supposed to be all about. Instead they are straight up ben and jerry's vanilla offense.

Thank you!


Let's get some movement and confusion going. I think we have to change our coverage scheme to do it, too.

Lawson playing inside make so much sense to me. It would confuse the QB, his height is a major factor playing zone in the middle, he can cover better than Willis, plus, y'know, shoot him in that gap, too. He's not as fast as he used to be, but he's still got speed.

They were also talking at the start of the season about using Brooks as the emergency back-up at TED. Now, why in the hell can't they just stick him in there, move Spikes over and stick Willis on the weak side? Seems fairly straight forward to me... confusion without loss of threat. Stunt Willis and Brooks... rush both or have Brooks cover the flat.

I bet we see less of the "almost" defense if we start doing this stuff.

I came up with an extremely complicated cover scheme to try and maximize the strengths of our personnel and allow our linebackers more freedom. We wouldn't even really need to get complicated... just stop playing pansy coverage. Hell, Clements is a better tackler than coverage guy anyway, just have him seal the edge. Hehehe....

Wow... ok.

/rant

Totally agre here! While I think Lawson will always be one of those "close but no cigar" guys as demonstrated 1,000 times over, I do think Manusky is using him and ALL of the LBers wrong, no doubt...it's safe to say we all agree that his scheme is as vanilla as it gets esp. for a 3-4 team.

But you bring upa good point...Davis was like this, Nolan was like this and now Manusky is like this. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Are the PLAYERS this one-dimensional forcing the DC to work with what he has or are the DC's forcing the players to play to their weaknesses?

We've talked a lot about the one-dimensional players we have, the square pegs, round role guys, etc. It's probably, like everthing in life, a combination of the two. But either way, this defense has NO excuses given the continuity of the personnel and scheme and years in it now.
Imagine what Willis could do in an LT role where he moves around with freedom to rush the passer at any time.

I agree that Manusky has made a few changes to counter what offenses are doing. However, part of the increased production comes at the expense of weaker teams.

This defense is still caught between a 3-4 and 4-3. They don't really have the right players for either system. In a perfect world, they would run the draft to bring in other players to go to a 4-3 and allow Willis to blitz more. With four down linemen free to go after the QB plus Willis, we might finally get the pass rush punch we need. A strong pass rush will make a mediocre secondary look much better.
Originally posted by Wodwo:
Originally posted by lamontb:


I think he can b/c this is what gets players amped up. Especially during the week if Willis is in meetings hearing he's gonna be attacking more he's more into it. Manusky takes out and rotates a lot of players but we hardly ever see them move guys around. instead of always taking Manny or Parys out of the game how bout moving one of them to the inside for a play or 2. Let them blitz up the middle or fall back into coverage. Or come out on a play and put Spikes and Willis on the outside. They don't have to blitz, but give the opposing qb a different look and confuse his pre snap reads. I mean this is what the 3-4 is supposed to be all about. Instead they are straight up ben and jerry's vanilla offense.

Thank you!


Let's get some movement and confusion going. I think we have to change our coverage scheme to do it, too.

Lawson playing inside make so much sense to me. It would confuse the QB, his height is a major factor playing zone in the middle, he can cover better than Willis, plus, y'know, shoot him in that gap, too. He's not as fast as he used to be, but he's still got speed.

They were also talking at the start of the season about using Brooks as the emergency back-up at TED. Now, why in the hell can't they just stick him in there, move Spikes over and stick Willis on the weak side? Seems fairly straight forward to me... confusion without loss of threat. Stunt Willis and Brooks... rush both or have Brooks cover the flat.

I bet we see less of the "almost" defense if we start doing this stuff.

I came up with an extremely complicated cover scheme to try and maximize the strengths of our personnel and allow our linebackers more freedom. We wouldn't even really need to get complicated... just stop playing pansy coverage. Hell, Clements is a better tackler than coverage guy anyway, just have him seal the edge. Hehehe....

Wow... ok.

/rant

Wait a second, you're saying that because Willis is fourth in the league in tackles this year instead of second you want to move him around and put him on the outside? You do realize the other LBs you compared him to have less tackles because they play OLB, right? You do realize Willis being a sideline to sideline player is one of his greatest strengths, and you want to cut him off from half the field, right?

And you're saying you want to take a tall and lean OLB who has trouble holding the point of attack at the edge because he's not strong enough, who disappears for large stretches of the game and have him play ILB?

Yes, I did read what you wrote. It's just batty.
  • Wodwo
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Originally posted by NCommand:

Totally agre here! While I think Lawson will always be one of those "close but no cigar" guys as demonstrated 1,000 times over, I do think Manusky is using him and ALL of the LBers wrong, no doubt...it's safe to say we all agree that his scheme is as vanilla as it gets esp. for a 3-4 team.

But you bring upa good point...Davis was like this, Nolan was like this and now Manusky is like this. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Are the PLAYERS this one-dimensional forcing the DC to work with what he has or are the DC's forcing the players to play to their weaknesses?

We've talked a lot about the one-dimensional players we have, the square pegs, round role guys, etc. It's probably, like everthing in life, a combination of the two. But either way, this defense has NO excuses given the continuity of the personnel and scheme and years in it now.

I hope we get an aggressive creative defensive coordinator this offseason.

I think Spencer actually played in Mora Jr.'s defense, too, didn't he? Might be a year off....

Yeah, no excuses.... I see players making the same mistakes over and over. There has to be something wrong with the coaching. The only unit that I've seen improve is the d-line... I think Tomsula might be the only guy who knows how to teach.

Willis is still a BEAST, though! He's gonna look more like one if (after) we miss the playoffs this year, too.

ive got a sack for him to master right here