Originally posted by Pillbusta:
Originally posted by CullyInTheHouse:
I don't see Willis as a glorified strong safety. His ability to cover opposing teams TE's one on one gives us the ability to do so many things. There is a reason we allow the least amount of big plays because our safeties get to play over the top.
Bowman nor Willis will get the gaudy stats such as TFLs due to our scheme. We simply don't blitz enough, but a lot of that is on Fangio.
Justin Smith said stats are for losers. Loser ball
I disagree of course. There is a reason why "sexy stats" are sexy. It's because they are disruptive and potentially game changing plays. They can provide a swing in momentum. Obviously sound fundamentals and execution of assignment are the primary ingredients for winning. And your not going to win a game without players willing to do the "dirty work." However, don't discount the real and/or psychological impact of disruptive plays like TFL, sacks, effective blitzs, interceptions or hard hits and stripped balls resulting in a turnover. I'm glad we aren't giving up big plays, but now we are getting run on and nickel and dimed which results in long extended drives and a tired defense. I'm not saying our defense doesn't work as its solid to very good, but I don't think we are as good as we could be with all the talent we have. Based on our roster name recognition, offenses shouldn't be able to do much, but that hasn't been the case.
Its great that Willis is talented enough to chase down big fast TEs, but I'd argue that's not were he is most effective. Willis is a wall and a one man running back wrecking crew. He's a much better tackler than Bowman. In fact, I've see Bowman miss more tackles in the last year, than I've seen Willis miss in his whole career. IMO, there is a reason our D was stout against the run for all those years and not as much so in the last couple; Willis is no longer roaming the line of scrimmage. If anything, I feel like Bowman and Willis' rolls should be reversed. I do think Bowman has better instinct in the passing game, so I'm puzzled as to why he's not the one covering TEs. My only guess is that he lacks the speed?
Anyway, when I think of real defensive game changers that aren't pass rushers, they all seem to be allowed a certain level of freedom. Whether its Ray Lewis, Ed Reid, Brain Urlacher, Troy P or Willis of a few years ago, they all are allowed to mix physical talent with instinct. I don't think we allow our two great LBs that same freedom. And while our defense is good, I think its preventing it from becoming great.