Originally posted by NCommand:
There is some truth here but it's only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is that b/c our secondary could not cover, esp. in the playoffs, the pass rush couldn't get there and get those "coverage sacks." There are a TON of reasons why our secondary failed and some had nothing to do with the pass rush:
- Fangio (Scheme) - IMHO, d/t poor personnel at the S positions, (range, speed, lack of over-the-top help esp. along the sidelines, short, mismatches, IQ, etc.) Fangio played the odds and started our S's, sometimes as deep as 30 yards to "keep everything in front of them and avoid the big plays." Picture Culliver in the Superbowl and then ask yourself, was there a S even in the general vicinity? Nope! Fangio has the best LBers in the NFL but used 3 of them in coverage a TON. Ever wonder why? The big concern I have with his scheme is the same as it's always been...playing his CB's a mile off on 3rd downs (even 3rd and shorts). The worst is when he dials up a blitz but then plays his CB's a mile off giving the QB an easy pitch-n-catch (an easy hot read). It drives me NUTS!!!! He's very VaNolan-like in this aspect and there was no reason to play this way when you have a more dynamic offense.
- Whitner - gave up 14 TD's alone...worst in the NFL. He's short, slow and was abused ALL YEAR consistently in the RZ by TE's, RB's and slot WR's. He was also consistently poor in this area last year and this is WITH help underneath by Willis/Bowman (another concern of mine).
- Goldson - was he EVER matched up on a TE in the RZ/EZ? Had he EVER knocked down a pass along the sidelines on over-the-top coverage? Missed tackles, poor angles, personal foul penalties, blown coverages, beat on double moves even after starting 20 yards deep, etc. Good physical talent, timing on hits, intimidator but didn't have the speed or range needed to help out our CB's. Not the smartest guy either. If you were Fangio, you can't blitz your LB's (play them more down hill) b/c of the poor S play.
- Brown/Rogers - not the most physical of CB's to say the least (the anti-Seattle). But what concerned me most is that their technique became complacent/weak as the year went on. In fact, Rogers got almost ALL of his INT's the previous year by breaking off coverage and under-cutting (disguised) routes. He didn't do that ONE time last year. Huge drop off across the board on INT's and pass breakups (I believe). Very vanilla. In fact, their entire mindset changed. I can hardly remember either playing a ball in the air. It's almost like they were coached to play the ball once the WR's body language demonstrated the ball arriving vs. keeping the WR at bay AND playing the QB/ball at the same time. As a result of a different "focus" INT's went way down. Rogers struggles in the slot now too (age/motivation). To me, he half-assesd it all year and Baalke took notice...welcome Nnamdi! We are susceptible to WR's like Amendola who can be moved all over the field. That demonstrates a vanilla scheme and poor personnel/adjustments. Both CB's are short and always lose the jump-ball plays and are easily out-muscled.
- Culliver - again, physically talented, physical and a intimidator but not the sharpest tool in the shed. We weren't beat by better QB's...we were beat by teams with much bigger, taller, stronger, more physical WR's. Culliver has the pedigree Baalke is now looking for but does he have the brains to take it to the next (starting) level?
Great post. The premise of the poster seems to be our pass D was better this year than last, for the most part. Yet, our D was world class intimidating last year, and got soft this year. Forget the stats. We hurt people last year. This year, we were hurt. The dichotomy between playoffs vs regular season is not right. We started falling apart vs new england. We had a laugher with the Cards, but otherwise we were strugging on D for the 8 weeks prior to the Super Bowl, in both regular and post season.