Here is my take on the Defense based on what I saw yesterday and this season -
- As long as the officials are refusing to call holds on offensive linemen who are just short of sexually molesting Freeney and Mathis, the Colts defense will not be able to stop anyone:
- The Colts have invested their resources in Freeney and Mathis on the defensive side of the ball; honestly, I don't think there are any Pro-Bowl caliber players on that defense with the exception of these 2 guys and Bethea. Our LB group is mediocre, our DT's are decent, our CB's are mediocre (with the exception of Powers, who is a stud when healthy) and one of our Safeties appears to be a non-factor.
- I am not talking about Freeney and Mathis getting held occasionally, it is damn near every play; I understand that these guys are beasts, but based on the fact that these 2 guys are the reason the Colts D can function, Refs need to stop overlooking how bad these guys get held and stop cutting the Offensive Linemen a break. Both these guys utilize moves that require speed, an uncanny amount of balance, setting the O-linemen up and mixing up attacks. Hell they even discuss with each other as to what each one will be doing in a pass rushing situation..."Mathis you take your guy inside, force the QB to get out of his pocket, I will take the outside and catch him from behind". As soon as one of these 2 guys are held for a split second, the pass rush is crushed....an arm bar when a club-over is used will result in an absolute loss of momentum and balance, thus buying the QB far more time than they should be having. A simple tug on the back of the jersey when a spin move is executed will throw off the timing of the spin as well as the ability for the DE to use his elbow to shield to O-linemen off because the balance coming off the spin move is completely shot.
Let's take a look at some good defenses and how they succeed...
GB - Clay Matthews & Charles Woodson - Woodson is responsible to shut down the #1 receiver, while Matthews is responsible to get pressure on the QB from that 3-4 scheme. Why this works? Well, the opportunity to hold a rushing LB in a 3-4 is significantly decreased because Clay is able to obtain full speed prior to being contacted by a lineman and in the event there is a hold, the incident is so secluded as it is separated from the other linemen that it becomes incredibly obvious to the officials; there isn't a cluster f*ck of offensive linemen and d-linemen going at in which a hold can be overlooked...LB's attacking in a 3-4 scheme tend to stand out on their own.
Jets - They are able to succeed by having 2 shut down corners which opens up a blitz happy playbook as they can afford to lose the over the top help since Revis Island tends to handle things on his own. They succeed by the pressure created from the blitz, not necessarily their D-line. This forces the opposing QBs to throw errand passes in hopes of avoiding the sack/fumble.
Now, the Colts took a different approach - playing the 4-3 defense, Polian built this D to create pressure from the end position without needing to blitz...this offers us the opportunity to allocate more resources to our coverage in the linebacking/secondary group as additional pressure does not need to be brought. However, as soon as one or both of our pressure creating D-ends are held, the play is pretty much done; I don't feel that our line has the ability to obtain "coverage sacks" as I don't think that our secondary can hang with good receivers for as long as is expected.
The game yesterday showed exactly all of this...added with the scrambling ability of Michael Vick, our D was pretty much doomed. Mathis and Freeney got mauled time and time again, the quickness of the Eagles receivers was too much to handle, and without being able to get the quick pressure from the end positions (thanks to the holds), Jackson appeared to be in complete separation time and time again.
Refs, please open your eyes to what is happening on the Line of Scrimmage...this should have gotten easier for you to see by lining you up behind the last offensive player...get on a prescription plan, or I might just consider putting you on mine.