Why register with the Steelers Fever Forums?
 • Intelligent and friendly discussions.
 • It's free and it's quick. Always.
 • Enter events in the forums calendar.
 • Very user friendly software.
 • Exclusive contests and giveaways.

 Donate to Steelers Fever, Click here
 Our 2014 Goal: $450.00 - To Date: $450.00 (100.00%)
 Home | Forums | Editorials | Shop | Tickets | Downloads | Contact Pittsburgh Steelers Forum Feed Not Just Fans. Hardcore Fans.

Go Back   Steelers Fever Forums > Steelers Football > Pittsburgh Steelers


Steelers Fever Fan Shop

Doc's Sports Get FREE NFL Picks and College Football picks as well as Football Lines like live NFL Lines and updated NFL Power Rankings all at Doc's Sports Service.

Steelers

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-20-2009, 12:00 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
A Son of Martha
Supporter
 

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Mesa, Arizona
Posts: 7,976
Gender: Male
Member Number: 10438
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=090...s&confirm=true

Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

Pat Kirwan By Pat Kirwan | NFL.com
Senior Analyst
Associated Press

James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley led the Steelers' top-ranked third down defense in 2009.

Every NFL defense works hard to get its opponent to third down. If they aren't successful on third down, however, their efforts were for naught. When a team's first and second down defense is effective, it opens things up for the designated pass rusher and the nickelback.

A good third-down defense is also a good two-minute defense. Teams that win in these situations can go far in the NFL.

Team 3rd% Total Sacks Sacks/drop back
1. Pittsburgh 31.4 51 11.5
2. Philadelphia 32.2 48 11.9
t-3. Baltimore 33.5 34 16.5
t-3. Minnesota 33.5 45 12.7
5. Chicago 34.9 28 23.2
6. Tennessee 35.0 44 14.1
7. Washington 35.6 44 22.3
8. Dallas 35.7 59 9.6
9. Buffalo 36.1 24 21.5
10. Miami 37.8 40 14.8

The best third-down defenses have a combination of these qualities:

A premier pass rusher that forces the protection to slide to him.
A very effective rusher on the opposite side, who can take advantage of the single block.
A wave of rushers that can keep the unit fresh.
A power rusher inside to collapse a pocket.
A nickelback who can take a slot receiver or blitz.
A matchup corner that can handle an elite receiver.
A creative coach that knows when rush or drop back in coverage.
A front office that knows how to find the talent to build an effective third-down unit.

Every bit of the formula is required to be a top third down defense.

Here is my best educated guess as to who will have the top 10 third-down defenses in 2009. They all have an issue or two to overcome, but they each have the ingredients to be the best. The NFC East dominates this all-important aspect of the pro game.

In 2008, the NFC East generated 173 sacks, which led all divisions. This year the division has and added Albert Haynesworth, Osi Umenyiora (returning from injury), and rookie Brian Orakpo. The addition of that kind of talent could push the division close to 190 sacks.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers finished 2008 as the No. 1 team on third down, holding opponents to a 31.4 percent conversion rate. Pittsburgh had two players record double-digit sacks (James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley combined for 27.5 sacks) and they had the best pass attempt-to-sack ratio, delivering a sack once out of every 11.5 drop backs. LB Lawrence Timmons steps into the starting lineup this year and should build on the five sacks he tallied in limited play last year.

In the secondary, Troy Polamalu puts significant pressure on opposing quarterbacks by disguising the coverages. That's a big part of what makes Dick LeBeau's schemes so effective. William Gay makes the loss of Bryant McFadden tolerable and rookie lineman Ziggy Hood adds a quick defender up front to pressure quarterbacks.

(This is why the Steelers will win the Super Bowl again. It's not because of some silliness like five wide receivers it's because we have the dominate defense. Also notice which team is not in the top 10. That would be the wretched Cheatriots and it's why they won't win the Super Bowl this year. I don't care how many wide receivers they have. - mesa)


2. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles had 16 different players sack the quarterback last year. That speaks to the creative scheming of the coaching staff and the roster depth assembled by the front office. Philadelphia sacked the quarterback once every 11.9 drop backs and returns every key player in its pass rush group. The secondary lost veteran safety Brian Dawkins, but the addition of Ellis Hobbs on the corner gives Philadelphia excellent nickel and dime coverage groups.

Last year, the Eagles were the second-ranked third-down defense, holding teams to just a 32.2 percent success rate. The big question for the Eagles is the potential loss of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who is battling cancer. Hopefully Johnson will still have an influence on this great defense.

3. New York Giants

The Giants may have the best pass defense when the season is over due to the amount of skilled pass rushers they have on the roster. Last year, the Giants overcame the retirement of Michael Strahan and the loss of Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora to finish sixth in sacks with 42. The offseason additions of Rocky Bernard, Chris Canty and rookie LB Clint Sintim give the G-men two full waves of pass rushers. They have Justin Tuck opposite Umenyiora, which prevents teams from sliding protection to one side or the other.

Expectations are for 25-plus combined sacks from the top two rushers. The secondary is a year older -- Aaron Ross is emerging as a top-flight cover corner and Terrell Thomas should be a fine nickel corner -- but the loss of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is a factor. Only time will tell if his absence hurts the creative game planning, but the talent to win on third down is in place.


4. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers were off the radar screen last year when Shawne Merriman was lost for the season after just one game and corner Antonio Cromartie played with an injured hip. Both men are back in 2009 and the addition of rookie Larry English gives them a third outside linebacker to go along with Merriman and Shaun Phillips, who will be much more effective back at his normal position.

In the secondary, keep an eye on rookie Kevin Ellison. Defensive coordinator Ron Rivera has had plenty of good things to say about him.

5. Washington Redskins

The Redskins quietly finished as a top-10 defense last year and ranked seventh on third downs. The added presence of Haynesworth on early downs should make third downs longer than last year and his pass rush skills will change the production of the whole defense.

DE Andre Carter should return to his 2007 form when he grabbed 10.5 sacks, and Orakpo should get single blocked all year. Fred Smoot is a capable nickelback, with Carlos Rogers and DeAngelo Hall as the starting corners.

6. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys were No. 1 in sacks last year with 59. That worked out to a respectable rate of one sack for every 9.6 drop backs, but they ultimately were not the third-down defense they should have been. With Wade Phillips now calling the defense, the change in coaching philosophy will help. And as Phillips told me back in March, the addition of safety Gerald Sensabaugh gives them a safety who can handle the matchup problems they had in 2008.

The release of Greg Ellis could come back to haunt this team. It is possible they are ranked too high at this point, but I do like the corners (Terence Newman, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick).

Ravens' D to be tested
After dominating the NFL for the past decade, the Ravens' defense enters the 2009 season squarely at a crossroads with a new defensive coordinator set to take the controls. http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=090...s&confirm=true

7. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens ranked No. 3 in third-down defense last year. They lost defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, linebacker Bart Scott and safety Jim Leonhard, but they still have a great pass rusher in Terrell Suggs and the league's most dangerous ball-hawk safety in Ed Reed.
mesaSteeler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2009, 12:01 AM   #2
mesaSteeler
A Son of Martha
Supporter
 

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Mesa, Arizona
Posts: 7,976
Gender: Male
Member Number: 10438
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

8. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are well known for their run defense but they also finished fourth in third-down defense last year, holding opponents to a 33.5 percent success rate. Minnesota creates its opportunities by forcing third-and-long situations.

DE Jared Allen changed everything for this defense on third downs. When teams work their protections to him, Kevin Williams becomes a big factor in the middle of the line. If the Williams wall misses the first four games, things will be tough on the Vikings defense. Last year they produced a sack once every 12.7 drop backs, which made them a top-five rush unit.

In the secondary, Darren Sharper is gone and that affects the depth and experience at safety. It would be the story of the year if Kenechi Udeze can return from Leukemia to be a factor. Udeze told me last week that he feels he can contribute in 2009.

9. Tennessee Titans

It's going to be different in Tennessee without Haynesworth and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. The Titans have been able to apply pressure with a four-man pass rush without having to do much blitzing. That may change this season, which will tax the secondary. Fourteen different Titans got to the quarterback last year, but that number may fall without Haynesworth on the field.
10. New York Jets and Miami Dolphins

Some would never think of the Jets as having a top-10 third-down defense, but they have some very positive factors at work right now. Ryan will bring more aggressive schemes and turn players like Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas and even Vernon Gholston loose to get after the QB. There should be a marked improvement in their sack total (40) and their third-down success rate (39 percent) next season.

A few years ago, Bart Scott had a terrific season blitzing the QB and Ryan will likely have him do more of that in 2009. Lito Sheppard teams up with Darrelle Revis on the corner and DT Kris Jenkins will be used like Haloti Ngata was in Baltimore.

The Dolphins got a big year from Joey Porter last season and they should again this year as Jason Taylor returns to line up opposite him on third down. Matt Roth will handle the run downs and let Taylor play a role similar to the one John Abraham occupies in Atlanta.

Keep an eye on LB Cameron Wake as a designated pass rusher. The addition of rookie corners Vontae Davis and Sean Smith give the Fish two big corners that will make releasing difficult for receivers.
mesaSteeler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2009, 06:01 AM   #3
Galax Steeler
The Virginia Hillbilly
Supporter
 
Galax Steeler's Avatar
 

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Galax Va
Posts: 105,256
Gender: Male
Member Number: 3287
Thanks: 1,392
Thanked 3,934 Times in 1,651 Posts
My Mood: Lurking
Default Re: Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

You mean we are finally starting to get some respect in the nfl. I thought we had been forgotten. Like everyone knows though we like to fly under the radar.
__________________
Galax Steeler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2009, 11:03 AM   #4
Godfather
Living Legend
Supporter
 

Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,140
Member Number: 547
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

I'd like to see a statistical breakdown of which stats are most correlated to winning--ie the team that does better on third downs or turnovers or rushing yards usually wins.

I'm guessing third down percentage is near the top.
Godfather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2009, 01:10 PM   #5
Psyychoward86
Living Legend
 

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 3,463
Gender: Male
Member Number: 10772
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

dam right we're #1. If we were the #1 defense last year with the toughest schedule, imagine what we can do with one of the easiest
Psyychoward86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2009, 04:06 PM   #6
lamberts-lost-tooth
Banned
 
lamberts-lost-tooth's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Midwest
Posts: 10,829
Gender: Male
Member Number: 2363
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default Re: Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfather View Post
I'd like to see a statistical breakdown of which stats are most correlated to winning--ie the team that does better on third downs or turnovers or rushing yards usually wins.

I'm guessing third down percentage is near the top.
3rd down defense
1 Pittsburgh Steelers.........(12-4)
2 Philadelphia Eagles.......(9-6)
3 Baltimore Ravens...........(11-5)
4 Minnesota Vikings...........(10-6)
5 Chicago Bears.................(9-7)
6 Tennessee Titans...........(13-3)
7 Washington Redskins....(8-8)
8 Dallas Cowboys...............(9-7)
9 Buffalo Bills........................(7-9)
10 Miami Dolphins..............(11-5)

Rushing
1 New York Giants 157.4..........(12-4)
2 Atlanta Falcons 152.7.............(11-5)
3 Carolina Panthers 152.3.........(12-4)
4 Baltimore Ravens 148.5..........(11-5)
5 Minnesota Vikings 146.1.........(10-6)
6 New England Patriots 142.4...(11-5)
7 Tennessee Titans 137.4.........(13-3)
8 Washington Redskins 130.9..(8-8)
9 New York Jets 125.2.................(9-7)
10 Oakland Raiders 124.2..........(5-11)


Turnovers
1 Miami Dolphins +17..........(11-5)
2 Tennessee Titans +14.....(13-3)
3 Baltimore Ravens +13.......(11-5)
4 Indianapolis Colts +9..........(12-4)
5 New York Giants +9............(12-4)
6 Green Bay Packers +7.......(6-10)
7 Carolina Panthers +6.........(12-4)
8 Cleveland Browns +5.........(4-12)
9 Chicago Bears +5................(9-7)
10 Kansas City Chiefs +5.......(2-14)

Top ten 3rd down defense combined for a record of......100-60
Top ten rushing teams combined for a record of ............102-58
Top ten turnover teams combined for a record of.............92-68
lamberts-lost-tooth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2009, 10:01 PM   #7
LVSteelersfan
Living Legend
 
LVSteelersfan's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 3,938
Gender: Male
Member Number: 6620
Thanks: 17
Thanked 571 Times in 407 Posts
My Mood: Yeehaw
Default Re: Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

Despite the fact that we clobbered the Patriots at home last year (only player missing was Brady), we still get no respect when it comes to Super Bowl picks in the upcoming season. One hit to Brady's knee and he could be gone again. Their line was pathetic enough last year that Cassell was sacked more times than Ben. I don't see Brady being that much better. Our D will carry us again and I think the Offense is going to shine this year with Ben coming into his best years.
__________________

COACH - Breakfast of Champions !!!
LVSteelersfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2009, 10:51 PM   #8
Riddle_Of_Steel
Head Coach
 
Riddle_Of_Steel's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Escondido, CA
Posts: 1,955
Gender: Male
Member Number: 13727
Thanks: 2
Thanked 887 Times in 442 Posts
Default Re: Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by LVSteelersfan View Post
Despite the fact that we clobbered the Patriots at home last year (only player missing was Brady), we still get no respect when it comes to Super Bowl picks in the upcoming season. One hit to Brady's knee and he could be gone again. Their line was pathetic enough last year that Cassell was sacked more times than Ben. I don't see Brady being that much better. Our D will carry us again and I think the Offense is going to shine this year with Ben coming into his best years.
Yeah, most people,even the experts keep citing the age on the Pats' defense as being their weakness, but honestly, their defense is "younger" than ours. Makes me wonder how some of these pundits are called "experts".

Actually, the Pats gave up one less sack than us (we finished with 49 allowed, and the Pats allowed 48). But, yeah, their offensive line was their weakness in SB XLII, and they picked up right where they left off when Brady went down in the first game of the season this year. And their poor, turnstile-like performance continued throughout the season. Matt Light is washed up and on the backside of his career.

AND THE PATS CHOSE TO SPEND NO EFFORT TO UPGRADE THEIR OLINE THIS OFFSEASON.....NOT ONE PICK, NOT ONE FREE AGENT ACQUISITION.

What happens when you put an already gimped up QB behind a porous offensive line? Especially, after SB XLII, the teams with good pass rushes could "smell the blood" in NE, and not surprisingly, one of the worst pass rushes (KC) took Brady out in the first game.

I don't think that BB doesn't notice that his Oline is aging like vinegar, it is just that the Patriots' window is closing, and they had too many glaring roster needs to be able to address their Oline this offseason, even with all the picks they had. I mean, they had to pretty much replace their whole defense the last two offseasons....

I hope the Pats are still running with that same Oline if we face themin the post-season this year-- Brady will end up as a blue grease spot on the front of #56, #92, or #94's jerseys.....
__________________
GO STEELERS!!
"On the S-2-7 train"
Riddle_Of_Steel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2009, 03:21 PM   #9
fansince'76
Living Legend
Supporter
 

Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 17,662
Member Number: 1984
Thanks: 290
Thanked 1,410 Times in 511 Posts
Default Re: Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riddle_Of_Steel View Post
Yeah, most people,even the experts keep citing the age on the Pats' defense as being their weakness, but honestly, their defense is "younger" than ours. Makes me wonder how some of these pundits are called "experts".

Actually, the Pats gave up one less sack than us (we finished with 49 allowed, and the Pats allowed 48). But, yeah, their offensive line was their weakness in SB XLII, and they picked up right where they left off when Brady went down in the first game of the season this year. And their poor, turnstile-like performance continued throughout the season. Matt Light is washed up and on the backside of his career.

AND THE PATS CHOSE TO SPEND NO EFFORT TO UPGRADE THEIR OLINE THIS OFFSEASON.....NOT ONE PICK, NOT ONE FREE AGENT ACQUISITION.

What happens when you put an already gimped up QB behind a porous offensive line? Especially, after SB XLII, the teams with good pass rushes could "smell the blood" in NE, and not surprisingly, one of the worst pass rushes (KC) took Brady out in the first game.

I don't think that BB doesn't notice that his Oline is aging like vinegar, it is just that the Patriots' window is closing, and they had too many glaring roster needs to be able to address their Oline this offseason, even with all the picks they had. I mean, they had to pretty much replace their whole defense the last two offseasons....

I hope the Pats are still running with that same Oline if we face themin the post-season this year-- Brady will end up as a blue grease spot on the front of #56, #92, or #94's jerseys.....
You're forgetting about the new "15-yard-penalty-and-automatic-ejection-and-fine-for-anyone-who-so-much-as-breathes-on-the-Golden-Boy" rule. Of course, Ben will continue to routinely get hit late and piledriven into the turf without consequence as always.
fansince'76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2009, 04:08 PM   #10
AllD
Team Owner
 

Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,586
Member Number: 11931
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Breaking down 'the money down' for NFL defenses

Many other will say the Patriots have the best third down defense because Brady is the QB.
AllD is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Shoutbox provided by vBShout v6.2.1 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.0.8 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.
Navbar with Avatar by Motorradforum
no new posts