REASON #3 Our Front 3 run D is still solid
I have to admit, I was a bit confused when I first heard of all the interest in Mount Cody as our first rd pick. To me, in 2008 we had certainly the most underrated run def in the league and I know at one point(I don't know if it was after week 6 or week 7) we were actually the #1 rated run D in the NFL in 2009. Then came the Carolina game and south it went.
But what happend to the 2008 D? We basically had the same players from a year ago, save 2: Clark Haggans becoming the full-time starter and Calais Campbell in for Antonio Smith. I decided to look at the numbers and see what the problem was.
2008 Rank #16 445-1764 yds 110.3 YPG 13-TD's 4.0 YPC
2009 Rank #17 402-1804 yds 112.8YPG 13-TD's 4.5 YPC
And there it is! Everything else is similar except we went from 4.0 to 4.5 in one year. Now I know why everyone is upset. But there is something wrong. If we awere getting gashed for a full 1/2 yard per carry more, why weren't teams running MORE vs us, not LESS? Well let's go inside the numbers.
First off, let's look at exactly how teams attacked us. The NFL has become more of a passing league(54.8% pass to 45.2% run), but when it comes to teams passing vs US it is even more unbalanced(59.6% pass to 40.2% run). But even in running situations, like on 1st down(58.5% pass to 41.5% run) or 3rd and short(3 yards or less) (50% pass- 50%). teams attacked, at least what they percieve is our weakness, our ability to defend the pass. So if teams are attacking us vs the pass, shouldn't that be what we are shoring up?
I noticed right away our longest run from scrimmage allowed in 2008 was 41 yds and I knew we had topped that in 2009 and we did. FOUR TIMES! Now at a certain point during the success of a running play, you must put more blame on the 2nd line of defense, the LB's and not DL. The first 10 yards, hey DL gotta do a better job. But after that the LB's must make plays. So I checked how many 10 + yard plays we gave up year to year.
2008- 28 runs 10+
2009- 43 runs 10 +
This is a HUGE jump and, to me, shows just how poor our LB play was and played a huge part in why our YPC average went up so much.
Part 2 of reason 3 to follow.