Preseason Defensively Speaking

Tony has another top-quality piece for us. Enjoy!

I've had my say about our new look offense under first year OC, Bill Lazor this preseason. Now I want to have a few words about Coyle and Company.

It seems we looked pretty much like we picked up where we left off last December. Our linebackers and secondary whiffed something awful, missing tackles and allowing a lot of after the catch yardage versus the Falcons. (As well as running backs getting yardage after initial contact).

It turned out to be our worst showing. We didn't get any turn overs or sacks in the game. Atlanta racked up 84 yards rushing and 288 yards passing. The defense did keep us in the game, though. The final score was 16 to 10, in their favor.

After practicing during the week on the fundamentals of wrapping up and tackling, our meeting with Tampa Bay went somewhat better. The Buccaneers totaled 91 yards rushing and only 159 yards passing. We forced 2 turn overs, (fumbles) and got 5 sacks. The final score was 20 to 14. (Tampa Bay got a pick six and their late game scoring drive was nothing more than garbage points for them when it didn't matter).

Our third contest was against the Dallas Cowboys. (The dress rehearsal where most of the starters would stay in the game until the early third quarter). Dallas was a top 5 team last year on offense so this would be a good test for our defense. The Cowboys only mustered 94 yards rushing and 157 yards through the air. We got 3 sacks and forced a fumble. Our defense stymied them late in the game allowing us to come from behind to score two TD's and win it 25 to 20. A good showing against a potent offense.

The Saint Louis Rams had us down 13 to 0 going into the fourth quarter. Tannehill and just about all of our starters were kept on the bench, to save them for the regular season. Still, the defense held the Rams to 87 yards on the ground and 178 in the air. We managed to get 5 sacks and once again scored two TD's in the fourth quarter for the come back win.

In 2013, we allowed an average of 234.5 yards passing, 124.9 yards rushing and 20.90 points.
In 2014, we allowed an average of 195.5 yards passing,   95.5 yards rushing and 15.75 points.

Of course, these are only preseason games, (and 4 at that) but we did not allow a 100 yard rushing game and in 3 games we got 13 total sacks. (Tied for second best in preseason). The defense held our opponents to fewer yards and points per game, (on average) than we averaged in all three of these categories.

Overall, Miami is tied for second in average yards per play in preseason, too. (4.4 yards per play).
The Dolphins are 9th in overall defense. 13th against the pass and 8th versus the rush.
We are second behind the Bronco's 9 yard longest running play from scrimmage with  a 14 yard run.

Defensively, we will have 2 starting players out with 4 game suspensions to start the regular season. Aside from inconsistent tackling and receiver/tight end coverage by our line backers, I expect our defense will be improved this season. At least in the top 15, (or maybe 10).  That will be enough to make us competitive in the play offs. Yes I said playoffs.

The defensive line and secondary are a versatile,stout group. There is good athleticism and speed on this roster. If Wheeler or Ellerbe cannot get it together we have some fresh talent that can be worked into the mix to either spur them along or take their place, outright.

I like where this team is going and that Philbin/Coyle are not afraid to tap into the youth movement. It's been a while since we had rookies that showed such promise. This means Hickey is doing his job, too.

Now that this blog is over I can concentrate on our game with New England. And I can not believe CBS has decided to show the game in 39% of the market, which means I will get to see the game here in Oregon. I will still be popping in and out of the Shout's live game chat to touch base with you guys during the game, though.