The New York Times’ Andy Benoit went to the video tape on Wednesday to review Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2010-2011 season. His conclusion? The team, especially the defense, performed a lot better than many people might have expected.
Per the New York Times:
“As ho-hum as the nickel and dime packages were, the overall defense was not quite as bad as the statistics suggest,” Benoit wrote.
Benoit went on to say that linebackers Kirk Morrison and Justin Durant were not liabilities, although coaches were not happy with them.
I thought Benoit did make some good points in his article (David Garrard panicking too much, Greg Jones and Marcedes Lewis playing exceptionally well) but to say that the defense wasn’t as bad as the stats indicate is a bit of a reach.
The defense, as a unit, was abysmal last year. They ranked exactly where they should have (28th).
That’s not to say that Football Outsiders is the be all and end all of statistics, but their stats, the regular stats and my eye test beg to differ with Benoit’s review.
Now maybe individually guys looked okay. Durant had his moments and Derek Cox did develop as the year progressed at corner.
But it’s a team game and players did not seem to fit into the system. How many times did the Jaguars get burned when they needed stops last year? It seemed like it happened over and over again as the linebackers and safeties were routinely victimized on third down passes.
Benoit did get it right with the defensive line though, I’ll give him that.
“The rookie defensive tackle Tyson Alualu showed the quickness and fluid athleticism to justify his early first-round status, and his rotund running mate, Terrence Knighton, continued to develop… It didn’t have a fleet-footed defensive end who could consistently collapse the pocket,” Benoit wrote.
Benoit also acknowledged the safety play as being the defense’s weakness.
Still, to ignore to problems at linebacker is an egregious oversight for any analyst. Maybe individually everybody held their own, but linebacker, along with safety and rush-end were and are still are problems.
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