The 'D' is for 'Derp'.
As has been painfully obvious all season, our sieve of a defense is one of the (if not the) primary reason(s) we're losing games.
And only the Giants and Jags are allowing more points per game.
"Bend but don't break"...?? HA!!
More specifically, I've noticed (and have mentioned several times here on the DN) that we are getting shredded underneath -- you know, in that giant gaping hole in the middle of the field that opposing QBs are taking full advantage of...
I decided to keep track of opposing teams passing stats against us, via Pro-Football-Reference.com -- they only keep track of 'short' and 'deep' passes, which (if I understand correctly) are passes that are less than and more than 15 air yds, respectively.
Considering we rank 29th in passing yds allowed per game, you'd think we're giving up a lot of deep passes. On the contrary -- opposing QBs are only 10/25 (40%) for 295yds and 3 TDs on deep passes. That averages out to 59 yds/gm -- when we're giving up 300+ yds in the air per game, clearly this isn't the problem.
Conversely, on short passes, opposing QBs are 132/179 (73.7%) for 1,280yds and 9 TDs. Naturally one would expect the completion percentage to be higher here -- but how can one defense allow that many yards on short passes...?! Perhaps this is the norm across the NFL, but we appear to be the extreme example. Allowing offenses to nickel-and-dime their way down the field only works if you can stop them from scoring points.
Here is the full breakdown of combined opposing QB play (Stafford, Cutler, Hoyer, Roethlisberger, Newton) through the first five games:
Deep Left -- 2/8, 66yds, 2 TD
Deep Middle -- 4/7, 92yds
Deep Right -- 4/10, 137yds, 1 TD
Short Left -- 43/56, 362yds, 4 TD
Short Middle --30/45, 384yds, 2 TD
Short Right -- 59/78, 534yds, 3 TD
The usual suspects are likely responsible -- the Linebackers,
Josh Robinson the secondary, the scheme (read: coaching staff)... I get that some people will want to blame Spielman for the Winfield situation; and while I agree it's a factor, one player (whose current connection to the NFL is watching it from his couch) could not have fixed this entire blunder of a season.
Players either aren't executing their assignments, or there is a breakdown in communication, or the play calling is so blatantly obvious that teams can game plan against us the Friday before a game while throwing a kegger at the same time.
Bottom line: something needs to change.
Maybe Erin Henderson can't communicate effectively or cover enough ground to be the Mike in this scheme.
Perhaps Josh Robinson needs to not only not be starting, but should be buried on the depth chart until he gets his head surgically removed from his ass.
Or... oh, I dunno... we continue to waste away, fire everyone at season's end, and bring in a coaching staff with a defensive philosophy that doesn't preach coverage that's as soft as my Tempur-Cloud mattress. (In case you are wondering -- it's very soft.)
Something tells me, though, that Captain Frazier will go down with the ship. And in a season that has become sink-or-swim, to quote Damien Rice: "It's not hard to fall when you float like a cannonball."
Strap in, boys and girls -- it's gonna be a loooong eleven weeks.