We Need to do Better

9-2 is great and I was thrilled with the win versus the Patriots, as were we all. Except for the Packer trolls. It must have burned them like acid.

I guessed going into the game that we'd lose. Don't call me disloyal! We had a prime time game with Kirk, we had a rookie coach facing Bill Belichick, and we were coming off a disastrous loss where the team seemed to not even show up to play. So I was happily surprised by the win and there was much yelling for joy in my household.

When was the last time we beat New England? I could not remember when, or even ever beating them. All other teams I can recall such a thing. So I looked it up. The last time we beat the Patriots was... in the year 2000! Denny Green beat them in Belichick's first year as their head coach. 22 years!

Sometimes Belichiick is too smart for his own good. He understands the battle of field position and the "hidden yards" from punts and kick-offs. The further a team needs to go the less likely they are to score. Almost all of their kick-offs were inside the field of play. One or two were barely in the end zone and those may have been accidental overkicks. Our kick return blocking has appeared poor as has Nwangwu's returns. Two out of three times, roughly, if Nwangwu returns a kick, we end up with worse field position than the 25 yard line.

I think BB had his placekicker purposely kick so the ball landed inside the field of play. And it backfired huge. It did work out how he wanted it to several times. On those times, Nwangwu had four returns for 69 yards, an average of only 17.25 yards per return. Instead of starting at the 25, we started at the 20, at the 21, at the 16, and at the 17. BB won the field position battle and gained 26 "hidden yardage" yards. But then Nwangwu made him pay and undid his smart strategy in the span of seconds.

That return by Nwangwu was beautiful. It wasn't only a run and gun and the coverage unit messed up and left an opening. They did their jobs and Nwangwu still beat them and he did it with moves and cuts and run decisions Cook would be proud of.

We're 9-2 and running away with the division. All seems well. And it is if the only goal is to win the division. It is virtually locked up. But if our goal is to win play off games and get to the Super Bowl or even win the Super Bowl, all is not well.

Our defense was terrible last year. Our defense is even worse this year. I think most fans realize we have a bad defense but may not realize it is even worse than last year's awful defense.

Last year we had the 30th best (worst) defense in the NFL. This year we are 31st. The yardage reflects the same. In 2021 we allowed 383.6 yards per game, this year we allow 390.7. So, slice it by yards or by rank, it is a worse defense. Hunter and Z.Smith are going great with sacks but, guess what, last year we did not have Z.Smith or, most of the year, Hunter, and we got a lot more sacks. We were near the league lead.

We will not progress far or maybe at all in the playoffs unless this defense improves sharply. No matter how good our offense is, if the defense makes the opposing offense even better than ours, we will not do well.

We invested most of our draft picks on defense and most of our free agency assets as well. We added Z.Smith, Harrison Phillips, Jordan Hicks, and Chandon Sullivan. All assets we did not have last year. Plus, Hunter has been healthy all year so far which is a big difference from last year. Despite these additions and good fortune, we are a worse defense.

Do I know how to fix it? Probably not but it does seem obvious it is poor strategy, poor coaching. We pretty much play a prevent defense from the first defensive play of the game. But somehow we still allow long pass plays. Our run defense appears superior to last year but I think it is only because it is so easy and tempting to throw on us. We make Fields and Mac Jones look like Mahomes and Tom Brady in his prime.

What we are doing is not working. Therefore, we need to do something else. If we make a wrong "fix" and make it worse... it almost can't get worse.

We've had some injuries, true. Dantzler. Tomlinson. Guess what? All the teams have injuries like that and most have worse. Our injuries are not excessive. It is a level playing field. We really are a bad defense.

Some say it is adjustment to the 3-4. Oh? Really? Why are we getting worse and worse? Shouldn't we gradually improve as we continue to adjust?

You know what? If we think going to the 3-4 is the problem, fine, lets go back to a 4-3. Sure, Z.Smith needs to adjust but then Hunter does not. Besides, watching it, the 3-4 and the 4-3 are not so different. Hunter and Smith play in the line either way or at least rush the passer either way.

Certainly we can all agree that Harrison Smiith is misused and muted in comparison to years past.

The Don't-A-Tell-Me defense makes me nauseous. It should make everyone sick. Hiding our heads in the sand won't help.

We have an extra long week and no bye week to look forward to. Now is the time to make changes, whatever ones and as many as we can.

I've got one: Start three safeties and make Josh Metellus a starter. Hear me out. We do this on 1st and 10. They will be tempted to run. But Harrison Smith will be like a linebacker anyway. But not necessarily. It could be Bynum or Metellus. They won't know what our safeties are doing or who will cover whom. It gives us extra D versus TEs because we can put a safety on him. We have faster players on the field. It makes crossing routes riskier. It makes it easier to double a WR.

Metellus is a player who makes plays when given the chance. Give him a chance. Stop being predictable to opposing offenses

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.