And RE: zone blocking, we have the horses to do that. Oher, Yanda and Osemele were chosen in part because of their abilities to move laterally and get in space. OK, Birk not so much, but better than guys from the past like Bennie Anderson, Zeus, etc. when we ran a more mauling straight-ahead style.
Preston has already nailed it. It's all about speed rushers off the edge. Our tackles can't deal with them. Look who we've struggled against, they have that element for the most part. That is a talent issue, not one of fundamentals. I was fully expecting them to keep a TE or McKinnie in to max protect, but they didn't. That is to me, just being unprepared on the coaching side. They knew what the Texans brought, and they essentially ignored it. And the batted balls...damn, is there anyone that covers the NFL not aware that they do this more than any team? They didn't even try to counter that. No adjustments at all. It's talent, and it is also an excellent example of the coaching staff laying a deuce on the 50 yard line.
We don't have the flexibility to run 2 TEs in patterns against teams that can rush the passer off the edge. We need to run plays that neutralize the rush. Screens, draws, rollouts...and QUICK DEVELOPING PASS PATTERNS. This isn't fucking rocket science. Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses!
NE's (total) defensive ranking from 2006-2009 was 6th, 4th, 10th and 11th.
Certainly, a mild downward trend, but not exactly worthy of termination, so let's not make stuff up.
I would think that if Pees was on the verge of being demoted/fired as you state then BB would have either had a successor at-the-ready or would have promoted an assistant. Well, neither one of those things happened. Instead, NE went into and through the 2010 season with no one at DC (nor at OC either as I recall).
If the fundamental issue is communication amongst the OL then shuffling the players around isn't likely to improve things quickly. But if there's any thought of trying that now's the time--if they can tiptoe past the Browns they can probably beat the Raiders & arrive in Pittsburgh with 4 weeks of practice & 2 games to settle in.
I get the feeling that part of the problem on the road is that the OL is a beat slower off the snap. (I wonder how much of Birk's routine is to ensure that everyone on the line knows when the snap is coming--he seems to dip his head & hike up his butt & then snap the ball on the same count every down. The problem of course is that any defense that's watched the film knows when the snap is coming as well--advantage, D. Maybe they need to put in some silent counts or just some variations to keep the opposing D honest?)
The problem with keeping a TE in to block is that neither of them is very good at it. Maybe they need to go the opposite route & spread the field...but then Joe's gotta find the hot read on a 3-step drop.
Speaking of 3-step drops, I gather that the Texans had a complete read on when he'd be throwing from one, since they seemed to know exactly when to get their hands up.
I myself am more concerned about the D, particularly the line. I was scratching my head as to why it looked pretty good on the first 3 series & then went into the tank, & it occurred to me that it took that long for Houston to test Suggs & then implement contingency plans. IIRC they started by going right at him, & he held up well. Then when that didn't work, they ran plays away from him. Sizzle in his first game back looked (understandably) a step slow in pursuit, particularly when Schaub was rolling away from him, & that set the pass rush back to ground zero. Hindsight being 20-20, maybe they should have played man coverage at that point--couldn't've been much worse, could it?--but with Suggs neutralized that probably looked like a recipe for disaster.
We are starting to understand how important Redding was to last year's defense--& suspect how much the loss of McBean, who was signed to take his place, late in the preseason has hurt.
IMO if Pees has anything up his sleeve (different schemes or personnel groupings) now is the time to put them in in hopes of making it to 7-2 before they get to Pittsburgh; if they don't, the chances of squeezing out a playoff spot go way down--they'll probably have to sweep the Stealers, win once between DC, Denver & the Giants, & it still might come down to Week 17 in Cincy.
Your playing against a team who gets to the QB and have an Oline that is more than willing to cooperate in that venture.
Why the fuck are we running ridiculous slow developing patterns from the 1980's Dan Fouts playbook????? When we see our offense run a slant, a screen or any other quick pattern around here we all jump up and down like an Irishman who just saw his first Leprechaun
Joe may be calling some of the plays at the line but I think people forget that he is still choosing from a bag of plays that are Cams plays. If those plays are anything like what we have seen Cam run the past 3 yrs, there are very few if any slants, screens or other quick strike type plays. Its not as if Joe is designing his own plays in the huddle lol, he is still running from a selection of Cams plays