When I first started this post it read "Props to Dean Pees" not "Props or Blame?" maybe the mod who changed it on me should change it back?
Also, if you check Pees record as a DC, it's pretty good - despite what some NE fans may say - so he's certainly proven to be at least "competent". In fact, NE's D since he left has taken a total nose-dive.
The 3 man rush you mentioned in the Bengals game I remember, the RB missed his blocking assignment. Under Pagano we showed blitz a lot but then backed off. This was effective since we blitzed a lot and it kept teams guessing. We don't do anything on defense now that has any offense guessing. There are no fancy blitz packages. The classic Ravens defense is on life support, until Rex gets fired and comes back (wishful thinking on my part).
Has it struck anyone else that the D's improved play over the last couple of weeks coincides with Pees coaching from upstairs during the games? It may be that for him, being able to dial up personnel packages & defenses from a view of the whole field more than outweighs not being able to talk directly with the players while they're on the sidelines.
Now watch there be an "accidental" communications malfunction at Qualcomm Sunday afternoon....
I think it also has a lot to do with Suggs return too.
They weren't blitzing much earlier, but they weren't getting to the QB, even with blitzes, so they decided to try and play more cover defense. Now, with Suggs back, I think they feel that they can be more aggressive and because teams have to account for Suggs - which they didn't with anyone else when Suggs wasn't play - it allows the blitzes to be a little more successful too.
Kruger, as your primary rusher, isn't going to do much. Kruger, with Suggs drawing the attention, can/will be a much more successful pass rusher.
Now, if we can get McPhee back up to speed and healthy.....
He gets kudos from me for beating the Squeelers and last couplle of games the D has come on strong.
Oz signs Johnson who makes a huge play in his first game, Reed gets big INT and there's no way you
can blame him.
And he had Ray out and Suggs not so strong. His D went after them like their D went after us and
he was the last man standing with a big smile of his face.
Great move by HARBS sending him upstairs.
He's doing the best with a very bad situation. Not only were some young guys going to have to step up because of free agents leaving but some were forced into action by injuries. The defense has shown signs of improving the last few weeks. I'm not sure Dean Pees is the problem
It appears to me that Pees is trying to fix the problems and moving upstairs would help him see for himself what is going on. That IS important. The guy is trying to adapt, trying to change things that AREN'T working...as opposed to someone we know who took 4 years to figure out that Flacco performs well in the shotgun and the hurry up when EVERYONE who has watched the games over the last 4 years already knew that.
I am not sold on Pees, but at least the guy is trying to actively figure things out, not wait until the offseason to look at films and have an AHA moment every football fan already is fully aware of.
We should have only 1 loss - Houston!
It wasn't the d-line that allowed a sack and the ball to be stripped at the same time in the beginning
of the game leading to a TD in Philly. That one play was the game breaker since we lost by 1 pt.
Now, the Houston game is a different story but he won all the others and should have won in Philly.
The criticism was not idiotic then and is not now. He used a bend but don't break defense that killed the Ravens on Time of Possession. The defense was not all that young and wore down. There are other ways to hide a poor secondary. There are plenty of ways to disguise blitzes and get pressure without sending the house. Rushing 3 and giving the QB a ton of time puts just as much pressure if not more as rushing 4 or 5 and getting pressure. Having to cover receivers for a long period of time is difficult regardless of how many you drop in coverage.
I am not a big fan of the "bend-but-don't-break" defense, but if it works, then it works. I do not need "organized chaos" to support a coach; if it was so successful, then this copy-cat league would be all over it x 32. My main focus is Third-Down efficiency and Red Zone Efficiency.
Some of the problem IMHO can be linked to the players' ability to do their job and the coaches expecting more from certain people than they can produce. In quite a few games, certain players were showing a blitz or shifts before the snap. If you tip your hand, any offense can adjust. Now is that the Coach saying "Move into position early" or is it a player trying to figure out the snap and moving when HE THINKS it is appropriate? I think it is the latter, and as the players get into the plays and the season progresses, they can move later and disguise the blitz better. Of course, the plays with Suggs in the mix has to make a difference. And I think that expecting Kruger to be more than a Pass Rush Specialist was a mistake. And banking on Cody and McPhee to step up and fill the void and/or for McBean to be a positive addition has come up empty.
The defense is making steps forward as the season picks up steam. I hope that the scheme starts to make a difference and the players continue to progress. The game I see as a real test? Denver. How the defense performs in that game will tell a lot to me.