Monday, October 20, 2008

Don't Blame the Defense

by: Michael Steffes

At least not for last night. The defense played fairly well, even when Lofa left injured.

Granted, Kelly Jennings gave up a long touchdown pass, again. If you think that Kelly Jennings isn't playing well, you are right--all the more reason he should never be left on-on-one on the outside. For some reason the Hawks continue to bring all-out pressure with linebackers and safeties. They aren't getting any results. It was almost a mirror of the Greg Jennings touchdown. On this play, Grant blitzed and Brian Russell dropped down to cover the third receiver. This strategy has been victimized in nearly every game this season, but the team continues to use it. All that said, if the refs hadn't blown a quick whistle the defense would have made up for this play on their own, tying the score at 7-7.

The rest of the first half reminded me of the Green Bay playoff game. All the front four could do was move Garcia a step or two, allowing him to move enough to find guys getting open down the field. Folks, the best secondary in the league has problems covering receivers for 7-10 seconds.

Either way, the defense didn't quit. They held Tampa down to a reasonable score. The fact was the offense couldn't score, not even with great field position. What may be even more disturbing is that the coaching staff feels a conservative offense is the answer. When they went down 14-0, everyone but the coaches knew they were done. They needed to open the offense up to get back in the game, and that wasn't going to happen.

The team ran okay again, but again couldn't make a play on the outside. Bobby Engram can't even get separation. But, they make no effort to loosen up the coverage. What the offense is doing isn't working, they need to try something new. Throw a deep ball just to let teams know you will. Run an option play. Add a new look to see if it will work. They don't have the personnel to run the same old plays, and the sooner the coaches admit it will take a gimmick to score the requisite amount of points to win a game, the sooner they might have a chance. At least, it wouldn't be so painful to watch.

Last night was like slooooooooooooow death. We will see if Mike Holmgren has any explanations today at his press conference. ~END~