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Why Our Defensive Tackles Are Not As Bad As Portrayed


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#41 Peppers90 NC

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:30 AM

Giving you pie for the analysis. But again. This is only one play.


We were beat off tackle constantly all season, not more than in the Chicago game though. The line did a decent job eating up the blockers but our depleted lbing core couldnt clean it up. Yea, we could be better at dt, we don't have a big name that people want to hear, but overall, I don't think DT was our BIGGEST need.

#42 Peppers90 NC

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:31 AM

Funny how EVERYBODY thought DT was our biggest need, then we don't draft one, and now it's nope it was the linebackers.


How you figure that this board was in 100% compliance that DT is our biggest need?

#43 PantherPhann89

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:32 AM

After a long review of our games via Game Rewind it dawned on me that Hurney's not covering his butt, and Rivera's not blind as a bat: we really do not have anywhere near as bad a defensive tackle squad as we've all been led to believe by the media.

First, a quick recap of the obvious: we run a 4-3 defense, specifically of the Jim Johnson variety. This means that the responsibilities of the defensive line, especially in the run game, are far more geared to eating up blocks and containing their gaps than tackling the ballcarrier. That responsibility lies with the linebackers, who should have clear lanes left for them if the DTs are doing their jobs.

And guess what, they often were. The Chicago game stands out to me in particular; almost all of Forte's best runs came either off tackle (the DE and safety's responsibility) or through a hole that a linebacker had just shot through and completely whiffed in the backfield.

For example, take this offset I formation:

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The fullback is lined up on the strong side, and James Anderson is showing a weakside blitz.

Here's the view from the coaches film, showing our 4-3 formation with Charles Johnson lined up strong side and Hardy on the weak:

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At the snap, you see James take off on his blitz, Charles Johnson gets doubled by the tight end at right tackle, Fua does his job and takes up two blocks and slows down the right guard, McClain gets such a nice burst that the left guard has no choice but to chop block him, and Hardy fights to contain the cutback lane. Notice the arrow indicating Jason Williams free pass into the backfield, which is the entire point of running an aggressive Jim Johnson 4-3: giving your linebackers the opportunity to take down the ball carrier unblocked.

Posted Image

Unfortunately, Williams is not up to the task: he overshoots Forte completely, and Sherrod Martin gets completely turned around on his block and fails to prevent Forte from getting to the next level.

Posted Image

The play resulted in a 46 yard gash, with Charles Godfrey completely whiffing on a tackle that would have held the gain to half that, and Captain Munnerlyn and Darius Butler have to save the day with a tackle from behind (interestingly enough, McClain has an excellent chance to catch him from behind as well. He shows some surprising feet for a DT!) All of this happened even though the defensive tackles and ends all did their jobs adequately, and gave a linebacker a direct path into the backfield to tackle the ballcarrier.

This is a theme throughout the season, where even when the DTs made a nice push on the pocket or ate up the blocks necessary to give the linebackers the chance to clean up, almost no one but James Anderson was really up to the task, as Conner and Senn repeatedly failed to shed blocks or make tackles within their lanes. Even worse, once the ballcarriers got past the linebackers, they often made mincemeat of both Martin and Godfrey. This is not to say our DT corps could not stand improvement, because it absolutely could, especially since the line play improved when the rookies sat down and the more experienced DTs like Neblett and Kearse Shirley came in, but it cannot be stressed enough how badly our linebacker injuries wrecked the entire scheme and put an unfair onus on our DT group. What it really boils down to is that an aggressive 4-3 really requires disciplined, sure-tackling linebackers to be successful, and unfortunately those commodities were in short supply this past season. Sadly, our safety group badly regressed as well, especially in the tackling department.

In this context, the absence of a DT pick in our draft and the #9 selection of tackling monster Luke Kuechly makes perfect sense.

Absolutely great writeup and breakdown!

#44 Darth Bobo

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:38 PM

DANG> I am impressed by this thread's originator. If you keep up that kind of work, all the talking heads on TEEVEE will start coming here to find out what is actually happening with the Panthers.

In the meantime, we'll just be subjected to the 20 seconds of imaginary news they make up after data mining the NFL stat sheet.

#45 Darth Biscuit

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:07 PM

Yeah, very nice. Does make the Kuechly pick make a lot more sense. It was obvious that injuries really hurt us last season. The loss of Beason in particular cannot be over stated.