Sorry for the discombogualtion and erratic release of my blogs over the past while. I've been so busy recently that I've had to change my cell phone answering machine to say this: "Hey! WeSpy's voice mail is broken, but this is his refrigerator; speak slowly and I’ll stick a note to myself with one of these nifty magnets!"
The shame is, it hasn't really cut down on all those annoying people who call and leave no message at all but expect you to call them back anyhow. (Oops, think that belonged in the 'Things That Annoy Me' thread...)
Anyhow, my Heart and Mind will be back with their regular humor-filled dialogue as soon as the draft is finished and the game-by-game analysis starts. Until then, it is easier for me to post their thoughts together in a single blog written by myself. I apologize for this, in truth, rather sloppy and unprofessional way to do a blog that is supposed to feature my Heart and Mind rather than myself.
I'm weeping and repenting with bitter tears of remorse. Really. I am.
Here we go with the analysis of new Head Coach Chuck Pagano and the hybrid 3-4 used in Baltimore. I will also post similar blogs about the OC and DC and their preferred schemes later on in further editions to follow this one.
Have a great evening, and I do hope you enjoy the blog. Things really do look good for the Colts in 2012 if you just try to view things optimistically.
Chuck Pagano, Head Coach:
Fun Quote: "I am going to be me,” said Pagano. “They’re going to get a face-full of Chuck Pagano. Whoever we play on Sunday is going to get a face-full of Colts, and on a weekly basis. We are going to have fun doing it."
Collegiate Record: 97-76 .560 W/L%
Professional Record: 75-85 .468 W/L %
Collegiate Defensive Coordinator:
---Record: 8-15 .652 W/L%
---PPG: 24 Avg. (18--UNC, 30---UNLV)
---Teams: UNC and UNLV
NFL Defensive Coordinator:
---Record: 12-4 .750 W/L%
Baltimore Ravens Defensive Rankings Under Chuck Pagano:
#1---Lowest Opposing Team Passer Rating (66.57)
#2---Fewest Rush Yards Per Game (92.6)
#2—Fewest Yards Per Play (4.6)
#2---Fewest Yards Per Run (3.54)
#2---Fewest 3rd Downs Allowed (32.1%)
#3---Fewest Yards Per Game (288.9)
#3---Fewest Points Per Game Allowed (16.6)
#3 Tie---Most Sacks (48)
#4---Fewest Passing Yards Per Game (196.2)
Summary of Pagano/Hybrid Defense:
Pagano ran a hybrid defense during his short tenure as the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator. The system was largely inherited from his predecessor, Greg Mattison. This hybrid package used by the Ravens and Pagano is capable of swapping three, four, and five man fronts at any point during a drive---without changing personnel.
This is especially effective against teams with a ‘no-huddle’ offense, as Baltimore runs one could easily call a ‘no-huddle’ defense. They do, of course, get their play-calls from the sideline, but their choice in plays is not limited as other defensive units in the league in that they can call most any package at any point in the game without changing out their players.
The Ravens’ scheme, while mainly a three man front, is based on their versatile outside linebackers, Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson. Both are capable of playing defensive end, and both play multiple positions in the defense.
With the basic analysis completed on the Ravens’ defensive set under Pagano, let’s look at the similarities that prevail in the current Colts personnel.
Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis can take the place of Suggs and Johnson, though it will take some adjustment to the new scheme. Colts fans can expect Pagano, Grigson, and Co. to take a linebacker with qualities similar to Suggs or Johnson in the draft this year to learn and get some valuable playing time. This man will most likely be taken in a later round, perhaps the fourth or fifth, and will eventually be used to replace the aging Dwight Freeney, whose run stopping capabilities are somewhat in doubt.
The Colts’ cornerback position will undergo some change via the draft as well, with the Colts most likely addressing that area of the defense in Round Two. The Ravens’ cornerbacks have, of necessity, been talented, and when losing a quality player at that position, they have been quick to replace him. The case of the loss of Josh Wilson at the end of the 2010 season and the quick draft pick of cover corner Jimmy Smith solidifies this.
With the safety position adequately addressed as well by the addition of former Ravens’ safety Tom Zbikowski and the release of an injury prone Melvin Bullit, the Colts secondary would look rather solid with a good corner added by way of draft or free agency. A solid mix of pass cover/pass rush linebackers and safeties is the first step in doing a good job in the hybrid defense package.
Of course, stopping the run is a big deal as well. Suggs and Johnson are both exceptional in the run defense game for Baltimore, and it is to be expected that the duo of Mathis and Freeney will not be quite up to par, at least for their first season. The Colts will need a good analysis of their current linebacking corps to see which players can solidify their middle. A review of the interior of their defensive line will be necessary as well.
Pat Angerer is a solid player at MLB, and showed flashes of talent at stopping the run. His 2011 season was as good as historic for a man playing literally ‘off the street,’ but the Colts have to make sure they can trust him to play at a high level continually and not like a ‘man off the street’ if they want to have success in their hybrid system with him in the main line-up.
The Colts have a wealth at linebacker on the roster, with 8 players currently filling that spot. Add in Mathis, Freeney, and a draft pick, and there’s plenty of room for sifting through the rough to find the diamond.
Defensive tackle is an area the Colts are expected to upgrade in the draft, perhaps in round three or four, depending on the players available at that time. The current roster has 5 players at that spot, and with a early round draft pick added in who excels at stopping the run and is acquainted with the 3-4, the Colts should be good to go---at least for 2012. There is a relatively solid free agent market of defensive linemen as well, but with limited cap room, the Colts are not able to sign as freely as they might like, and this will probably lead them to address their defensive line issues in the draft.
It would appear, then, that an installation of the same system Coach Pagano ran in Baltimore with new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky merely overseeing the program is quite possible and very likely. Colts fans shouldn’t be surprised if Pagano takes a role similar to the one Rex Ryan took when he became Head Coach of the New York Jets, calling all the plays himself and then turning it over to his defensive coordinator a short while down the road.
In short, Chuck Pagano has found success at both the collegiate and professional level, and should be exciting to watch as he progresses in his new status as Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts. The future looks bright for the probable 3-4 hybrid package of the defense, and the personnel seems to be coming into place. With a few more hires and a little more talent added on, this team should be both dangerous and exciting in 2012.
Thanks for reading, have a wonderful night, and God Bless America!