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Comparison Of Current Defense, '06 Colts Defense And '02 Tampa Defense


J@son

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MAC suggested in another thread that it would be interesting to see a comparison of our defense today as compared to the 2002 SB winning Tampa Bay defense in regards to where they were drafted. I also wanted to compare player size and I decided it would also be interesting to see how our current defense compares to the Colts starting defense in the '06 year in the same regards. Keep in mind, the list of starters in '06 were the starters as of week 1. Gilbert Gardner was eventually replaced with Freddy Keiaho because they finally realized Gardner was horrible. I also think Montae Reagor was in the starting line up due to injury to someone and I think it was Corey Simon. I believe it was a few games into that season when they made the trade to get Anthony McFarland. Also Mike Doss and Bob Sanders were the original starters but due to injury to Doss, Antoine Bethea was put in the starting lineup. Doss came back from the injury but Bethea was kept in the starting lineup because he was playing very well. Doss made it back to the starting lineup however when Sanders got hurt. Marlin Jackson also got a few starts due to injury to Doss.

So here is what I found...the player, their height, weight, what round they were drafted in and the team who drafted them in parenthesis.

06coltsvs11coltsvs02bucs.jpg

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That was fast.

Superficially I'd say that - as I assumed - TB had far more highly drafted players on that D then the Colts have had. Just making an argument about where they chose to invest their money compared to the Colts. I knew that they weren't spending it on their QB. Their ten players 4th round or higher kind of overwhelms our current group of four players 4th round or higher and our 2006 group with 5/6 players 4th round or higher.

I thought of this after reading your comments about their players being bigger than ours, the suggestion being that it was intentional - which would be odd considering the similarities in coaching and style. That made me think that perhaps it was more a matter of "you can't get players who are both fast AND big unless you do it in the early rounds. Its' hard to ignore the foundation of two DT's drafted mid-first round. The Colts have nothing remotely comparable (aside from bringing one of those same players over - at which point they promptly won the Super Bowl).

Of course it's not that the Colts haven't tried. If Rob Morris had been as talented as Derrick Brooks, Marlin Jackson as talented as Rhonde Barber, and Mike Doss as talented as John Lynch (all drafted same round or higher) the Colts would have had a heck of a defense and for a much longer time. Perhaps the Bucs just drafted better for defense. More likely that both teams have plenty of early round misses, but if the Bucs put a higher percentage of their high picks into defense, then they would have had a higher percentage stick. I'm curious enough that I may have to go dig into their draft history a bit.

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You definitely make a valid point about not being able to get the same level of talent in the later rounds...however I don't think that's the case. I also don't think it was a personal preference like I suggested earlier.

Considering how potent the offense was at the time, they built the defense to rush the passer. They just wanted to hang around early on and give Manning time to build a lead and they knew they would be fine after that. The more other teams started figuring out how to slow down the offense, the more our defense started to decline and I think they were directly related.

In Tampa, they knew they didn't have a powerful offense and they would be playing a lot of close games. Therefore they couldn't give up as much size since they were going to have to defend both the run and the pass for the entire game.

Maybe the size of Dungy's defense is predicated by the potency of the team's offense? Could very well be. Imagine if he were DC of the Pats right now...the entire defense would be CB's and safeties. lol

I guess to really test this theory I could make the same comparisons with the Viking's defensive starters in the mid to late 90's while Dungy was there.

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If Peyton Manning were in Tampa under Dungy.........

They would be building statues and library's for the both of them for how many RINGS they would have produced.

I have been ladying all this time ( five years now)about a "running game" and ...... A * DEFENSE.

Sigh...

See you all at the draft.

This season will get WAY worse before it gets better.

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If Peyton Manning were in Tampa under Dungy.........

They would be building statues and library's for the both of them for how many RINGS they would have produced.

I have been ladying all this time ( five years now)about a "running game" and ...... A * DEFENSE.

Sigh...

See you all at the draft.

This season will get WAY worse before it gets better.

SO, you are saying that if you can run well, pass well, and play great D, that is the key to winning? That is what every team is TRYING to do.

You are right though, we can do none of those well. Our run game is improving, though. And we will have a very high draft pick :)

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To me, the biggest difference between the '02 Bucs and '11 Colts is the quality at DT. Booger McFarland and Warren Sapp > Mookie Johnson and Fili Moala. And let's not forget we've been getting a healthy dose of Eric Foster at DT on run plays. More pressure up the middle would help Freeney and Mathis as well as our DBs. That the front office hasn't adequately addressed the DT position is criminal, IMO.

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To me, the biggest difference between the '02 Bucs and '11 Colts is the quality at DT. Booger McFarland and Warren Sapp > Mookie Johnson and Fili Moala. And let's not forget we've been getting a healthy dose of Eric Foster at DT on run plays. More pressure up the middle would help Freeney and Mathis as well as our DBs. That the front office hasn't adequately addressed the DT position is criminal, IMO.

Polian had a run of awful luck at the DT position for a while. Simon, Pitcock, Booger, Johnson #1, etc...

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You definitely make a valid point about not being able to get the same level of talent in the later rounds...however I don't think that's the case. I also don't think it was a personal preference like I suggested earlier.

O-line and D-line, if you don't get some quality in the first 2-3 rounds, the odds of miss over hit goes up in later rounds. Yes, you can find later round gems but that cannot be a constant recipe for success. Plus, the CBs being a bit lighter is not an issue if they can cover. Previously, the ones like Ty Law that were more physical at the line of scrimmage were preferred. Now, the Asante Samuel kind that breaks on the ball quicker is preferred. It is almost like the Deion Sanders kind of shutdown corner is back in vogue with Revis, Asomugha etc. with teams having to use more than 4 rushers to put pressure on the QB in a passing league. Thus, the Colts need to adapt as well. The Saints started investing in their secondary for man coverage before Greg Williams came along. One of the first moves Greg Williams made was to get rid of zone CBs that could not cover as well, first in line was Jason David. Then, Jabari Greer was brought in alongside Tracy Porter, and then Darren Sharper thus giving them one ball hawking safety and 2 ball hawking CBs.

In the 80s and 90s, you could not get away with smaller LBs since the stop the run mantra was a dominant one. Now, you can get away with smaller LBs if they can somewhat cover and apply pressure. The D-line pass rushers (DT or DE) and secondary have grown in importance over the LB corp in this passing league, IMO.

The Colts have more pieces on their D-line now than last year and that is a step in the right direction. Now, if they shore up their secondary by getting the physical specimens like Rucker & Thomas up to pace with the playbook and playing speed and add one more talent to the CB and safety corp, we should become much better. Lacey has to worry about not being able to jam effectively and let the wideout run past him while Tryon has to worry about being outjumped, so that outside CB role that Hayden played well enough is the one that needs replacement. WRs are just too big that if you do not have the coverage capability of an Asante Samuel, you will have to worry about your weaknesses more than playing to your strengths as an outside CB, IMO.

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O-line and D-line, if you don't get some quality in the first 2-3 rounds, the odds of miss over hit goes up in later rounds. Yes, you can find later round gems but that cannot be a constant recipe for success. Plus, the CBs being a bit lighter is not an issue if they can cover. Previously, the ones like Ty Law that were more physical at the line of scrimmage were preferred. Now, the Asante Samuel kind that breaks on the ball quicker is preferred. It is almost like the Deion Sanders kind of shutdown corner is back in vogue with Revis, Asomugha etc. with teams having to use more than 4 rushers to put pressure on the QB in a passing league. Thus, the Colts need to adapt as well. The Saints started investing in their secondary for man coverage before Greg Williams came along. One of the first moves Greg Williams made was to get rid of zone CBs that could not cover as well, first in line was Jason David. Then, Jabari Greer was brought in alongside Tracy Porter, and then Darren Sharper thus giving them one ball hawking safety and 2 ball hawking CBs.

In the 80s and 90s, you could not get away with smaller LBs since the stop the run mantra was a dominant one. Now, you can get away with smaller LBs if they can somewhat cover and apply pressure. The D-line pass rushers (DT or DE) and secondary have grown in importance over the LB corp in this passing league, IMO.

The Colts have more pieces on their D-line now than last year and that is a step in the right direction. Now, if they shore up their secondary by getting the physical specimens like Rucker & Thomas up to pace with the playbook and playing speed and add one more talent to the CB and safety corp, we should become much better. Lacey has to worry about not being able to jam effectively and let the wideout run past him while Tryon has to worry about being outjumped, so that outside CB role that Hayden played well enough is the one that needs replacement. WRs are just too big that if you do not have the coverage capability of an Asante Samuel, you will have to worry about your weaknesses more than playing to your strengths as an outside CB, IMO.

good post. gives me hope.

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To me, the biggest difference between the '02 Bucs and '11 Colts is the quality at DT. Booger McFarland and Warren Sapp > Mookie Johnson and Fili Moala. And let's not forget we've been getting a healthy dose of Eric Foster at DT on run plays. More pressure up the middle would help Freeney and Mathis as well as our DBs. That the front office hasn't adequately addressed the DT position is criminal, IMO.

I don't think Foster being in on running plays is by design. I think it's more a matter of teams checking to the run when they see his 265 lb frame in the middle of our defense and you can't fault them that at all. lol I didn't see Foster playing nearly as much against the Browns as I did against the Texans so hopefully this was one thing the coaching staff noticed and we can finally say they did see a problem and made a much needed adjustment. Or, it could simply be that we got lucky. lol

I agree with the DT's and I think the lack of true DT's was the biggest part of the problems we always had under Dungy. At the very least the staff now is addressing this and making obvious attempts to improve it. As for Antonio Johnson, I honestly thought he played very well against the Browns. All in all we were getting better penetration up the middle than we're used to and I saw Johnson in the backfield several times on passing downs. Problem was mainly that McCoy was elusive enough to get away from Johnson otherwise we might have seen 2 sacks from Johnson. I'm not saying he's the answer to our problems at NT, but I do think if we brought in a guy like Alameda Ta'amu then we would have an excellent rotation at NT.

Polian had a run of awful luck at the DT position for a while. Simon, Pitcock, Booger, Johnson #1, etc...

Very much agreed...they've certainly tried to address the issue but went through a period where they just couldn't get a guy who could stay healthy. We're in a better position now at DT than we've ever been, and bringing in another NT to share time with Johnson and another UT so we can permanently move Foster to DE then I think we're finally in a good position with the middle of the DL.

O-line and D-line, if you don't get some quality in the first 2-3 rounds, the odds of miss over hit goes up in later rounds. Yes, you can find later round gems but that cannot be a constant recipe for success. Plus, the CBs being a bit lighter is not an issue if they can cover.

One thing to clarify...when it came to the secondary I wasn't trying to compare the size of the guys between the 3 squads but rather the level of talent...in particular how high they were drafted. I know that what round a guy was drafted in isn't always a proper indication of their talent level, but the point was that the Bucs were able to spend high draft picks to fill their secondary.

Now I completely agree with you about not being able to constantly fill certain positions in later rounds and expect high quality play. Perfect examples are the OL (except for LT) and DT positions under Dungy. These positions were constantly getting filled by guys picked in later rounds. There really isn't a single position on starting offense or defense where you can just keep on plugging in late round draft picks and expect quality production.

However that said if you look at the Colts' draft history, CB was a position they spent higher round draft picks on under Dungy but, like GoDeep pointed out with our bad luck run with DT's, the same could be said of CB's.

07 draft:

Dante Hughes - 3rd round...I fully believe they expected to have a starter and a playmaker here. This guy had been projected in several mocks that year as a potential first rounder. I was excited as can be when we snagged him in the 3rd round. He was a constant playmaker with Cal but simply didn't make the transitionto the pros. He's done next to nothing since being drafted.

Michael Coe - 5th round...I think here they were looking more to add depth since they felt they had a future star in Hughes..hey, what is it with guys named Hughes and the Colts? lol

06 draft:

Tim Jennings - 2nd round

TJ Rushing - 7th round....Just like in 07 I think they were looking for a future starter and added depth with these 2 picks.

05 drart:

Marlin Jackson - 1st round

Kelvin Hayden - 2nd round....An obvious cry for help taking 2 high back to back picks, similar to Castonzo and Ijalana in rounds 1/2 of this past draft.

I think we really need to use this year to find out what we have in Thomas and Rucker so we know how much of a priority CB becomes in the 2012 draft.

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If Peyton Manning were in Tampa under Dungy.........

They would be building statues and library's for the both of them for how many RINGS they would have produced.

I have been ladying all this time ( five years now)about a "running game" and ...... A * DEFENSE.

Sigh...

See you all at the draft.

This season will get WAY worse before it gets better.

2002 bucs with Manning would be a monster team I can't even imagine how good that team would be

2004 colts with the 02 bucs defense would be even more insane

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2002 bucs with Manning would be a monster team I can't even imagine how good that team would be

2004 colts with the 02 bucs defense would be even more insane

Well this can only exist on paper since there is a salary cap and the draft ordering system makes sure this dream team does not exist.

But who knows how the Engles this yr made the so-called dream team on paper?

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The difference between 06 Colts and today Colts is the linebacking core, the corners, and the DTs, which are extremely crucial to having a good team. Let's not compare us to the Bucs. They had superstars like Rice, Sapp, Lynch, Brooks, and Barber. They even had quality starters in Spires, McFarland and Jackson. Both teams played Tampa 2, but we don't even have a quarter of the great players Tampa had.

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The difference between 06 Colts and today Colts is the linebacking core, the corners, and the DTs, which are extremely crucial to having a good team. Let's not compare us to the Bucs. They had superstars like Rice, Sapp, Lynch, Brooks, and Barber. They even had quality starters in Spires, McFarland and Jackson. Both teams played Tampa 2, but we don't even have a quarter of the great players Tampa had.

You should go back and read the original premise for the comparison. This has nothing to with fantasy, it's about examining the differences, determining WHY the Bucs had a better defense despite the same coach and scheme - and by extension debating whether our defense can be improved (within the same scheme) going forward.

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This is somewhat simplistic, since I also know the importance in coverage the Mike is in a Tampa 2, and the DE to the pass rush, as well as a cover corner. And it takes all on defense to make a team D a winning D.

However, I really take a look at 3 guys first, then those other 3 above- The Undertackle, then the Will, and finally Free Safety. Interestingly enough, Booger McFarland was the NT in both of these D's.

Here's the D from their respective SuperBowl winning teams through my first look lens:

Tampa- UT- W. Sapp, Will- D. Brooks, FS- John Lynch. Wow! then DE- S. Rice, (Wow!) Mike- S. Quarles. Wow! C. corner- R. Barber Wow!

Colts, UT- R. Brock, Will Cato June, FS- B Sanders / M. Jackson Nice! then DE- D. Freeney (Wow!), Mike- G. Bracket, Decent. C. corner- N. Harper / K. Hayden it works.

Seems to me the Tampa Bucs D was notably more talented, but Colts D wasn't a total dud either. Our superior Offense prowess more than makes up the differences in the D, IMHO. And as long as we continue to employ versions of the Tampa/cover 2, I still look at these positions first.

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This is somewhat simplistic, since I also know the importance in coverage the Mike is in a Tampa 2, and the DE to the pass rush, as well as a cover corner. And it takes all on defense to make a team D a winning D.

However, I really take a look at 3 guys first, then those other 3 above- The Undertackle, then the Will, and finally Free Safety. Interestingly enough, Booger McFarland was the NT in both of these D's.

Here's the D from their respective SuperBowl winning teams through my first look lens:

Tampa- UT- W. Sapp, Will- D. Brooks, FS- John Lynch. Wow! then DE- S. Rice, (Wow!) Mike- S. Quarles. Wow! C. corner- R. Barber Wow!

Colts, UT- R. Brock, Will Cato June, FS- B Sanders / M. Jackson Nice! then DE- D. Freeney (Wow!), Mike- G. Bracket, Decent. C. corner- N. Harper / K. Hayden it works.

Seems to me the Tampa Bucs D was notably more talented, but Colts D wasn't a total dud either. Our superior Offense prowess more than makes up the differences in the D, IMHO. And as long as we continue to employ versions of the Tampa/cover 2, I still look at these positions first.

The biggest problems we had in Dungy's years were the DT's and WILL lb. The tampa bay defense was somewhat undersized but Dungy's DT's (primarily thinking of Brock and Reagor) and June at WILL (he was a safety in college) were just ridiculous. Makes me wonder if there were any meetings back in the Tampa Bay days with Monte Kiffin slapping Dungy upside the head saying something along the lines of, "we said small, not tiny you dummy" *whack* lol

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The difference between 06 Colts and today Colts is the linebacking core, the corners, and the DTs, which are extremely crucial to having a good team. Let's not compare us to the Bucs. They had superstars like Rice, Sapp, Lynch, Brooks, and Barber. They even had quality starters in Spires, McFarland and Jackson. Both teams played Tampa 2, but we don't even have a quarter of the great players Tampa had.

Where the players were selected is specifically one of the things I was looking for. Obviously the Tampa Bay defense was better...they were one of the best of the decade. The things I was looking for were:

1 - exactly how lopsided was the level of talent..I knew guys like Sapp and Brooks were first rounders but wanted to check out each of the starters

2 - How our guys today compare in size vs. in '06. I wanted to see if I was right in that the Dungy colts were all around significantly smaller than the guys we have today...and I was right.

3 - How our guys today compared in size vs. the '02 Bucs defense. I was surprised to see that our starters this year are actually slightly larger in several areas.

Oh and several have commented about differences in sizes between CB's and safeties...I honestly didn't look at that at all....the absolute only reason I included the size for those guys is that I had already included the sizes of the other players and it just didn't look right until I completed it and added height/weight for everyone....I guess I'm kinda OCD like that lol :)

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