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Bend Don’t Break —- Frustrating!


Smonroe
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Watching the Bills game today and it reminded me of how much I dislike that D.  The Bills defenders were on our receiver like glue (most of the time getting there early).  And at one time I think Allen had 11 or 12 completions in a row.  Allen had all day to find his receivers. Total lack of pass rush is bad with any D, but it’s horrible with the T2 or T3.  
 

We’ve already rehashed a lot of the reasons we lost, jumping off side, missed gimme FG, several bad play calls, drops, etc.   

 

But for this thread, how do people feel about that soft D?   Maybe we had to play it because of the lack of pass rushers and our DBs.  I still hate it. 

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I actually agree. Eberflus needs to mix things up so the defense does more dictating. Reich does this wonderfully with the offense. I do think if we can get a better pass rush that will go a long way. Mix in some more blitzes. We have two of the best blitzers in the league.

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My problem with the team is the lack of pass-rush honestly, and the conservative nature of Eberflus that goes with it. It's very deflating when we usually get little pressure on the QB and they can pass all over us. I'm glad we drafted Paye and Dayo, but Dayo is going to miss a large portion of the year, and Paye is more of an elite run-stopper (which is still good) than an elite pass rusher. 

 

I'm hoping the pass-rush is better this year, and the secondary can improve a bit, but I think that may have to wait until 2022 honestly.

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I’m with you on not being a fan of our “soft” coverage year after year. The whole defense is based off of pressure with your front four so expecting us to be among the leaders in blitz percentage is no educated fans expectation… but I’d like to see a little more lol.

 

Kenny and Leonard just bring so much juice when blitzing I don’t see how you don’t try to increase their opportunities in that facet.

 

A fan can dream… and at the end of the day we’ll see what happens. I’m just tired of it seeming like EVERY year some QB sets a record for consecutive completions against us lol

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19 minutes ago, NewColtsFan said:

I appreciate that we didn’t generate much pass rush on that game.   Several other games too. 
 

That said, we do NOT play a bend but don’t break defense.   We just didn’t get home enough.  There’s a difference.   And while Allen was picking us apart, especially on the 96 yard drive, it took two perfect throws that few quarterbacks can make to keep that drive alive.  Along with two exceptional catches to beat ys. 
 

The first rollout on a 3rd down far up the sidelines who made a toe dragging catch.  The catch was complete by about two inches. 
 

The second, Allen rolled left and threw a dart back across his body to Davis on the near sidelines for a first.  And I think he got his toes in by maybe one inch.   Two great, perfect throws, and two great pieces of footwork to beat us.   Either of those is out of bounds and I’m not sure we lose that game?

 

Bottom line, we saw how Ballard spent his beloved draft picks.  3 of the first four on defense.   Is there really a need to say more?

 

Yep, those 2 catches were extremely lucky and when they fumbled and we didn't get it, they were lucky there too. They got a ton of breaks against us and still barely beat us. 

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As it relates to the Bills game I think the inability to get to Allen was the single largest factor in the loss. It showed itself to be a problem in long stretches during the season as well. That is why I had no issue with the top two picks in the draft despite clear needs in other positions. 
 

As it relates to the thread question, if they are right about Paye and Dayo, the Dline will be a huge factor and make the overall scheme more effective. 
 

I have legit hope for 2021 

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17 minutes ago, jskinnz said:

As it relates to the Bills game I think the inability to get to Allen was the single largest factor in the loss. It showed itself to be a problem in long stretches during the season as well. That is why I had no issue with the top two picks in the draft despite clear needs in other positions. 
 

As it relates to the thread question, if they are right about Paye and Dayo, the Dline will be a huge factor and make the overall scheme more effective. 
 

I have legit hope for 2021 

 

Definitely. This D as much as any is dependent on getting home with 4. Or at least disrupting. 

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As many of you pointed out, the inability to get to Allen in that game was the key.  And still, it was a very close game.  
 

What’s worrisome to me is the the only two guys that did get to Allen are gone.  So we’re counting on a rookie, and hoping that Lewis continues to progress and adequately replace Autry.  Turay has to stay healthy, and who knows if Banogu even makes the team.  
 

 

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51 minutes ago, Smonroe said:

As many of you pointed out, the inability to get to Allen in that game was the key.  And still, it was a very close game.  
 

What’s worrisome to me is the the only two guys that did get to Allen are gone.  So we’re counting on a rookie, and hoping that Lewis continues to progress and adequately replace Autry.  Turay has to stay healthy, and who knows if Banogu even makes the team.  
 

 

Young players get better.

 

Young players who have only had limited opportunity get better as they get more opportunity.  
 

It’s not unreasonable to think that out of Paye, Lewis, Turay, Muhammed, Banogu, and Rochelle we can’t put together a better than expected pass rush.   Notice I didn’t even include Dayo who I wouldn’t expect before November at the earliest , and then only play very limited snaps. 
 

If you believe in this front office and it’s ability to spot and develop talent, then you have to give them props for being brave enough to let proven guys walk and replace them with young, and unproven players.   The front office and coaches believe in these players, so I will too until they give me reason not to. 

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1 hour ago, NewColtsFan said:

Young players get better.

 

Young players who have only had limited opportunity get better as they get more opportunity.  
 

It’s not unreasonable to think that out of Paye, Lewis, Turay, Muhammed, Banogu, and Rochelle we can’t put together a better than expected pass rush.   Notice I didn’t even include Dayo who I wouldn’t expect before November at the earliest , and then only play very limited snaps. 
 

If you believe in this front office and it’s ability to spot and develop talent, then you have to give them props for being brave enough to let proven guys walk and replace them with young, and unproven players.   The front office and coaches believe in these players, so I will too until they give me reason not to. 

 

 It is important that you included Rochelle. He and perhaps Lewis will get snaps inside that we can hope will help that pass rush.

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it’s not bend don’t break it depends on the front line to win the battle up front.  When they do the Colts defense makes bad things happen to other teams offenses.  When they don’t they get shredded because the other team just waits for the coverage to break down which is going to happen in the NFL even if you have the 85 Bears out there but they aren’t getting pressure on the QB.  
 

The problem last year was the front four simply didn’t win enough.  Ballard seemed to recognize that by using the teams top two draft picks on guys who should help the line win up front at the expense of other areas or need, most notable left tackle, but time will tell if they work.  If they do this defense could be really scary.

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Development is most important, least recognized, least appreciated aspect of a long term successful team there is imo. This is a bit off from the op's question, but it relates nonetheless. 

 

It's pretty interesting to read how fans expect players to come in year one from the draft and instantly raise the level of the team. It's damn near comical. If it happens?....verrrrry cool. But to expect it?.............waste of emotion.

 

Unfortunately, a lot of those same fans then have to then denote each player that doesn't produce in the first year or two, as a bust. Why? Well.......because they were suppose to produce right away :P  I mean, that's what good G.M.'s do...right? pick players who produce now. :blah:

 

As @NewColtsFan pointed out, young players get better. There is no way in hell that Ballard just lets our two most productive pass rushers go, and is blindly hoping that the guys behind them will make it. Could they not get it done? Sure. But just in case, he drafted the back up plan, and it looks scary good. I think Lewis makes the jump. I also think the "Payodingo" additions are gonna turn heads. 

 

Relax. 

 

But to acknowledge Smonroe's point.....I would rather have a bend don't break D....than get beat over the top. Personally, I despise that....

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1 minute ago, LJpalmbeacher2 said:

Lol, Allen isn't the only QB that's had success against our more than sometimes soft cover 2. 

Lol….   Who said he was?   
 

The point was not that it only happened once — it clearly didn’t.    The point is that we DON’T play a bend but don’t break defense.  

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4 hours ago, NewColtsFan said:

Lol….   Who said he was?   
 

The point was not that it only happened once — it clearly didn’t.    The point is that we DON’T play a bend but don’t break defense.  


I get what you’re saying, technically you don’t want to call it that.   However, we do usually play a soft cover 2 or 3 with the main purpose of keeping everything in front of the DBs and not allowing big plays.  The goal is as the field shortens, there’s less room to “give”.  
 

At the same time, the D is always trying to cause a turn over.   It can allow for the QB to have a high percentage of completions, but you hope he will make a mistake.

 

I know that’s a very rudimentary description.  I also know it’s most likely the best D you can play with the talent available.  We don’t have a lock down DB, and except for Buckner we didn’t have a D lneman that scared anyone.

 

So call it what you will.  Right or wrong, I’m just saying it's very frustrating to watch.  

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1 hour ago, Smonroe said:


I get what you’re saying, technically you don’t want to call it that.   However, we do usually play a soft cover 2 or 3 with the main purpose of keeping everything in front of the DBs and not allowing big plays.  The goal is as the field shortens, there’s less room to “give”.  
 

The problem that makes our defense look 'soft' is that it is primarily a 'read and react' scheme, and that's always too slow and predictable. A portion needs to be more aggressively anticipatory with an intensity that varies based on game conditions.

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59 minutes ago, CoachLite said:

The problem that makes our defense look 'soft' is that it is primarily a 'read and react' scheme, and that's always too slow and predictable. A portion needs to be more aggressively anticipatory with an intensity that varies based on game conditions.

Problem with that is too many QBs change the play at the line. Our D forces QBs to consistently play very well to beat us. They don’t play well bc of our D. I can accept when another player goes out and makes the plays to beat us for 60min. We put the game in our players hands and ask them to go make plays and beat the other team. I feel our scheme is fine but we don’t have the players yet to fully pull it off.  A lot rides on D lines for most defenses.  Hopefully player development and new blood elevated that part. 

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16 hours ago, Smonroe said:

how do people feel about that soft D

 

The defense isn't meant to be soft. It just looks that way when the pass rush doesn't get home. And I think that's true of any defense.

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3 minutes ago, Superman said:

 

The defense isn't meant to be soft. It just looks that way when the pass rush doesn't get home. And I think that's true of any defense.

 

Kind of true.  The difference becomes more apparent when you're playing a "soft" zone rather than man coverage.  

 

If the DBs are playing man, even if the pass rush doesn't get home, they're challenging the throw.

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2 minutes ago, Smonroe said:

 

Kind of true.  The difference becomes more apparent when you're playing a "soft" zone rather than man coverage.  

 

If the DBs are playing man, even if the pass rush doesn't get home, they're challenging the throw.

 

Your claim is zone = soft, man = challenge. That's an over simplification. Receivers get open vs man coverage all the time. And it's not hard to think of tough zone defenses, including the Colts in several games last season.

 

From memory, I think there were lots of tightly contested catches by the Bills. I don't remember a ton of easy catches with no defender engaged. 

 

I don't want to see a bunch of big cushions, where the pass rush doesn't even have a chance to get home. But I don't think the defense is characterized by that issue. The opener vs the Jags saw some of that, but mostly defenders were out of position and undisciplined, not just playing back and not challenging the receivers. That's a problem with execution, not scheme.

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15 minutes ago, Superman said:

 

Your claim is zone = soft, man = challenge. That's an over simplification. Receivers get open vs man coverage all the time. And it's not hard to think of tough zone defenses, including the Colts in several games last season.

 

From memory, I think there were lots of tightly contested catches by the Bills. I don't remember a ton of easy catches with no defender engaged. 

 

I don't want to see a bunch of big cushions, where the pass rush doesn't even have a chance to get home. But I don't think the defense is characterized by that issue. The opener vs the Jags saw some of that, but mostly defenders were out of position and undisciplined, not just playing back and not challenging the receivers. That's a problem with execution, not scheme.

 

Of course it's an over simplification.  I wasn't going to write a diatribe on the techniques of a Cover 2/3 defense.

 

Some of the throws that Allen made were basically undefensible.  But there were some that were "allowed" in our scheme.  (I'm not talking about the TD catch where Carrie got plain beat)  Those are the plays that frustrate me.  

 

Again - I'm not saying it doesn't work.  I fully understand why they play that conservative D with the personnel available.  I probably shouldn't have used the term "soft".  Substitute it with Frustrating.  And I'm old enough and have been a Colts fan long enough to say I'm frustrated at times!  Amen

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23 minutes ago, Superman said:

 

Your claim is zone = soft, man = challenge. That's an over simplification. Receivers get open vs man coverage all the time. And it's not hard to think of tough zone defenses, including the Colts in several games last season.

 

From memory, I think there were lots of tightly contested catches by the Bills. I don't remember a ton of easy catches with no defender engaged. 

 

I don't want to see a bunch of big cushions, where the pass rush doesn't even have a chance to get home. But I don't think the defense is characterized by that issue. The opener vs the Jags saw some of that, but mostly defenders were out of position and undisciplined, not just playing back and not challenging the receivers. That's a problem with execution, not scheme.

 

I'd argue some of the biggest detractors don't understand the basic D schematic concepts judging by some complaints we've seen voiced in recent years.  That's not me saying that anyone who criticises our D doesn't know what they're talking about to be clear. Just it get's very tiring to see "Eberflus sucks" & "Zone D sucks" after 1 bad play. 

 

Ballard has made it clear via FA/Draft his ethos on building the D, the investment is going into the front 7. CBs tend to be drafted against a physical profile., but also not exactly shy about making tackles. That says to me he thinks the key is getting constant and consistent disruption/pressure, especially when only sending 4. Personally I think that's the right way round to build. 

 

It does mean you're either going to have to draft very well later round DBs, or accept some limitations in your secondary personal. Unless we get lucky, you're unlikely to have a CB1 you can put out their on an island, and also probably increases the risks of playing in man in some situations. 

 

Going back to the first point, the amount of posts saying playing zone is wrong full stop. Not at all, and makes some sense with how we're setting up our D. Not that you'd ever play man/zone exclusively anyway. The issues as you say come when your rush isn't getting home, as even an average QB will pick zones apart with time and lack of pressure, and also when we don't execute well. 

 

Personally, I'm quietly enthusiastic at the direction the D is heading in. We were after 5th in turnovers last season after all, and I'd hope with improved penetration this would only get better. 

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4 hours ago, Smonroe said:


I get what you’re saying, technically you don’t want to call it that.   However, we do usually play a soft cover 2 or 3 with the main purpose of keeping everything in front of the DBs and not allowing big plays.  The goal is as the field shortens, there’s less room to “give”.  
 

At the same time, the D is always trying to cause a turn over.   It can allow for the QB to have a high percentage of completions, but you hope he will make a mistake.

 

I know that’s a very rudimentary description.  I also know it’s most likely the best D you can play with the talent available.  We don’t have a lock down DB, and except for Buckner we didn’t have a D lneman that scared anyone.

 

So call it what you will.  Right or wrong, I’m just saying it's very frustrating to watch.  

Thanks, I appreciate your response.   And I agree, it IS very frustrating to watch.  
 

But I think it’s the same no matter what defense you run.   If you don’t get home enough, the quarterback has too much time and looks great.   Other teams have run what we run and been successful doing it.   Take Seattle for instance.   That’s where we found Ed Dodds.   That defense was scary good.   And I think Chicago’s defense when Ballard was there was very good. 

 

I think it’s less about the type of defense you play and more about how good you are running it.   It’s all about the pass rush and the pressure we bring.   If it’s better, our defense will look and be much much better.  Not trying to state the obvious, just saying… 
 

 

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To peoples point, they don’t want to play a soft C2. We  Have Leonard and Blackmon who show out playing aggressively with what is in front of them.  Problem is they get beat pretty consistently playing what’s behind them.  
 

the front four did OK ImO rushing last year but not good enough to be a really good defense with the talent level in coverage.   I really think they want to do more t2, but lack a MLB and the rush to do it effectively.

 

id be pretty surprised if the rush is better than last year.  The only thing that I see that would make us better is if Turay is stud.  I’ve seen enough to think he can be pretty good, but I’d be pretty surprised if he was a stud.

 

I expect our D to be worse at least for half the year.  After that if the plan is going to work, I think it will show.  If we show it, then I could see us having a nasty, deep DL rotation ala SF a couple seasons ago running guys in and out like hockey lines, and players like JB and DL wreaking havoc.

 

If the DL doesn’t pan out, we will look pretty bad against mediocre and above passing games In perpetuity.

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Seattle's Cover 3 had great inside push along with very good DE play plus man CBs with Sherman and Maxwell to go with Chancellor and Earl Thomas as stellar safeties. Our safeties are nowhere as good, and our pass rush left plenty to be desired. I think that is where our expected execution of a Seattle D like Cover 3 will fall short. It did take them a couple of years to put it all together and when it came together, it was a treat to watch. A lot is riding on the defensive draft picks of the past 3 years for things to come together.

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20 minutes ago, chad72 said:

Seattle's Cover 3 had great inside push along with very good DE play plus man CBs with Sherman and Maxwell to go with Chancellor and Earl Thomas as stellar safeties. Our safeties are nowhere as good, and our pass rush left plenty to be desired. I think that is where our expected execution of a Seattle D like Cover 3 will fall short. It did take them a couple of years to put it all together and when it came together, it was a treat to watch. A lot is riding on the defensive draft picks of the past 3 years for things to come together.

They had excellent coverage LBs too.  We don’t.  You think they are headed towards C3?  I think they thought about it at first and scrapped it.  
 

I mean we had Hooker who was a stud in a lot C3 in 2018 I think.  Right now we would be a complete disaster in 3 as the main look IMO.

 

C2 is not always what you want to do, but it’s often what you have to do.  I really think we are setting up to play T2, aggressive C2, and mixing in a little man/c3.

 

I personally think us blitzing alot would be a friggin disaster tape.  O the humanity.  You don’t have to blitz to be aggressive.  You can press.

 

 

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Seems everyone agrees here without wanting to agree lol.

 

schematically our defense is predicated off of our ability to cause disruption with our 4 down lineman. The issue has been our DL’s ability to provide that pressure game in and game out.

 

I love the fact we invest so heavily in our front lines on offense and defense! Everybody wants the huge, nasty, physically imposing front UNTIL it’s time to invest those premium draft picks though lol.

 

We’ve seen how adding Q (wasn’t a fan of a G that early, SOOO elated to have been wrong. Literally have a man crush on him now lol) and Braden changed our offensive identity when they settled in. I don’t know if I expect quiet the same drastic turnaround on our DL but adding talent around Buckner and Stewart will only pay dividends. If we can jump into the conversation as having a top 10 DLine to go with our top 3-5 OLine I think we’ll make some noise this year.

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58 minutes ago, Myles said:

Perhaps we will see a bit of a different defense this year.   They have focused on pass rush.

 

I'd like to think so.  But in reality, we let our two most productive pass rushers walk.  We drafted one guy who may not play until who knows when.  So we're counting on a rookie, continued development from a couple guys, and hoping one guy (BB) isn't a complete bust.

 

I know that's harsh, but it is where we're at.  I'm not saying it's a disaster, but it's not proven until it is, right?

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2 minutes ago, Smonroe said:

 

I'd like to think so.  But in reality, we let our two most productive pass rushers walk.  We drafted one guy who may not play until who knows when.  So we're counting on a rookie, continued development from a couple guys, and hoping one guy (BB) isn't a complete bust.

 

I know that's harsh, but it is where we're at.  I'm not saying it's a disaster, but it's not proven until it is, right?

For some gut reason I think Paye is going to be very good. Even as a rookie. He just has that vibe about him.

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21 minutes ago, Nickster said:

They had excellent coverage LBs too.  We don’t.  You think they are headed towards C3?  I think they thought about it at first and scrapped it.  
 

I mean we had Hooker who was a stud in a lot C3 in 2018 I think.  Right now we would be a complete disaster in 3 as the main look IMO.

 

C2 is not always what you want to do, but it’s often what you have to do.  I really think we are setting up to play T2, aggressive C2, and mixing in a little man/c3.

 

I personally think us blitzing alot would be a friggin disaster tape.  O the humanity.  You don’t have to blitz to be aggressive.  You can press.

 

 


I basically agree with you bro!

 

I remember when Banogu was drafted and the initial talk on how he was going to be deployed was extremely similar to the LEO position in the Seattle LOB days. There was a LOT of chatter of us moving to more C3 concepts.

 

None of us really know but my gut says you’re right and we have been draft/developing players that seem to be more Dungy/Tampa 2 scheme fits.

 

Call it “soft” if you like but my understanding was the Dungy T2 I grew up watching was about playing fast, keeping everything in front of you, keeping to your assignments, and “basically” waiting for the offense to make a mistake lol. You could jokingly say it was also a defense designed with playing with the lead in mind. Don’t even get me started on how small out DLine was back then LOL… Man if we had an athlete like Buckner on that defense lol

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20 minutes ago, Smonroe said:

 

I'd like to think so.  But in reality, we let our two most productive pass rushers walk.  We drafted one guy who may not play until who knows when.  So we're counting on a rookie, continued development from a couple guys, and hoping one guy (BB) isn't a complete bust.

 

I know that's harsh, but it is where we're at.  I'm not saying it's a disaster, but it's not proven until it is, right?

 

At least you are not seeing it with blue colored glasses, it is a fair assessment. :) 

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5 minutes ago, MONEYdontLIE said:


I basically agree with you bro!

 

I remember when Banogu was drafted and the initial talk on how he was going to be deployed was extremely similar to the LEO position in the Seattle LOB days. There was a LOT of chatter of us moving to more C3 concepts.

 

None of us really know but my gut says you’re right and we have been draft/developing players that seem to be more Dungy/Tampa 2 scheme fits.

 

Call it “soft” if you like but my understanding was the Dungy T2 I grew up watching was about playing fast, keeping everything in front of you, keeping to your assignments, and “basically” waiting for the offense to make a mistake lol. You could jokingly say it was also a defense designed with playing with the lead in mind. Don’t even get me started on how small out DLine was back then LOL… Man if we had an athlete like Buckner on that defense lol

This is what I’m looking at.  Rock might be really good as a hard T2 type of corner but when we ask the kid to run down the field all day long with outside receivers in man or 3,  he’s gonna foul. He has to.  He doesn’t and never will have the pure speed.  It doesn’t make sense.

 

You need an elite level 3Tech.  Well that’s a big ole check.

 

you need a S that can come up and make plays.  Blackmon shows this but he is a horror show behind.  Maybe that will develop.  
 

if we are not building for a T2 then Ballard is making some weird moves IMO.

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33 minutes ago, Smonroe said:

 

I'd like to think so.  But in reality, we let our two most productive pass rushers walk.  We drafted one guy who may not play until who knows when.  So we're counting on a rookie, continued development from a couple guys, and hoping one guy (BB) isn't a complete bust.

 

I know that's harsh, but it is where we're at.  I'm not saying it's a disaster, but it's not proven until it is, right?

I only say so because we used our 1st round and 2nd round picks on DE.  That at least shows me that the team considers the pass rush a high priority.  I'm skeptical but also optimistic.   

 

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2 hours ago, Smonroe said:

 

Of course it's an over simplification.  I wasn't going to write a diatribe on the techniques of a Cover 2/3 defense.

 

Some of the throws that Allen made were basically undefensible.  But there were some that were "allowed" in our scheme.  (I'm not talking about the TD catch where Carrie got plain beat)  Those are the plays that frustrate me.  

 

Again - I'm not saying it doesn't work.  I fully understand why they play that conservative D with the personnel available.  I probably shouldn't have used the term "soft".  Substitute it with Frustrating.  And I'm old enough and have been a Colts fan long enough to say I'm frustrated at times!  Amen

 

Some catches are going to be allowed. Can't stop 'em all.

 

Far be it from me to tell anyone they shouldn't be frustrated. You're well within your rights, of course. And I agree at times, the opener for example was very frustrating. My objection is primarily with saying zone defense = soft defense. When it's executed properly, and the pass rush is effective, the defense can be really good.

 

One more thing, unlike the Dungy defenses, this current defense can actually stop the run. 

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