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Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Defensive Line

by Mark Quarderer

Rob Demovsky, of the GB Press-Gazette, handed out his midseason grades. They weren't pretty, as you might imagine. But I think he missed the target by quite a bit when he handed out a C to our defensive line.

If you go to footballoutsiders.com and look at the exclusive stats for our defensive line, it sure looks like they're better than an average group.

The Packers defensive line comes in 7th against the run and 8th against the pass. Pittsburgh and Miami are the only other teams in the top 8 in both categories. Although we're still doing poorly against the power run (a run of 2 yards or less on third or 4th down)---we're rated 29th on that----we're the 4th best team in the league at limiting long runs.

Additionally, they're giving up a measly 3.32 yards/carry against running backs. This is not average, it's well above average.

Against the pass, we're ranked 8th in terms of sacks/pass ratio. Our total sacks are only 17, but you have to remember that teams aren't finding themselves in a "must pass" situation against us very often. In terms of percentage of passing attempts that end in a sack.....we're right up there.

Considering that the defensive line was viewed as one of the weaknesses of the team last year you have to give an awful lot of credit to the position coach and the defensive coordinator. I also applaud TT's refusal to spend a high draft pick on yet another young, unproven lineman. We cut chronic cancer Cletidus Hunt, cut the clueless James Lee, cut R Kal Truluck. In their place we plugged in guys like Colin Cole and Corey Williams and Kenny Peterson.

Just about every member of this defensive line will be a free agent at the end of this season or be heading into the last year of their deal. Grady Jackson and Aaron Kampman will both be UFAs. Kenny Petersen will be a RFA. Cole and Jenkins I believe will both be exclusive rights FAs. Corey Williams and Donnell Washington will both be in the last year of their contract.

I like this group but I think they could use some help. We're very thin at DE and we could certainly use a 3 down DE who could compliment KGB on the pass rush and replace him on run downs. Unless Donnell Washington suddenly buys a clue, we've got a big problem at DT if Grady departs. As I've said before, I think it's nuts to commit big money to a guy with his history but if we don't resign him then we'll be looking at spending money in free agency on his replacement, or spending a high draft pick on a guy who probably isn't as good.

I'd offer this guy the moon in incentives but I'd be really terrified of giving him guaranteed money because I think the only thing I'd be guaranteeing is that he'd spend time soaking in the tub.

Anyway, I just think Demovsky kind of lowballed this group. I think they're the strength of the team right now.

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