Re: Lack of Pass Rush
posted at 4/28/2010 2:18 AM EDT
I'd like to think that the cornerbacks' inability to make plays on the ball (they ran with or near receivers but never jumped or tried to bat the ball when it was thrown and often weren't looking for the ball when it came) also contributed to the Pats' inability to generate pressure. QBs threw to receivers in tight spaces with impunity.
Having said this, I tend to agree somewhat with your assessment.
Banta-Cain was effective at beating his man to the QB, although I worry about him anchoring against the run.
Ninkovich was a decent anchor against the run, but a mediocre pass rusher who won battles through tenacity. I don't think he'll ever record more than 5 sacks in a season because of his talent ceiling, as much as I like him.
Burgess was an unmitigated disaster. At least one of his sacks came when Matt Moore of the Carolina Panthers broke a clean pocket where every one of his linemen had their guy blocked to roll out to the right and into Burgess' arms, where he celebrated the occasion like the QB didn't just hand him the sack and the stat on a silver platter. He's too small to bull rush, anchor against the run, and extend against big offensive tackles, and he's too slow to speed rush. EVERY time he tried a spin move he ended up on his a*s*s.
Especially because the defensive linemen play two-gap where they have to make reads before heading upfield as pass rushers and also because in the 3-4 all three d-linemen end up in a crowd in the interior where it's much harder to generate pressure, I think it's important that the OLB's get the edge and move the QB off of his spot.
I think the most important element to the pass rush is finding a suitable right end for running downs and finding a MLB who can complement Jerod Mayo and stuff the hole so Mayo can flow to the play without getting stuck in a crowd (Guyton got pushed around at times, which couldn't have helped Mayo do his job).
By stuffing the run on rushing downs, they can force teams into long yardage situations, substitute all of their best pass rushers into the game (Mike Wright and Myron Pryor on d-line), and cut them loose (no need for d-linemen to worry about 2-gap)