I think it's important to ask ourselves if this is a good defense or it isn't. I think undeniably it is better than last year's defense. I don't even need to look at the stats to know it is better. But, obviously the stats do support it.
How good is this defense? I suggest it is a pretty good defense.I don't think it is quite as good as some are making it out to be. But, it might be - either right now or in the future. Time will tell. But, I like this defense, I consider it a very good defense and expect it to improve. Having said that, on Sunday this defense did some great things but came up short when it needed to. It gave up 30 pts and 141 rushing yards. This was not a team loaded with offensive superstars. At least not on Sunday. No Gronk, no Hernandez, Amendola started hurt and then got further injured. Welker, Woodhead and others are gone and the young receiving corps has been struggling. They have been winning but not impressively.They lost the week before and they They dropped a number of passes in our game.
For the record, I am not 100% sold on Ryan. He's good but he's risky. He's better than Spagnola and he's a lot like GW. But, he's sloppy if you ask me. I thought his finish to the Pats game was sloppy. Wrong personnel in at the end. Too many run stoppers when it was passing situations. It seemed like the defense was gassed they really hadn't played a huge amount in the 4th qtr.
There are 10 games and playoffs remaining and they probably will improve. If Vilma comes back, he may be an asset on passing downs and as Quddus gets healthier he may help in the depth area. Harper, to many a scapegoat, in my opinion is a large asset if used properly, but I will admit I initially thought Bush wouldn't be this good and now I am impressed with Bush's play. I would not take playing time from Bush. And a healthy Broderick Bunkley may help. I am starting to see certain role players fit in nicely also such as Humber, Herring,and Wilson (he probably will eventually have a larger role) and Tom Johnson. Parys Harrelson has played well. I expect him to contribute even more.
But, I was surprised- for all the optimism and buzz about this defense,it seemed like there were very low expectations for it at the end of the Pats game. Like it was too much to ask for this defense to protect the lead. Like the offense needed to proitect the lead and not risk the D getting on the field. It doesn't seem, in spite of all the hype, that the fanbase trusts this defense.
Would last year's SF defense or Baltimore defense get the blame if they gave up a series of plays like the Saints did? Would the SF offense or Baltimore offense get blamed?
Would this year's KC defense not be expected to keep a lead under the same circumstances? How about Seattle's defense? What do you think? Is this a good defense that can be trusted, or will the offense need to carry this defense?
I think this defense should consider itself a bright spot and a top notch unit in itself and not feel like it needs to play second fiddle to any other unit. This is a group that can win games and dominate if they play well. But if they share the same views as many of the fan base, they will be using the offense as a crutch and that's not good. I suspect they are not and they will get stronger from this loss.