I, like many, am concerned about the puny defensive tackles we have, so I wanted to see how Meeks' philosophy of undersized, quicker tackles panned out in Indy. I assume someone has pointed all this out before, somewhere, but his run defenses were really bad.
2002 - Run (20th), Total (8th) - He inherited the 25th run defense, and 29th overall defense, so that's a pretty good start.
2003 - Run (20th), Total (11th) - Ok, went backwards a little there.
2004 - Run (24th), Total (29th) - Uh oh ...
2005 - Run (16th), Total (11th) - Decent recovery!
2006 - Run (32nd), Total (21st) - Uh ... instant firing imminent? Apparently not ...
2007 - Run (15th), Total (3rd) - Whoa! Where'd that come from?
2008 - Run (24th), Total (11th) - Back to mediocrity.
So, on average he oversaw the 19th run defense, and the 13th overall defense. Is that really the commitment to defensive excellence we're looking for? Our offense is a run first offense. That requires a stout defense to go along with it. Without a stout defense, they'll fall behind in games and have to abandon the running game to catch up.
I was fascinated how he was able to pull off that 2007 season, and it was what I predicted, a lot of turnovers. They were 2nd in picks, and 7th in fumble recoveries. Fluke seasons like that happen to every team now and then. Just ask the Saints.
So, in short, I believe Meeks will destroy our defensive line and leave us battered and bruised for years after he gets canned. I only hope it happens before he does something like spend a first round pick on a 280 pound defensive tackle.
Edit: Here's a few more statistics.
Colts Defense (Points Allowed)
2002 - 7th
2003 - 20th
2004 - 19th
2005 - 2nd
2006 - 23rd
2007 - 1st
2008 - 7th
Colts Defense (Interceptions)
2002 - 26th
2003 - 14th
2004 - 9th
2005 - 9th
2006 - 20th
2007 - 2nd
2008 - 11th
Panthers Defense (Points Allowed) (higher/lower than Indy's)
2002 – 5th (two spots higher)
2003 – 10th (ten spots higher)
2004 – 15th (four spots higher)
2005 – 5th (three spots lower)
2006 – 8th (fifteen spots higher)
2007 – 15th (fourteen spots lower)
2008 – 12th (five spots lower)
So, as you can clearly see, Indy's defense under Meeks was not consistent in points given up either. In fact, the Carolina defense was much more consistent. Meeks averaged the 11th ranked defense in points given up, and Carolina's old scheme ranked 10th. Meeks' defense was either really good, or really bad. Carolina's defense was ranked in the top half of the league every year. You can also see that the interceptions he created with his scheme was not consistent, so to say that was the upside of his bend but don't break cover-2 scheme is inaccurate. Besides that, Carolina ranked 1st in picks in 2004, and 4th in 2005, so turnovers aren't new to this team. The old scheme could produce them. I'm sorry, did Indy ever rank 1st in picks while Meeks was the coordinator? Huh? Let me look at the chart above.
Some have raised the point that Indy did not focus enough on defense, and that's why Meeks was not able to do as well as people think he could. However, his first year at Indy the whole draft was defense, except for one 6th round pick. In 2003-2007, the majority of each draft was defensive. In 2005, not only was the draft primarily defense, the top 3 picks were defense. So, clearly it was all on Meeks' scheme as to why that defense never stabilized. One person raised the point that while they did draft defensive players, they didn't grab up defensive free agents. I don't know about that, and I'm not going to spend an hour checking. Regardless, while Carolina has grabbed up defensive free agents in the past, this is a team that builds primarily through the draft, and I think Meeks had plenty of draft picks to work with at Indy.
One other point that has been raised is that the defense Meeks is using at Carolina is more of a Fox/Meeks blend than exactly what Meeks ran at Indy. That's open for debate. Right now, I would agree. Louis Leonard is not at all the kind of defensive tackle Meeks would've had at Indy. He never had a starting defensive tackle more than 300 pounds even. However, I do think Meeks is slowly moving towards what he did while with the Colts. He brought in Ed Johnson, who played with him at Indy. We only have one run stuffing tackle, Leonard. Everette Brown is a mirror image of the defensive ends he had at Indy. It's open for debate whether he'll revert completely to his old personnel, but I think it's very risky only carrying one run stuffer on the roster.