Panthers 2011 Midseason Review: Defense

Saving the worst for last here is part three of my three part review of the Panthers 2011 midseason performance. You can review the special teams performance here and the offensive performance here.

Using stats from Football Outsiders and NFL.com you can quickly see the Panthers defense has not made any notable improvement in 2011. Actually it has digressed significantly in a couple areas, which we will review... after the jump...

 

Statistic

2010 Season

2011 (8 Games)

Total Defense (DVOA)

22nd

31st

Rushing Defense (DVOA)

21st

31st

Passing Defense (DVOA)

8th

28th

Defensive Line (DVOA)

10th

32nd

Vs. #1 WR

10th

13th

Vs. #2 WR

1st

15th

Vs. #3 WR

24th

14th

Vs. TE

32nd

32nd

Vs. RB

3rd

27th

3rd Down %

385 (16th)

46% (29th)

Scoring Defense (Pts/G)

25.5 (28th)

25.9 (28th)

Sacks

31

16

 

There is not much there to admire Panther fans. About the best I can say that at least scoring defense is about the same and there is no deterioration in the sack count. These numbers might just be driving our move to a 3-4 defense. As noted earlier today the two recent roster moves on the defensive side of the ball involve players that seem a better fit in a 3-4 defense, DT Jason Shirley and DE/OLB Thomas Keiser. I think the only thing keeping us from a straight up move to a 3-4 is we have some elite players who probably don’t fit into a base 3-4 dense.

Though it’s no surprise our defensive line is ranked so low given they have been gashed so severely through the 1st half. I would not have guessed inserting two rookies for DT’s Derek Landri and Ed Johnson would have made such a big difference but I guess it shows the value of veteran experience.  

What I am most disappointed in is the pass defense deteriorating so dramatically. I never saw that coming given we have essentially the same secondary minus Richard Marshall. I think it does speak to the safety play not being up to standard and getting an All-Pro option across from Chris Gamble. Also, we can’t seem to cover a TE no matter who the coach or LBs in use.

So where we don't have stats to fall back on to give us that warm and fuzzy we instead have the hope a new coach and staff bring. I think in year 2 of the Rivera Era we will see the type of improvement in the defense that we have seen in the offense this season.

I'm not going to bother with a poll because I think it is obvious how most do or should feel with this performance. So what do you think?

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