At the end of January, I wrote the following:
This is the start. The start of McCarthy’s very own “Shoop Phase”. What’s that you ask? A “Shoop Phase” is where a head coach refuses to recognize the deficiencies of one of the coordinators on his staff, how that coordinator is holding the team back, and how that coordinator really just isn’t very good. Named (by yours truly) for the one-time offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, John Shoop was widely regarded as terrible by everyone in and out of football, save for Bears head coach Dick Jauron. After years of refusing to replace Shoop, Jauron was fired by Jerry Angelo, making way for the hiring of Lovie Smith.
Now, I’m not saying McCarthy is going to get fired any time soon. I am saying his team will continue to disappoint on the defensive side of the ball because of his faith in Bob Sanders. The only way this team wins a championship with Sanders as its defensive coordinator is if the defensive line goes 8 quality guys deep for the whole season. No injuries period. Because otherwise, you’ll always get what we got this year - a great pass rush from the front four the first half of the season that fades away in December and January due to worn down personnel.
McCarthy from today's presser:
I thought Bob was aggressive with the number of five-man pressures, man free, that we had called in the game. We didn't do a very good job pressuring the quarterback, we didn't do a very good job of pressuring their receivers. We play bump-and-run. The receivers don't run off the line against our coverage unit. That wasn't the case a lot of times yesterday. Pressure was not what it needed to be from our defense yesterday.
...when you look at who's making the mistakes, the experience level of the players. I'm talking about we had a number of young players on our defense yesterday who had an opportunity and didn't take advantage of it, and that's the facts. I thought some of our veteran players played solid, and we didn't get production that we needed throughout the whole defense. It was a poor performance from our defense. That was very evident. They know it, and we'll correct it and move on. But we had some young guys with an opportunity yesterday that really didn't take advantage of it.
Is it really McCarthy's contention that the play of his young secondary is at fault for the defense's inability to pressure Matt Ryan yesterday? Because that's absurd. The young guys need to bump off the line and cover their receivers, that is true. But the defensive coordinator should bear the ultimate responsibility for his squads deficiencies, should he not? And it should be his job to notice that along with the young corners and safeties not bumping properly at the line, variations on the same linebacker blitz over and over are not getting it done. Tramon Williams and Will Blackmon have exceptional speed and could be dangerous weapons in a great pressure package if only Sanders had the creativity to draw it up.
But no - McCarthy is content to make excuses for his very own 'John Shoop'.
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