The grades for the defense continue. I didn’t know if I would be grading low or high on most and I was surprised with how it turned out.
With our defensive being one of the culprits of the 6-10 season, I was anxious to get into the linebacker and defensive back grades. I wanted to see their stats, re-watch some gameplay and see who showed up on Sundays and who didn’t.
*9 Games played
This was the year we needed help from our veterans. Our younger players weren’t doing hot and we were being hit by injuries hard. We needed guys like Barnett to step up. He stepped down. It was unbelievable. Master of the overplay really seemed to decline this year. It got to the point that when he got hurt(of course) that a lot of people thought it was a GOOD thing, and you know what? I think it might have been.
- Nick had 68 tackles.
*10 missed tackles
The Swarmin Mormon! I like this guy and once again a guy I liked had a mediocre year. The team pretty much came out and said this guy can’t play the pass and put in Chillar on 3rd downs. Of course when Nick got hurt Poppinga got a starting role and he didn’t do too bad. Poppinga is as average as average can get. His salary is also average, so what do you expect? Solid player who isn’t a huge reason our defense sucked.
- Brady led the team in tackles for loss – 3.5!
Hawk sure isn’t progressing very much, is he? Once again, solid player who isn’t costing us anything, but he isn’t actively doing anything to help us win. And Winston Moss was a candidate for a head coaching position?
- AJ had 3 sacks.
*1 forced fumble
Chillar might be our best linebacker. Yeah, I said it. The dude can cover tight ends. He can also tackle. He had the same amount of missed tackles as Colin Cole, and that guy can tackle. Chillar showed speed on outside runs and was a sure tackler. A lot of times I assumed the guy making the play was Hawk or Poppinga but a lot of times it was this guy, a “part timer” who got the nod due to injury and could be a full timer in 2009. Good on you, Chillar.
- Gave up .5 of a touchdown!(Stats are funny!)
*3 forced fumbles
He has more sacks than Poppinga and more forced fumbles than Hawk, Poppinga, AND Chillar. The guy makes plays, however most of them are on special teams. He got extensive playing time against Houston and racked up 2 forced fumbles and a sack. It’s sad our best linebacker might be a special teamer. Bishop was also the victim of a big play that led to a touchdown but it was HIS ONLY MISSED TACKLE OF THE YEAR. On special teams or on defense, I want more Desmond Bishop in my life.
I have to kick off the secondary grades right, and the theme of INJURIES continue. Atari only played in SEVEN games. SEVEN! He missed most of the damn season and he’s our best safety! That was such a big loss. Our defense needed him so bad. Our D-line sucked and our linebackers were average at best, but Atari and the DB’s could save the day! Nope, because most of them got banged up or are Nick Collins.
- Atari means “Attack” in Japanese.
- Bigby means “Awesome” in Lebanese.
People find it funny how much I dislike a guy who is going to the pro bowl, and from a statistics standpoint, I understand their confusion. But this game is about more than stats. For those who watched the games noticed the same thing I did, Nick Collins is an all-or-nothing safety. He’s either returning a pick for a TD or he’s giving up six points to the other team. For you statistic kids, Nick gave up the most touchdowns with 5. Since we lost 7 games by 5 or less, those 35 points seem like kind of a big deal to me. He’s good, but he’s not great. Let’s not forget this.
- Nick Collins has led the “Dropped interceptions” category for 3 of his 4 seasons.
*6 missed tackles
Another theme of the defense, other than injuries, is AVERAGE. Rouse was very average this year. He got 2 interceptions, made some nice hits, but he gave up some big plays. 2009 will be a big year for the growth of Aaron and we’ll see if he’s got what it takes or if he’s the next Nick Collins.
- My “Rouse to the House” campaign didn’t take off as planned. I have high hopes for “Rouse tackled a guy!” though.
He played most of the year with a broken foot and was the best cornerback in the NFL. I don’t care about stats or pro bowl voting. He was the best. He was a man. He was a leader. He even tackled people, which sometimes he struggles with. He even played SAFETY because things got so bad there and he did it WELL. C-Wood was a monster in 2008 and while I had fears our aging duo might slip up, Woodson did his part…AND SOME!
- Charles thinks we should sign veteran free agents in 2009.
And then there’s Al Harris…a guy who is always on my bad side. Well not here. Al had a very good year. I was certain Al’s skills would decline and would cost us huge but that was nto the case. Sure he got abused at times and he would get penalized for being an idiot, but he played a great season. Oh yeah, he did most of it recovering from spleen-o-sectomy!
- Al had 5 penalties in 2008.
*14 pass deflections(Chuck led team with 17)
The Future. At least that’s what I call him. He is the future at the cornerback position for us. I’ve NEVER seen someone slide in from nickel to starter so smoothly. The kid is like a glove, and he doesn’t get grabby! He’s given up his share of big plays this year, but opposing quarterbacks can not just throw to his guy because Al and Chuck are great. Doing that will end in Tramon getting an interception, kind of like how he got his FIVE interceptions this year. 5 picks from a nonstarter? Yeah, the future looks bright.
- Tramon was not drafted, making himself a quality free agent pick up for the Packers.
*5 games played
It’s hard to judge what a rookie can do when he only plays in five games, and not much in THOSE games. Everyone is high on him and he DID make a couple awesome tackles in 2008, but the jury is still out.
- He only had 2 tackles, but they were sweet!
* 2 forced fumbles
I don’t really care about Blackmon has a cornerback. He’s decent enough. A fine dime back who likely won’t crack that spot, especially if Lee is worth a damn. Will as a RETURNER is where his money is at. He came into his own in 2008 as our punt returner, bringing 2 back for touchdowns. He’s a threat every time and that’s all you ask.
*Led special teams in missed tackles
The argument could be made that this son of a bitch single handedly ruined our season. When you’re losing 7 games by 5 or less, missing so many special teams tackles and allowing the opposing team to get great field position(and easy points off it), you’re really screwing the team. Worst.Player.Ever.
- Alex is the head of the Jarrett Bush fan club.
*Played in 13 games(seriously)
If you won’t believe me about how bad the injuries were in 2008, then how about this: Charlie Peprah got playing time. What a world we live in. He was bad as you would expect.
- Charlie is still on the team somehow!
UP NEXT: SPECIAL TEAMS
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