Friday, April 16, 2010
AFC South: Problems, potential solutions
By Paul Kuharsky
The fine folks at ESPN Stats & Information provided predraft reminders of some sore spot issues. Here’s my take on their info, with what these numbers could prompt each team to do to address them in the first round:
Jaguars, No. 10 overall
Problem: The Jaguars sacked the quarterback just seven times when sending four or fewer rushers in 2009, the fewest in the without an extra rusher.
Potential solution: End Derrick Morgan would be a nice piece to go with Aaron Kampman and Derrick Harvey as the Jaguars look to be more threatening.
Problem: The Jags allowed one sack for every 11.9 pass attempts against four or fewer rushers in 2009, the third worst rate in the league.
Potential solutions: Guard Mike Iupati might be a bit high here and would come a year after the Jaguars spent their first and second picks on offensive tackles. Center Maurkice Pouncey could be had a bit later in a trade down and would be an upgrade over Brad Meester.
Titans, No. 16 overall
Problem: Tennessee allowed 4.5 yards per rush on attempts in the middle of the field, the second-highest average in the league.
Potential solution: Linebacker Rolando McClain. But I see them counting on better play from interior linemen and the continued growth of middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch.
Problem: The Titans allowed opponents to complete 31 of their 64 attempts of 21 or more yards downfield in 2009 -- the most completions allowed on attempts over 20 yards in the NFL.
Potential solutions: Cornerbacks Kyle Wilson or Patrick Robinson could start at some point in 2010 opposite Cortland Finnegan.
Texans, 20th overall
Problem: Houston recorded just 12 sacks with four or fewer rushers in 2009, tied for the second fewest in the NFL. When sending four or fewer defenders after the quarterback, the Texans recorded one sack for every 32.3 pass attempts.
Potential solutions: They are thinking pass rushing tackle, not an end. But 20 may be too high for Jared Odrick or Brian Price considering other needs and possibilities. They drafted defensive linemen first in 2005, 2006 and 2007, so this problem is especially frustrating.
Problem: With eight or more defenders in the box last season, Steve Slaton averaged just 1.86 yards per attempt -- the fourth lowest average in the league.
Potential solution: Running back C.J. Spiller won’t last, but Ryan Mathews sure looks like a guy that can get some yards even against a stacked line.
Colts, No. 31
Problem: Indy gained an average of 3.9 yards per rush against seven or fewer defenders in the box last season, worst in the NFL.
Potential solutions: They are looking to work on the blocking, not the backs. Which points to Pouncey or maybe Rodger Saffold
Problem: Nearly 14 percent of the touchdowns the Colts' defense allowed last season were against four-wide sets, the highest percentage in the league.
Potential solutions: Add a healthy Bob Sanders and Kelvin Hayden to the secondary and put Melvin Bullitt and Jacob Lacey in nickel and dime situations and things should be a lot better. Though if they like a corner at the end of the first, I don’t think they’d hesitate to take him.