It’s tough to do a lot of numbers work after three games — the data sample’s just not big enough to find reliable trends. For instance, is a team’s defense good because they’re good, or because they played against three bad offenses? How do you know how bad those offenses are? Maybe they played three good defenses. Just too soon to tell.
Still, man does not live by current numbers alone. I don’t think it’s crazy to say that based on 2012 and the start of 2013, Atlanta’s offense is guaranteed to gain yards and score at least some points, an Arizona offense led by HC Bruce Arians and QB Carson Palmer will get some numbers, even if they’re a little empty, and Tampa’s offense is essentially a dumpster fire. So, on average, we’ve faced a middlin’ bunch, and we’ll take it from there.
One thing it’s clear that Dingo Unchained believes in — do NOT let your opponent’s best receivers take over the game. To wit:
Falcons — Julio Jones, 7 catches, 76 yards, one trip to the schoolyard; Tony Gonzales, 3 catches, 36 yards
Bucs — Vincent Jackson, 5 catches, 77 yards
Cardinals — Larry Fitzgerald, 5 catches 64 yards
Yes, they got a few catches, but none of these guys blowing us up here, running wild. All their plays were over the middle, in front of one or two guys, as the back seven kept things in control. We haven’t heard his name all that much, but FA CB Keenan Lewis must be playing pretty well, and a healthier CB Jabari Greer is completing the picture. Making teams beat you with their second option has two effects: First, there’s a reason they’re second options, like an extra dropped pass, a rounded off route here, a broken pattern there. Second, it makes the quarterback take more time going through progressions, and that little extra time certainly helps your pass rush, if you in fact have a pass rush to help.
Meanwhile, look what happens to the other teams when they don’t bracket Jimmy Graham. Q.E.D. Dingo’s no fool.
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