Last year, our D-line rotation was the heart of a good to very good defense. This year, as we all know, we have started out very poorly. Let’s take a look at the D-line rotation which carried us last year.
50%, yes 50% of last years rotation has not taken a snap this year. One is gone for good (Rucker), one is on the street (Fanene), one should be back next week (fingers crossed – Dunlap), and the final one should be back after eligible of the PUP list assuming he can get healthy (Sims). So, the strength of our D last year has undergone a massive makeover.
Now, where have all these snaps gone??? They have gone to a journeyman who at best could be described as serviceable (Anderson), a rookie 2nd round pick (Still), and a rookie 3rd round pick (Thompson). Why wouldn’t we expect to have a huge drop off??? Of course we are going to struggle with this massive change.
The good news: Dunlap should be back soon. Sims can be back in a month or so. Fanene, if he can get his knee right, could be back, and both Still and Thompson are talented and are getting extremely valuable experience right now that will hopefully pay off towards the end of the year.
As our D-line rounds back into form with injured players returning and younger players gaining experience, I think we will see improved play in the second and third levels of the defense much like we saw our D perform the first ½ to 2/3 of last season.
I know I am being optimistic but, what do you all think???
P.S. This is my first attempt at a post, so excuse any mistakes or errs in protocol and let me have it.