Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Defensive Coaching Grade

I’ll give Whiz credit for one thing this year, he pursued the right coordinator for this defense.  Ray Horton played a huge part in saving Whiz’s job.  From the beginning, Ken wanted Ray and went hard after him.  I thought it was a brilliant move, especially after hearing Troy Polamalu’s comments concerning him.  If there was a mistake on defense this year it was putting too much in too fast.  Everyone seemed lost, (which is to be expected after the lockout). Well… except Porter, but he’s too old and couldn’t get where he needed to.  And they took entirely too long letting Acho and Schoefield onto the field. 

Apart from that Ken and Ray were stellar in their development of players on the line: Campbell and Carter, the LBs: Acho, Schoefield, and Washington, and the DBs: Peterson, and even Rashaad Johnson.  They got Wilson back to a pro bowl level (after I shamefully had written him off), Hagans back to be a reasonable starter, and let Dockett terrorize opponent’s offensive line.  Lenon was solid again and is still the unsung hero on this team.  Marshall picked up the D quick and even Mighty Mouse, aka Mike Adams, played reasonably well.  Bradley seems to not get it and I’m not sure why.  I’m going to be judge him more on next year’s play, because I don’t think many people can crack the Washington/Lenon combo.  Only Jefferson showed signs that he was getting worse, but he wasn’t all that good to start with.  They recovered nicely from losing Dan Williams, Rhodes, and Toler (a huge loss for this team after the debacle of a trade with DRC).  Shoot, they even got good play from Holliday and Eason.  This season was a raging success on defense. 

And let’s not forget that Ray inherited this team from a pathetic coach in Bill Davis.  If you’re wondering how good Horton is and how bad Davis was, you need look no further than how they played last year.  Last year many said Dockett and Wilson were washed up, Campbell was bad, and this team was going nowhere with this apparent lack of talent.  LISTEN UP: The talent DIDN’T change from last year, only the coaching did.  So everyone can eat crow (ahem Ron Wolfley) that said the Cards had a lack of talent on defense last year.  The talent was always there, they just needed someone who knew what he was doing.  Great hire Ken.  Great job Ray. 

Overall grade on defensive coaching: A-

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