Smith also had 11 pass deflections, Sanford has 10 in his 4 year career.
Smith had 1 sack, Sanford has 1 sack in 4 years.
Smith is a play maker, and a game changer.
Smith and now Rhodes seems to be trending toward improvement in coverage and ability to catch the ball.
Sanford is serviceable but is still out of position more than he should be. He works hard and is better than Raymond, but still needs to improve. Better play from Sanford and the nickel corner will give a healthy Jared Allen a fair shot at the sack record.
Smith will be awesome for years to come.
That means he was head and shoulders about other teams starting FS's.
If he didn't do that last year, Smitty doesn't do what he did last year. Just that simple.
As to what is sexy and what isn't......Any turnover is a game changer, just not INT's. So are Sacks and Tackles for a loss. Guess which ones happen more often during the course of a game? Same ones that caused Smitty to get 2 gimme INT's last year.
You can put alot of value on a INT if you want, but I'd rather see consistent pressure from our front 4 getting that pressure on the QB (result INT or sack) and getting those tackles in the backfield (lots of fumbles).
You can even break that down further to the role your Mike and your Sam play in this scheme which allows your Will to be the play maker.
Again, don't get me wrong, I love Smitty. Enjoy watching him come on and learn the game so fast but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the work Jamarca has put in over the years getting to the spot were he could play like he did last year.
By the way, if you (and I'm not pointing out anyone in particular) can't appreciate the differences between what a FS and a SS do to support each other in this scheme then my point will continue to be missed.
LOL, kindof makes me think back a few years ago when I first joined this site and had deep dark discussions with people on the differences between a RDE and a LDE.
Quick question, who is the eye of the beholder? A guy who just wants his eyes to see INT's or a guy who wants to see that gap filled or a zone filled when the LB is asked to run blitz? Again, the run game isn't as sexy as an INT but it is just as important.
Heck, most of our fan base loved Whinny for his run support efforts, not sure why a SS can't get a bit of that love.
I think Shariff, based on what I saw from tape on his collegiate career, is one of those cats. I not only think that, but I think he is going to be one of an even rarer cat and that is he will be able to do it from all 4 DLmen positions (ala John Randle) and not just the 1 tech.
I think that last part is what might confuse a few of you when I'm spewing forth my drivel (laced with alot of excitement) about this kid.
Again, he will get most of his early reps behind K-dubb, but as the year wears on, start looking for him to start eating reps at the 1 and the 5 tech as well.
I get chills just thinking about it. :)
As to the scheme.....I've seen a few things that make me question what the heck we are doing on the defensive side of the ball.
1. Leslie used to say we didn't have a FS and a SS, now our D-coord talks about it all the time.
2. The move of Guion to the 1 tech when he is clearly not suited to play there. That guy is a straight stick 3 tech.
3. The insistence of running beefed up RDE's over at LDE. Just like Edwards, I suspect we will start to see some of those ill effects showing on Rob from carrying that extra weight.
All things put together, what used to be our strength (top 10 vs run) went to crap last year. What were we ranked vs the run, something in the 20's I think. Yikes...
When you can't take the run away, teams have the luxury of hitting you 2 dimensionally vice one dimensionally and your back end is going to suffer considerably especially in pass defense.
According to NFL.com the Vikings ranked as follows on defense over the last 4 years (using yards):
Rush Defense Pass Defense Total
2009 2nd (87 ypg) 19th 6th (305 ypg)
2010 9th (102 ypg) 10th 8th (312 ypg)
2011 11th (107 ypg) 26th 21st (358 ypg)
2012 11th (106 ypg) 24th 16th (350 ypg)
We have slipped a bit on run defense as we typically ranked in the top 5 during much of Pat's reign. But our pass defense is still our biggest weakness on defense, even when our run defense was very strong.
My guess is that we will see similar run defensive rankings, but hopefully we can improve on the pass rankings. The talent to stop the run doesn't seem much improved, but pass rush and secondary play will hopefully be better.
On a side note, kind of interesting how the ypg stays farily consistent throughout the years from a rankings standpoint. Especially rushing ypg, passing ypg has been trending up a little bit.