Remember When Our D-Line Was "Top-5 in the NFL?"

LOL! What a farce!

I was definitely fooled - I thought that group was going to be a huge strength.


I thought the same thing when they signed TJ Lang to go with Decker, Glasgow and then drafted Ragnow…

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I’ll be honest, I never understood where even top-10 talk came of the DL. You have to have legit pass-rushers to become a top-10 DL, of which we have precisely zero.


You do know that this thread is about the “D-line”, right?

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Devil’s advocate. On paper Flowers was one of the top pressure guys in the NFL last year. Hand was going to get a lot more time on the interior, and he is more of a penetrator at 3t. Then we signed Daniels who is a 3t penetrator known for pressuring the QB. Okwara was coming off a 7.5 sack season and we picked up 1/4th of the finest Dline in the country last year in Bryant. A’Shawn and Harrison played great football the second half of the season. To boot, we drafted a late round NT to backup Harrison and A’Shawn. I don’t think it was unsound to look at this going in and thinking it was going to be great. That we would have all the run stuffing success we had last year, PLUS the rush ability of Flowers, Daniels and a 2nd year Hand. Not to be. They’ll probably be hitting on all cylinders for a meaningless game against GB resting their starters.


Coming into this season the only part of the team I had confidence in was the dline

Meanwhile Ed Oliver who many of us were calling for over Hockenson is playing really well for the number two defense. He has 9 hurries, 11 pressures and 2 QB hits in his first four games

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Yeah, drafting a TE #8OA was dumb. It didn’t make sense leading up to the draft. It didn’t make sense after the draft and it still doesn’t make sense. It was a Millen type pick. If you wanted a TE, then trade down and take him later and add a pick. Our GM is the least savvy person in football. Always reaching on guys who would go much later in the draft, trying to be the smartest guy in the room.

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Here’s basically where I was on the DL. (devil’s advocate to the devil’s advocate?)

Hand and Flowers were good, versatile pieces going into the season. Okwara is valuable in relief at either the left or right side. Kennard should be freed to roam a bit more by the addition of Flowers and movement of Okwara.
Okwara, Flowers and Kennard should all provide pressure, no doubt.
Hand from the interior could/should also provide pressure.

On the inside is Snacks, a proven 2-gap, capable NT/DT.
An aging Daniels to play RJF’s spot and likely take snaps away from A’Shawn.
A’Shawn, who’s good when he’s isolated on one blocker but not so good when double-teamed. (This assessment has met resistance, but the tape don’t lie. There’s a reason he’s playing the final year of his contract and not re-upped already.)

In my mind, the group was improved. Daniels for RJF = better. Flowers for Ansah = better. Kennard relieved of every-down duty on the left side = better.

This pieces represent capable players that allow the DC to be flexible in his game planning.

Still, as much as I valued each one of them in their role, Kennard and Okwara are not the kind of pass-rusher that the offense is going to scheme to defend. They’re not the kind that will speed up the QB’s inner clock. They were here already. We have seen what they’re capable of and worked to free them up so that movement and rotation would allow them to be more effective. But, that doesn’t turn them into the kind of pass-rusher that propels your defense into a top-10 defense.

Nothing stood out more last year than the time and comfort the opposing QB had. We had a LONG way to go to change that. We took steps, but not enough. Our defense was tied for 16th in scoring last year. Maybe we would sniff 11th this year.


I keep hearing he’s been a disappointment?

Would love to go back to the other site. I was all in on Devin Bush. Holy hell would he be a difference maker here. I swear we would have probably won against AZ, KC, GB (well we did) and Oakland if we had him.

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I still like our DLine actually. They are just banged up.

We need a pass rusher though.

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the truth is things can look good on paper but you never really know how things are going to be until they play the games. it’s the same reason why citing the difficulty of schedule makes no sense before the season or even half way in. you don’t know which teams are going to actually be good / have winning records until the season is over to say whether you schedule was difficult or not :wink:

Yeah, I’m with you. I really don’t think we even know what we have in them, right now. They literally haven’t played a game together, and haven’t even flirted with being healthy.

If we are relying on guys like Hand and Daniels to move us from the 31st worst defense in the league, then we just aren’t any good.

Flowers, Snacks, Slay, Davis, Walker, Kennard, Tavai, Coleman and almost every key piece to the defense has been on the field a lot this year together and the defense has looked awful from the get go. Depth guys are great, but every team has injuries like we have. If we were without Flowers, Slay and Snacks for the season, then your point would be valid, but that is not the case.

We played against the Cardinals missing like their entire secondary and we Tied them. The Chargers were missing 7 of their best players and we snuck it out by a thread. Bottom line, the scheme blows. We choose to sit back and let rookies and half ass QBs tear us apart. Blaming injuries is a weak cop out. We are one of the healthier teams on that side of the ball. Counting on Daniels who was brought here 5 minutes before the season is a real reach.

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2014 was a good year for the defense.

When I see guys talk to each other like this, it makes me feel for their family. We always project on to others how we truly feel about ourselves. I know you are 10x harder on yoruself than you ever will be other people (we all are), and please know…I’m not offended in the least. In life, if you want to get along with people, honor their opinions. they just may be as smart or smarter than you.

The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. These dudes were injured and recovering from injuries early in the season. If you think that’s a weak cop-out, I have no desire to change your mind.

We had less talent last year, and were ranked 10th with the same coaches. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle.

I believe they will rise, but I also feel it’s likely too little, too late. We need to find a way to put more heat on QBs until we get healthy. Then, and only then, can we see where we are at, who we should release/re-sign, etc.


Hand was a part time player last year and he was great but he still ended up on IR his rookie season.

Daniels only played 10 games last year, was added 8 days before training camp. Ziggy Ansah and him have played the same amount of games the last 2 seasons.

The Hand injury I can somewhat give them a pass for because he’s young and his current injury is unrelated to his old one.

But building your roster in a way in which your defense is dependent upon a 31 year old Snacks remaining elite and counting on a 30 year old who was cut right before training camp is poor roster construction no matter how you spin it.

Austin Bryant was hurt when he was drafted, its why he fell.

The Houston Texans traded away Clowney, lost JJ Watt and still just put up a better performance than our defense has all season.

Other teams have had the same amount injuries and haven’t been the 2nd worst defense in football.


All true, and all of your points are valid. What I’m saying is, they were #10, last year, and the moves they made looked like upgrades. Until we see them fit and healthy, we won’t know. To drop from 10 to 31 makes no sense. Honestly, there is a combination of injury & coaching, IMO. Like Slay said, we’re consistently getting beaten by the same plays. Coaches need to adjust. Health is also a big factor.

The truth is that we’ve dropped from 16th/17th to 27th in points given up per game.
We’re not presently the second worst defense in football, we’re the 6th worst. We dropped 10 spots, not 21.

Scoring is the important stat for defenses, especially in a bend-don’t-break defense.

Our average yards per carry last year was 4.4, good for 16th again.
Our average yards per carry this year is 4.7, good for 22-27th.

Our average yards per pass last year was 7.9, good for 27-28th.
Our average yards per pass this year is 7.7, good for 21-24th.

We had a lot of ground to cover to make this a top 10 defense. Flowers alone is/was not enough. It’s fair to attribute a good degree of the regression to health.