I hear you, it was nice to see them dial some stuff up against the Broncos, however Belichick is never going to be overly aggressive on defense. Over the past few years especially it’s clear that he prefers to force the non-elite quarterbacks to consistently execute to win. But clearly with Manning you have to do something to keep him guessing, hence why they threw 10 blitzes on him.
Here are some rough numbers of how many dropbacks the Pats blitz, courtesy of PFF:
- 2010: 24%
- 2011: 21%
- 2012: 14%
As you can see the numbers are indeed down this year. However there are a couple other things playing into this, given the situations and quarterbacks we’ve faced.
I can understand not blitzing Fitzpatrick (not going to get there), Locker or Kolb. But only sending extra guys on Flacco 4 times in 44 dropbacks seems like one I’d take back. Last year in the AFCCG they blitzed him 9 times in 43 dropbacks, and that was a game where Wilfork was unblockable.
The biggest reason I see for the even fewer blitzes this year though is that the Patriots now have fewer pure defensive lineman on the field at all times. So if there’s an early down pass you’re still getting a pretty good rush on it from Ninkovich and Jones on the edges. In the past, when you might’ve had Ty Warren and Richard Seymour our there on the ends you wouldn’t get the same kind of pass rushing threat. So there’s less need to blitz now with the kind of scheme they’re running.
I mean ideally you’d never have to blitz to get pressure, you’d just do it with four guys and that’s really the formula for success.
Unfortunately we just have to accept that BB thinks the best way to win football games is by not being over-aggressive on defense and sell out with constant blitzing. He’d prefer to play coverage, and hope for offensive miscues or turnovers. It’s hard to argue that he’s wrong given how many games they’ve won, but it can certainly be maddening to watch.