Football

Advanced Stats Party: Defensive Backs

Let’s hope the defensive backs are planning for a huge improvement.

We last looked at the defensive line and linebacker stats and these stats aren’t great either. In fact, the passing statistics might be even worse than the rushing stats, much thanks to Football Study Hall’s statistical profile.

The only few stats that are under 100 are the Passing Downs big plays, the defensive back havoc rate and the PD to INC, which is a statistic that determines how aggressive you are in breaking up or intercepting passes (passes defended to incomplete). Other than that, everything else is off the charts in terms of performance.

If you look at the individual players from last year, Justis Nelson, a cornerback that wasn’t strong enough to play safety and Thierry Nguema, a former walk-on that started off-and-on, Paul Banks III, a JUCO signee to just give Gibbs a bit of depth, Keenon Ward, a safety that couldn’t stay healthy, but lacked range, etc. Overall, it was just a bad match on a handful of levels and I think that Gibbs finally has “his” players and I’m hoping that there’s only one way to go.

Johnson is the most active defensive back, has the most havoc stats and it’s really not even close. I think the coaching staff likes Allen, but he didn’t do much of anything in terms of play-making other than just make takes. I think eventually, Vaughnte Dorsey takes over for Allen because Dorsey can be that guy. Allen is a walk-on, so I hate to put too much in terms of expectation on him.

Polite-Bray is supposedly improved and I’ll hold my breath. The hope here is that a combination of Coleman, Smith, Jaylon Lane, and Octavious Morgan are the sum that are greater than their parts. Collectively, it would appear that there is some serious competition. I do think that the level of athlete has improved significantly and Smith and Coleman are a year younger. The biggest disadvantage is that Lane, Dorsey and Morgan are all junior college players and it usually takes a year to get with the program. The spring semester should help, as well as the weight-lifting and just being in the program. They all just need to be part of the puzzle.

And the guy that might make a pretty big difference that wasn’t on the roster is Justus Parker. The guy was a big hitter the entire spring and broke up a handful of passes.

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