Once in a while, I find an article that I agree entirely with; it seems like Brad Wells's article on Jerraud Powers somehow read my mind. Last week, all I could think was "Wow, Powers is playing like Tim Jennings used to ..." (also "whoever hired these announcers must watch football on mute"). Specifically speaking, Powers couldn't guard his man for most of the game - rookie Josh Gordon - and hence, made the game much more interesting than it should have been. The Colts stuffed the run. Imagine that. The major problem: no pressure on Weeden.
In the last two games, the Colts have failed to sack a quarterback or force a turnover. Indy's ranked 18th overall for sacks and dead last in the league for takeaways; not to mention, Robert Mathis has five sacks so far this season, out of Indy's 13. Freeney has four tackles and one sack on the year. These stats need to improve quickly, or Indy's offense won't be getting any easy drives.
Favorite quote in week 7, thanks to our lovely announcers: "Sometimes rookies need to hold their water." Seriously.
Favorite player in week 7: Pat Angerer, who played like it was his last game ever. 2 solos and an assist, in extremely limited play.
Favorite play of week 7: the sun, deciding Josh Gordon was just too fast for Powers, reached out and blinded the rookie wideout, who promptly dropped the go-ahead touchdown. There's an animated GIF of it in the Wells link. Congratulations, Mr. Sun: you played better than Tim Jennings 2.0.
Why nobody mentions the pass defended by Powers against the slot receiver on 4th and 6 at the end? Isn't that a very important play?
Have you guys had a chance to time how quickly Weeden got the ball out on average? It didn't seem like Weeden was particularly quick at getting the ball out but it also did not seem like he was standing there all day either. I think the relationship between the pass rush and the coverage works both ways. If the receivers are getting open, the pass rush will not be effective. I'm not trying to say that the pass rush is not a problem but I think this is another thing to consider. If Weeden was routinely getting five seconds to throw the ball, it is easier to point to the poor pass rush.
@bradicus18 Regardless of how much time he had, the Colts pass rush on Sunday was almost non-existant. No sacks, for a second straight game? In their defense (see what I did there?), the Colts were specifically bent on stopping the run - so there were fewer blitzes than usual - and they succeeded at halting the Brown's ground game, so the D-line can somewhat be excused.
@LouPin Well, one sack in two games, but who's counting? :) And Sanchez had 19 drop-backs? I don't get to watch the games a second time so I would just like to know if anyone has reviewed this last game. This a curiosity.
The amount of time the QB has to throw depends on the pass coverage and the pass rush. If he gets the ball out quickly, his receivers may be getting open too easily. If he holds on to the ball for an extended period of time but is still able to make the pass, the pass rush is easier to implicate.
I, too, believe the pass rush is most likely the problem. With no ability to get pressure up the middle without blitzing, the edge rush is ineffective. However, I would just like to see if there has been a more in-depth review as to how quickly Weeden was getting the ball out and if there was much difference from his previous performances.
In response to Josh ...Powers's play hasn't been that good this year; he's really only had one good game, against Minnesota. Against Chicago, he was matched up against Brandon Marshall; Marshall put up 119 yards. The game against Jacksonville was epic: Powers had one tackle in the first three quarters (and needed another defender to help), and was credited for tackling Jones-Drew in the fourth quarter after MJD fumbled at the line of scrimmage, and then fell on the ball.
Same thing against New York. Despite playing the entire game, Powers had only one tackle - in the first quarter - and then nothing. Bethea had eight tackles, Zibi had five, and Vaughn had three. In other words, against run-first teams, Powers can't reach the play fast enough to make a stop.
Against Green Bay, Powers didn't record a single tackle in the first half of play; again, his ability to locate the play isn't very good. To his credit, he DID get a pick (hey! Turnover!) ... but that doesn't excuse his shoddy play earlier, when he blew his coverage on Cobb, allowing the Packers receiver to walk into the endzone almost uncontested. Also, in the fourth quarter? Rodgers's touchdown pass to Jones was against - you guessed it - Powers.
Against Cleveland, Powers allowed one of two Cleveland touchdowns on a misstep, but on Cleveland's first drive, played horrendously. He didn't bother pursuing Weeden on a third and long run; he gave Cooper a huge cushion on 2nd and 8, which lead to first down, and knocked down a ball Bethea was about to intercept.
Powers can't make open-field tackles, gives up a lot of touchdowns, and doesn't pursue plays as quickly as he should; he's entirely pointless against the run; and he was turned inside out by a rookie last week. As for Brad Wells ... yeah, I should have seen that one coming.
@LouPin I guess a lot depends on how you want to parse the stats, you can certainly find negatives if you're looking for them, but overall Powers has still been a solid starting CB on the season.
His game against Chicago wasn't good by any stretch, but it was game 1 in a new scheme against a good Bears squad, and nobody on the team really played well. Powers was still the best of our CBs in that game (he was matched up on Marshall for only 8 of his 15 targets). He allowed 1 reception each in the Jax and NYJ games. That Jax game was his worst run stopping game but it was also his best coverage game, allowing only 1 successful completion on 6 targets (16.7%), even in that Cle game in which he supposedly got torched, he only allowed 44% completions on targets thrown his way (4 of 9); the league average is about 65%, the best being 39% (Cromartie). Minnesota was his best game and he was ranked #1 by PFF in the entire NFL for coverage that week.
As to his run stopping, well it's all relative I suppose. The original post by Wells was about Powers being torched in the passing game (which I think is false), but even if we throw in the run game, CBs playing man-to-man can't really be expected to also stop the run consistently. Of course Bathea and Z-Bo will have more tackles (though right now Z-Bo only has 16 to Powers 24), that's their job as the safeties, to cover up mistakes. Even given that fact, Powers has been reasonably solid in the run game, he's 4th on the team in tackles with 24 (he only had 33 all of last season in a zone coverage scheme), including 9 stops (good for 9th best among CBs in the NFL). He had a bad game stopping the run against Jax (missing a tackle that led to a TD), but outside of that game he's been a net positive stopping the run.
His coverage has been solid all season (minus the GB game, as you point out correctly) and has 8 passes defensed already in 6 games (that's 1 more than he had all of last season and 2 fewer than his all time best of 10 in 2009), he has the 4th most solo tackles on the team, has 9 stops (9th best among CBs and 5th on the team behind 4 linebackers), and allowed the rookie you claim turned him inside out to complete a single pass (granted a 33 yard TD, but still, 1 catch). I think it's also worth noting that Powers does not have a single penalty on the season, which is something only a handful of CBs can claim.
Obviously there are drives or plays where he was less than great, but if you take his overall body of work for the season he has been as good or better than he has been his first 3 years in the league, so it's not like he's playing below expectations. If you were expecting him to be Charles Woodson, then sure, he's been a disappointment, but so far on the year he's played like a starting CB in the NFL.
Given the length of this comment I probably should have just written the damn thing as a blog post.
Going to have to disagree with you on Powers. His bad plays were weighted too heavily due to the nature of televising a game (camera following the ball). I think he played a lot better than it may at first appear, and has done all season. Really Josh Gordon only had 2 receptions on 9 targets, 1 of which was on Vaughn not Powers (and a negative PFF rating to boot, he was not very effective). The only completion Powers allowed to Gordon was the 33 yard TD pass, which admittedly looked bad but nobody can stay on a receiver indefinitely, the pass rush needed to help out a little and didn't. That's a good line as far as I'm concerned (sure he dropped a long TD but it was a tough play and that's the NFL, drops happen, every CB benefits from it at one point or another). That's my take anyway. P.S. Agreeing with Brad Wells is a cardinal sin. You must now spend eternity as a Cleveland Browns'' fan as penance. In all seriousness though, the man is a hack who trolls his own readers to increase comment traffic.
@Colt_Following Wells deleted my account for bringing facts to other readers' attention that contradicted his viewpoints. Seriously. So now I refuse to EVER go to the site to give him the page hit.
Wells is certainly notorious for his liberal use of the banhammer but he must be mellowing out in his old age (or SB Nation had a stern talk with him) because I am a pretty consistent criticizer on his articles and have yet to be banned.
You can try to delete all my comments but I keep a running archive saved on my computer and will simply copy and paste them back in. I'm tenacious like that.