Err, OK, not really. But after three games, it's starting to look like our defense is regressing under Frank Bush. I see little reason for optimism defensively. The problem isn't just that the defense is bad. We are horribly, comically, and historically bad.
After today's effort, the defense is allowing 436 yards per game. To put this in current context, the 2008 Detroit Lions gave up 404 yards/game. You have to go back to 1950 to find a team as helpful defensively as your 2009 Houston Texans. The 1950 Colts allowed 450 yards/game, an ignominious record still well within our reach. (Note: If anybody knows of a database I can drop into Excel, please let me know.)
Let's look at the teams we've played: New York Jets, Tennessee BE-SFs, and Jacksonville Jaguars. In games NOT against us, these teams have averaged 242, 260, and 300 yards/game, respectively. This would rank them all in the bottom nine offensively. Yet, our defense has managed to turn them all into the New Orleans Saints. What the hell are teams like Arizona, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and for the love of Durga, Indianapolis going to do to us? You know, those with actually decent offenses.
And it's not like we're making up for our new "aggressive" defense by creating more turnovers or sacks. We've created only three turnovers this year (no, I don't count the Kerry Collins gimme fumble). Worst of all, and something Frank Bush and Bill Kollar were supposed to specifically solve, we have created one sack. One.
There is plenty of blame to go around. Dunta Robinson and especially Fred Bennett have been off-the-charts bad. At best, our safety play has been dog shit. And there's no logical reason to believe any of these guys are reliable tacklers. Our LB play has been equally poor. We are susceptible in the short and intermediate passing plays, and that we've given up a number of huge runs is a direct indictment of their play (and play-calling). We need to give Antonio Smith the number 98 and just be done with it. Connor Barwin, for all the hype and expectations, has a grand total of one solo and one assist.
Not even Mario is immune. Teams have learned he has one move, a speed move upfield, and they are taking advantage of his losing containment. And Busing and Cushing and Diles and Robinson, for that matter. Our complete ignorance of talent at safety and NT is killing us.
Offensively, wow. There really aren't enough superlatives to go around. Kevin Walter's 2009 debut was a grand success. When you consider his pass-catching, run blocking, and his new-found rushing skills, my goodness. I had been lukewarm on re-signing him, but he's a truly special player. Kasey Studdard's play is worrisome, but we did a fine job protecting Teh Schaub all game. One of his two sacks was just poor decision-making on Schaub's part.
Hell, Kubiak even won his first ever challenge!
I know a couple people believe we didn't deserve to win the game. But the fact is we are an offensive force. That, alone, keeps us in games.
This is a team of extremes, and it makes the whole experience frustrating. And bi-polar. Roller coaster. Nauseating. DisplacedTexan killing. And kinda fun. At times, it's like watching a real-life version of Tecmo Bowl, and both teams have Bo Jackson.
Unless we make massive changes defensively, and we simply don't have the personnel or, obviously, coaching talent to do so, I suggest we just enjoy the fireworks. At this rate, this will be Gary Kubiak's last season. Somebody will have to take the blame for the team's lack of defensive preparedness...and just the fact we hired Frank Bush. We are blessed with an offense that's a blast to watch (unless we are playing a 3-4 defense with a capable NT). Because of this, we'll win a couple of games, so let's enjoy what we have.