Watching NFC Playbook & they just mentioned how particularly bad a certain team is playing on third down... offensively, so I got to thinking.... our defense can be a whole lot better, if we get a little better on 3rd down.
There are 17 other teams better than we are at getting the offense off the field on third down. We allow a 39% conversion rate, just like Pittsburgh, Miami, & New England. Kansas City is way ahead of the pack with 25%.
In 2011, we allowed 36%..... we forced 13 3rd down situations per game in both 2011 & YTD. So I think we're doing a good job of getting to 3rd down, but we're back to that Frank Bush ole style defense where we're just as apt to give up 3rd & 21 as we are to give up 3rd & 1.
Offensively, we're not converting 3rd downs. In 2011 we converted on 42% of our opportunities. This year, 37%
I know our Head Coach links 3rd down failures to failing on 1st & 2nd downs & there's some truth in that. We've gotten to the point that we pretty much don't even try to convert on 3rd & long if we've got the lead, or if the game is close & we've got time. We signed Lechler in the offseason so while I don't agree with the thinking (I'd run the receivers out there if it's not there, throw the ball away & punt instead of running the draw or screen & picking up an extra 3 or 4 yards)..... it's not helping us much if our defense isn't playing well on 3rd downs.
Anyway.... so, if we just look at third downs, is there anything you're seeing that is stopping us from being as good as we were in 2011?