You’ll recall on Sunday night, after the Vegas game, when Fletcher Cox came out saying that he isn’t paid to chase screens. He wants to get to the quarterback, and was critical of the defensive calls made by first-year coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
Gannon got his weekly turn in front of reporters today, and that was the second question he was asked. What did he make of the comments from the Birds’ highest paid player?
I understand Fletch’s point. I think it comes from he’s an unselfish player that has a lot of passion for winning and losing. Our entire defense is frustrated that we’re 2-5 right now because we know we’re not playing well enough.
So, talk to Fletch about, ‘Hey, what’s your view point of how we can play a little bit better on defense?’ And do that with really all of our guys on all three levels from a standpoint of, ‘Hey, here’s the game plan. Here’s what we’re thinking. Here’s what we need to get done. Hey, we’re 2-5, guys. What’s going on? Hey, I can do this better. You guys can do this better. Coaches can do this better.’
What any player says after a game out of frustration comes from a good place of, ‘We want to win.’ That’s what this game is about, winning and losing. And that’s where I think that comes from, from Fletch. So, I love that about him.
A lengthy answer, but generic, and so Gannon was asked a follow up about Cox’s deployment and how to “mesh” that with the coordinator’s scheme:
He’s got good points. I need to do a better job of that with him. The key thing with that is together, player and coach, coach and player, how we do that and how we go about that.
He’s had some very good ideas, as our other players have had good ideas, and then it’s up to us as the coaches to get that done and execute those things.
And then one more follow up question on that, about making changes to relieve Cox of double teams to get him going a bit more:
Yeah, as much as we can, we try to do that. And we’ve got some things in our pocket that we’ve done up until this point and some things that we’re taking a look at to get that done. You always want to try to free up the inside guys so they can play one-on-one with offensive linemen where they have a better chance to win that down.
People typically aren’t going to let you roll off and play five one-on-ones all day long because they know that our D line, we have an advantage over offenses. So, it’s always a blend of schematically what is this call? Why are we putting it? What situation does this call for? What is the strength? What is the stress? Why are we calling it?
We can always do a better job of – as working from front to back, how we mix those things together.
Good session with Gannon. The beats did a good job of hitting the relevant points.
From a macro-level stance, we’ve been over it before. Gannon needs to mix it up. Play more man. Go single-high safety and get more numbers in the box. Try the occasional dime look. His talent isn’t world-beating, but there’s enough on the defensive line and at the cornerback positions to do more than what they’re doing, which is just sitting back in that two-deep look while letting opponents dink and dunk and run between the tackles… all the way down the field.