Thursday, December 11, 2008

Smith's Defense

There've been various rumors floating around over the past few weeks that Lovie has been getting himself much more involved in the defense lately. I found this snippet from Biggs' article telling:

Babich was solely responsible for the position, but coach Lovie Smith is very involved now, too. Manning goes to Smith's office, where he gets one-on-one film sessions with the man who learned the Tampa-2 in Tampa. They meet before walk-throughs every day.

''Mainly, I am with coach Smith,'' Manning said. ''He's just like a regular coach when it's just me and him. We're there for a good hour, and we get it down.''

It could just be that Lovie knows how important the nickel position is to the defense and felt he needed to do something about how, earlier in the season, practically every time there was a big play given up by the defense you could see Manning was obviously out of position.

But I have thought the defense has started to look a little better over the past few weeks, and that and the other little hints all see to point to Smith having decided to take a much more active role in that capacity. What that means about Babich's future remains to be seen, but it's hard to imagine that even with Lovie's tremendous loyalty he would want to keep a defensive coordinator whose responsibilities he feels he has to take over.

And Smith's seemingly increased role in the defensive coaching certainly bodes well going into a game against a team whose offensive strength plays so strongly to our earlier-season defensive weakness. That is, if we can keep up our dominant run defense, and our passing defense improves to slightly above average, we could be set for this game.

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