Re: Besides Watt, D-line simply just not getting done this year
I'm just going to say last year we had a guy for the first five weeks of the season who could rush the passer from the outside. Though we don't like to give him a lot of credit, because it didn't "look" like he gave 100% effort on every play, everyone across the DL (with the exception of Cody) was getting to the QB.
Even the reserves like Brooks Reed & Tim Jamison had a sack or a few QB pressures by this time last year. When that guy was in the game, we didn't have to rush the ILBs, they focused on stopping the run. We didn't have to blitz our DBs, they focused on defending the pass.
When that guy went out, we started blitzing the ILB, then our DBs. That guy had led the team in sacks for 6 weeks after he left due to injuries.
When that guy left via free agency, outside pass rusher became our #1 priority in the offseason. We drafted one guy.
But we had a third year player who looked like the pass rusher we needed, Connor Barwin. However, he only had one good year, after being hurt week 1 of his sophomore year. Could we trust him to come back & do it again? Be productive in his 4th season? A contract year?
We also had two phenominal rookies, Jj Watt & Brooks Reed. Would the sophomore slump catch up to these guys? Jj Watt...... not yet. Brooks? He's shown flashes.
But yes, our biggest problem this year is our pass rush. We simply do not appear to have enough talent among the front four to consistently pressure QBs with average or better OLs.
Time to panic?
I don't think so. Why? Wade.
Up until today, our guys have been learning the theory. You could tell, watching as they tried to rotate on the back end through various blitz packages. Tomorrow, they're going to look at the film, they're going to match that theory with the practical lessons they learned today. They'll have a good week of practice. It won't be perfect next week. But by the time December & January comes around..... I'm getting excited, thinking about it.