Jeff McLane pounded the drums after the horrific Lions game, arguing that Vinny Curry should have had more snaps and Taylor Hart fewer:
This Taylor Hart thing boggles the mind. He was on field for 12 pass rush chances. Vinny Curry was on for 11 (and had 2 sacks!). Egregious.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) November 27, 2015
Egregious! Well, maybe.
Curry's been a great pass rusher in prior years -- he had 9 sacks last year, after 4 in 2013 -- but he's done next to nothing in 2015. Before Sunday, he had a sack and a half in ten games combined.
In the defensive collapse against Tampa Bay, Curry had 23 snaps vs. Taylor Hart's 26. And Vinny had no production whatsoever. No tackles, no QB hits, no sacks. Hart had 3 tackles that game, and one against the Lions.
The odd thing about this argument is that Hart and Curry have totally different roles. Curry goes in at left end on passing downs, and Brandon Graham usually rushes along with him on the opposite side, from the OLB position. They focus purely on getting sacks.
Hart is a two-gapping run stuffer. Cedric Thornton, who starts ahead of Hart, has a single sack all year. It's awesome if they can tackle the QB, but that's not their job. With Thornton reportedly out today injured, Hart should get lots of snaps, but it has nothing to do with rushing the passer.
Well, what about Curry's two sacks against Detroit? Pressure wasn't getting home. Why not go with the hot hand?
That argument doesn't really hold up either. One of Curry's two sacks was in garbage time, late in the fourth quarter. The other came with 21 seconds left in the first half, and Brandon Graham was the one who made the play happen.
Graham blew right by left tackle Riley Reiff, forcing Stafford to abandon his dropback and run forward -- right into Curry's arms. (See photo.) Vinny deserves credit for eventually shedding his tackler, right before Stafford arrived, and making the tackle.
But when you watch the play, you don't think "Damn, they should play Curry more." You think "Wow, Brandon Graham made that tackle look silly." Graham had 3 tackles and a TFL. (And he played 47 snaps, 65%.)
Against Detroit, Hart actually had 26 snaps, and Curry 15. By McLane's count, 12 of Hart's plays were in passing situations, and only 11 of Curry's, but that's questionable. It depends which downs you consider passing situations, or think your opponent might call a run (which Curry is not good at defending). Detroit scored so easily on Thanksgiving that they only faced 10 third downs all game.
And that's probably the biggest reason why Vinny Curry saw the field so little.