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Friday, July 3, 2009

From the Mailbag: Talking Turnovers

Last one from the mailbag for this week. Doug Stutsman is scheduled to cover the football interview session for me next week, so I'll let you know who's on the slate and pass along any questions you'd like him to answer.

Our final question for the day comes from our MVP of the mailbag, @CrossfitDawg13, who I think has now had three questions answered in the past two weeks. Anyway, he asks, "how does the D expect to create more turnovers this year? Different scheme? Better execution?"

For this, I talked to two players and got two pretty different answers.

Defensive tackle Kiante Tripp said the key to getting turnovers will start with the guys up front, and the failure to get to the QB last year was a big part of the reason the turnovers just didn't come.

"I think it always starts off with the defensive front getting that pressure on the quarterback so it can alter the throws," Tripp said. "The defensive line plays a big part into what happens after he throws the ball. If he has time to look at what he wants to do, it'll be a lot easier to make those throws. If we make him scramble out of the box and throw on the run, we'll be more successful in getting more picks and causing more third and fourth downs."

You have to like Tripp's attitude and willingness to shoulder the responsibility for the problem himself. But as I thought more about it, I couldn't help but think that the blame couldn't rest solely -- or even mostly -- on the pass rush.

Looking back to last season, how many INTs were simply dropped? How many turnovers were negated by penalties? How many times was a player simply out of position?

Those fundamental things were the primary culprit in my opinion, and as it turns out, Darryl Gamble agrees with me.

"We had chances to make plays last year but they just weren't made," Gamble said. "So it's really about taking advantage of opportunities, and I don't think we did good with that last year. We would be in the right places, but we've got to execute on what's there."

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