Under Nick Saban, Alabama has consistently been among the nation’s most dominant defensive forces. But there may be a significant flaw in the construction of the defense in 2017.
In 2016, Alabama’s leading pass-rushers Tim Williams, Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson combined for 129 QB pressures, an average of 8.6 per game among the trio. This year, however, Alabama’s top three pass-rushers, Buggs, Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings are averaging a combined 4.4 QB pressures per game.
Perhaps the best stat to illustrate Alabama’s declining pass rush productivity is the fact that a defensive back, Minkah Fitzpatrick, is fourth on the team in pressures with seven.
On the bright side, due to the state of the SEC, Alabama has plenty of time to tweak the defense to cover up for it’s lack of an individual player capable of wreaking havoc in the backfield. The Tide won’t face a ranked opponent again until it’s season finale at Auburn. But if Saban and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt can’t find a solution, this could be the Tide’s fatal flaw in December and January.