Following the 2009 season, Mike Smith was ready to declare Thomas DeCoud his defensive MVP. That's high praise from the ol' ballcoach, and it reflected the reality that DeCoud was a damn good safety in his second NFL season. We all promptly got excited, as is our wont.
In 2010, while he was far from awful, DeCoud was not the force of nature he was the season before. Besides disappearing from a handful of games, he posted stats that were noticeably less spectacular.
Hit the jump and I'll contrast the two years.
Welcome to life after the jump. Here's the relevant stats:
2009: 68 tackles, 2 sacks, 7 passes defensed, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles
2010: 74 tackles, 0 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles
I should note that there aren't huge dropoffs here, but he posted two less sacks, three less passes defensed and two less interceptions in 2010. He also just didn't look as sharp in coverage to these eyes, after basically excelling in his second season. But sometimes the basic stats can be deceiving.
The advanced stat wizards at Football Outsiders did not find him to be extraordinarily effective against the pass, and even less so against the run....but by their metrics, he was actually better in 2010.The player they have him closely matching through his first three seasons is Kenoy Kennedy, who I remember being pretty darn good in his heyday.
It's hard for me to point to any one reason for this dropoff, and it doesn't matter all that much. The important thing is that DeCoud is still young (26), enormously talented and goes into the 2011 season with absolute no challengers for his starting job. He's also got William Moore playing next to him, who should take some pressure off of his batterymate by hitting receivers so hard that they explode.
With a (marginally) improved defense around him, DeCoud could bust out in a huge way this upcoming season. Even if he did nothing more than match his 2009 basic stats and improve slightly on his FO numbers, he'll be an integral part of the defense.
I sure would like to hear Mike Smith calling him the defensive MVP again, because that would mean he took the world by storm. Do you think he'll bust out in 2011?