After enough requests, now seemed as good a time as any to roll out a Greg Manusky Approval Rating poll. We don't have a graphic for it yet, but I'll work on that.
For those who didn't know, Football Outsiders posts weekly DVOA ratings for offenses and defenses, and the 49ers are second in the NFL in total defensive DVOA. They stand third against the rush and eighth against the pass. Although there are certain areas where the defense can still improve (namely consistency), the swarming, aggressive nature of the defense seems to have them playing fairly well for the most part.
For this first approval rating, I'm curious what has caused the improvements in the defense? Obviously they've had some tough games, but overall, the defense is better than last season. The 49ers defense was ranked 14th last season when Nolan was fired, and finished the season ranked 18th. They were 20th against the pass and 17th against the run. Fairly middle of the road. In looking at the current depth chart, we've had a couple big changes, but really most of the defense remains the same in terms of personnel. The two biggest changes since day 1 are: 1) Dashon Goldson moving into the starting lineup in place of Mark Roman, and 2) Shawntae Spencer returning to the starting lineup ahead of Dre Bly (and Walt Harris since he was injured). The second change was more recently when Tarell Brown moved into the starting lineup over Nate Clements.
I think those changes have certainly impacted the defense, but enough to sit at the #2 position in all the league? I guess I'm wondering how much credit does Greg Manusky get? Aside from the big name coordinators, you don't hear a lot about your defensive coordinator. The offensive coordinators seem to get significantly more press, and it often seems easier to assess the OC as you're watching the game.
I remember there being some talk about how Manusky was never really completely free under Nolan, and that under Singletary he's been given a lot more latitude to run the defense as he wants. In general it seems like Singletary gets a lot of the credit for positives with the 49ers, while others take the blame. Given the improvements, who (or what) gets the credit for the 49ers general defensive prowess in 2009?