Originally Posted by Mediator12
Not at this level. It might be a little harsh at lower levels, but not at the real quality programs.
Ask anyone who has played or coached a secondary and see what they say about Safeties making plays. Every safety has a run assignment based on the coverage called. Not one of them is designed to allow a first down. That is situational awareness, play recognition, and execution. All three of which Moore has been slow to do so far.
As for the passing game, it depends on their responsibility to the play. Sometimes they are deep center fielders who are supposed to take out the long balls. No real way to stop a catch in front of them for a first down and they are truly a deep last resort tackler.
However, all too often, both Adams and Moore could have made plays in the short passing game and intermediate passing game to prevent first downs. They are the primary weakness right now with the third down defense being so easy to convert. NE picked DEN apart and they really went after both safeties all game long, because they are slow to react, decipher, and execute.
Those are the plays I am talking about. Not the true last man back designation. Defenses are much more advanced and complicated than that.
I'm not saying a safety is never at fault for giving up a first down. But there are many other cases where a safety making a tackle at all is due to a failure up front. And in those cases, it doesn't make any sense to judge him on whether a first down was gained or not. You'd have to know specifically what his assignment was before you could make that call.
First down stops would be a much better yardstick for the front 7 than for anyone in the secondary. And I'm not willing to pass much blame off on the secondary (for run support) when the play of the front 7 seems so suspect.