Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Defensive Masters...BROKEN DOWN.

Defense. It wins championships everywhere. A good defense can save you when you have a positional hole. It can save you when you're not okay. It's a necessity. Generally.

Broken down by division because fuck you. That's why.

AFC East
Buffalo Bills: Underrated. When you add Marcus Stroud to a defense that was gutted by injury last season? This is a defense that can steal some games.
Miami Dolphins: It's essentially 9 spots that are under camp competition. They may jell by the end of the year. But they will suck until then.
New England Patriots: It's a defense in transition. It's old. It can be thrown on, and there will be injurious blood.
New York Jets: Kris Jenkins was getting lazy before he got paid. Now he got paid. He's the key to the Jets house of cards. When he falls, it's off the cliff.

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens: Most of its superstars are getting up there in age. A defensive end and both cornerbacks missed extended periods of time last season. They should be better, but it's still a risky proposition.
Cincinnati Bengals: The transitive rule of Coordinator geniuses who become head coaches is that they never get the talent that they need. The additions of Keith Rivers and Antwan Odom help move the Bengals from crap to decent.
Cleveland Browns: They spent draft picks on defensive line help. Brandon McDonald is the key to the house of cards, if he steps up? The back four becomes passable. And the defense becomes good.
Pittsburgh Steelers: This could be a statistical powerhouse. Lawrence Timmons and Lamarr Woodley are a necessary youth infusion. They could get 50 sacks this year.

AFC South
Houston Texans: The defense has star power, but the fact of the matter is that it will be the reason that they do not make the leap from mediocre to playoff worthy. Don't bother.
Indianapolis Colts: It was a good defense last year despite having no pass rush after Freeney and Mathis went down. It should be a worthwhile enterprise again.
Jacksonville Jaguars: They won't miss Stroud and Sammy Knight too much. If this team can get something pass-rushy out of Derrick Harvey and or Quentin Groves? This will go from a Top 12 defense to a Top 3.
Tennessee Titans: They lost their defensive ends. They replaced them with a done freak, Bryce Fisher, and Jason Jones. If Jason can correspond his way into pass-rushing glory? This defense will be fine. If not? They're the leading contenders for Malcolm Jenkins.

AFC West
Denver Broncos: This was a defensive Epic Fail last year. It had a penchant for getting its shit run over. A healthy Jarvis Moss and a linebacker infusion may turn this defense from the nottie into the dorky but cute girl that John Cusack ran to in better off dead. And if I may put my Bill Simmons hat on...
Kansas City Chiefs: Wait until next year. They're like the Dolphins situation, but with better talent on the ink and paper. But Alfonso Boone as your pass-rusher? Really?
Oakland Raiders: The fact that you won't be able to pass on them won't be a problem. Their run defense is among the worst in football. It would make Arliss Beach look like a stud. Arliss Beach people!
San Diego Chargers: The front seven is good due to an affinity for the cream and the clear. But the secondary is very much the truth. Matrix moves to the essential Mormonness of Eric Weddle. The Chargers are a D you can believe in.

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys: Do they have the skills to pay the bills? Yes. Will they end up crapping the bed for a few games? Yes. Will the non-annoying fans of the NFL hate them? Yes and yes.
New York Giants: They can be scored upon. But their strength is in their ability to make the big play. Their linebackers are their weakness.
Philadelphia Eagles: A sleeper defense and special teams. They've made two big upgrades in Chris Clemons and Asante Samuel. And DeSean Jackson is a dollar tree Santana Moss. Jimmie Johnson's got some skill to work with.
Washington Redskins: Even with Jason Taylor? This defense will only be good in terms of bending and not breaking. They couldn't pick off Brett Favre.

NFC North
Chicago Bears: Devin Hester masks any sort of denfensive problem. And the middle of the trenches and secondary are an issue. They can pass rush excellently, however.
Detroit Lions: The defense was awful last season. They've revamped the back four in an effort to get to decent. They likely won't, outside of opportunism.
Green Bay Packers: There are no in-division quarterbacks who can make the Packers pay for their attacking, big-play defense. The loss of Corey Williams hurts because of Johnny Jolly's drug charges. They may be able to be run on.
Minnesota Vikings: Jared Allen, if he stays right off the field. Will make this defense downright scary. Really. As a Packers fan, I'm fucking annoyed.

NFC South
Atlanta Falcons: They suck. Flat out awful. They will be useless. But there will be bright spots who will be outweighed by the suck.
Carolina Panthers: A potential bounce-back candidate. Many veterans had off years in 2007. They could show themselves as quality this season. Or not. They have to count on a Raider-castoff Tyler Brayton.
New Orleans Saints: Five playmakers. One hot rookie in Sedrick Ellis. If the other five defenders can be solid? They'll be fine. Odds are, no.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The key to this defense is Gaines Adams. If he can pass rush his way to riches and wealth? He can mask the deficency's of the teams secondary and make this a darned good defense.

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals: Here's a second tier defense with good upside. If Chike Okeafor returns healthy and Travis LaBoy generates the pass-rush? They'll be good in other places besides going up the middle.
San Francisco 49ers: The keys are the 3-4 OLB's. If Manny Lawson and Justin Smith are doing it right and makin' it great Pizza Hut style? Then this defense won't be useless. My guess? Half useless.
Seattle Seahawks: Even if you believe Patrick Kerney is going to regress to his mean? Even if you believe the safety's are gonna fall off this pace? This defense will be powerful.
St. Louis Rams: They'll be good versus the pass. They have potential to pass rush. O.J. Atogwe is the big-play man that you've got to love. But as defenses go? It's barely halfway live.

If the eternal sleepers of Arizona and Carolina finally come together? The NFC just may have a game that the middle of the country will not care about.

More to come later.

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