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michael89156

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« : May 10, 2013, 12:03:17 AM »


Best defense in the NFC South?

 May, 9, 2013

 
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

 
It’s trendy and fun to debate which NFC South team has the best offense.

Is it Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints or Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons? Heck, you can even look at all the offensive talent Carolina and Tampa Bay have and throw the Panthers and Buccaneers into the conversation.
 
But trendy and fun will only get you so far. Even in this day and age, you still must play defense once in a while. Especially if you’re a team in the NFC South. The division teams must face each other twice, as well as Seattle’s Russell Wilson, New England’s Tom Brady and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick this season.
 
Maybe the more practical and important debate is: Which team has the best defense in the NFC South? No defense in the division was great last season. To win the division -- or do much of anything else -- this season, some NFC South defense must at least be halfway decent.
 
So which defense is the best?

I’m not going to even venture a guess right now because there are too many variables that must play out. I can see reasons why any of the four defenses could be the division’s best. I also can see reasons why each couldn’t.
 
Let’s take a look at the ceiling and the floor for each of the NFC South defenses:
 
ATLANTA FALCONS


Brad Penner/US Presswire
Atlanta will be counting on former Giants star Osi Umenyiora to help upgrade the team's pass rush.


Why they could be the division’s best defense in 2013: Coordinator Mike Nolan is one of the game’s better defensive minds. His defensive system might really take hold in Atlanta in his second season. Outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is a budding star and is the centerpiece. The Falcons got a little younger at defensive end by replacing John Abraham with Osi Umenyiora.
 
Nolan might get a little more creative and use some more 3-4 looks. He also might be able to get more aggressive because he has fresh legs at cornerback after the Falcons drafted Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. William Moore and Thomas DeCoud are emerging as one of the league’s best safety tandems. There’s enough talent for this defense to be very good.
 
Why they could be the division’s worst defense in 2013: The Falcons were No. 24 in total defense (No. 21 against the run and No. 23 against the pass) last season. Umenyiora is on the downside of his career, too, and it’s not as if the Falcons have a lot of other proven pass-rushers.
 
The young cornerbacks could take some lumps early on. Problems covering the tight end were exposed in the playoffs last season, and the rest of the league got to watch.
 
CAROLINA PANTHERS

Why they could be the division’s best defense in 2013: In terms of pure talent, I think Carolina has the best front seven in the division. The arrival of rookie defensive tackle Star Lotulelei could put the Panthers over the top. Lotulelei is the kind of wide body who’s going to make everyone around him better.
 
Lotulelei is going to keep blockers off linebackers Luke Kuechly, Jon Beason and Thomas Davis. He also is going to take blocking away from defensive ends Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson, who already were pretty good at getting after the quarterback.
 
Why they could be the division’s worst defense in 2013: As much as I can see the front seven being very good, I can see the secondary being very bad. Veteran cornerback Chris Gamble is gone, and I don’t see anything close to a true No. 1 cornerback on this roster. The picture isn’t much brighter at safety.
 
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Why they could be the division’s best defense in 2013: New coordinator Rob Ryan is going to bring swagger and an aggressive attitude. That can only help a unit that ranked No. 32 in total defense last year.
 
More importantly, Ryan is going to bring a 3-4 scheme. That’s the defensive system that seems to be having leaguewide success these days. The Saints have some good individual talent on defense with players such as end Cameron Jordan and inside linebacker Curtis Lofton, and rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro should make an immediate impact.
 
Why they could be the division’s worst defense in 2013: The defense was a mess under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo last season, and I’m not sure simply changing schemes will solve everything. Outside of Vaccaro and cornerback Keenan Lewis, it’s not as if the Saints have added a lot of big-time talent this offseason.
 
It could take more than one season for Ryan’s defense to really turn the corner.
 
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Why they could be the division’s best defense in 2013: On paper, I think Tampa Bay might have more talent than any other defense in the division. After ranking No. 32 against the pass last season, the Bucs went out and got cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Johnthan Banks and safety Dashon Goldson. Linebackers Lavonte David and Mason Foster and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy already are very good.
 
If young defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers can step up, this could be a solid defense in all areas.
 
Why they could be the division’s worst defense in 2013: It seems as if the Bucs are pinning a lot of their hopes on Clayborn and Bowers. Both have already dealt with injuries and are not that experienced.
 
If the pass rush isn’t effective, all those upgrades in the secondary might not matter very much.

dbucfan

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« #1 : May 10, 2013, 12:20:28 AM »

"If the pass rush isn’t effective, all those upgrades in the secondary might not matter very much."  This Yankshisweenie guy is deep...

\"A Great Coach has to have a Patient Wife, A Loyal Dog, and a Great Quarterback. . . . but not necessarily in that order\" ~ Coach Bud Grant

Pepsi

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« #2 : May 10, 2013, 01:22:58 AM »

its highly doubtful that Revis, Goldson, and Banks turn out to be busts. They can be a top 10 defense in the league but they will need Bowers, Clayborn, and McCoy to not have any season ending injuries.  We're all in on those guys and counting on them. It would be nice if one of our project DEs surprise us too.



Pteranodon

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« #3 : May 10, 2013, 10:52:32 AM »

its highly doubtful that Revis, Goldson, and Banks turn out to be busts. They can be a top 10 defense in the league but they will need Bowers, Clayborn, and McCoy to not have any season ending injuries.  We're all in on those guys and counting on them. It would be nice if one of our project DEs surprise us too.

That would be the thing I would say, when it comes to ability that the players already show I'm not concerned about that since all those guys except Banks and maybe Bowers a little played well enough to say this defense should be good with those guys on the field. Making the case for the Saints was the toughest part of that article, they're going to be terrible again.

PassThePigSkin

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« #4 : May 10, 2013, 11:08:45 AM »

It's on the D-line. I believe Bowers and Clayborn show up to help McCoy.

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« #5 : May 10, 2013, 01:48:43 PM »

The scheme we played last year was miserable given the injury and talent issues. First year for many players and positions too.
We've got more skill, experience, and healthy lineman. A full year of film to coach from is no small thing either.
I'm putting this year on the staff to make it work.

chace1986

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« #6 : May 10, 2013, 04:18:18 PM »

Atlanta.

Atlanta was top 5 in PPG allowed last year. 24th in total Yards allowed does not paint an accurate portrait.

While I do believe that Witherspoon is one of the most overrated players in the league, his can be solid at times. Nolan is a good D coordinator and I think he brings the rookies CBs up to speed fairly quickly. I also think that their safety tandem is just as good as the Bucs. Until we see if this team can get after the passer in Schiano's scheme, best pre-season D IMO goes to ATL.


Until preseason, you stay classy Red Board.

Benchwarmer#1

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« #7 : May 10, 2013, 04:52:24 PM »

Bucs or Atlanta. It's pretty much addition by subtraction.

The other two team's defenses aren't good enough, even on paper, to beat any of the offenses in this division.

But if I had to choose, I'd say the bucs (non homering).

They have revis and goldson added with Gmac now, bowers and clayborn are healthy again, and miller is going to be replaced, which should allow for more pressure (anyone could improve that positional stat). While the falcons lost some fairly major role players this offseason, the Bucs added much talent and really didn't lose a whole lot in the process.

I can only hope Sully/Schiano don't go uber conservative on offense, and the defense isn't single-minded against the run. I know that's their MO, but they need to mix it up a bit more. With a little more experiance going into this season, I believe the bucs now have a pretty solid defensive core (if they can just stay away from injury bug).


Naismith was right about Revis. Everyone else is a dummy.

ingey1968

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« #8 : May 10, 2013, 04:58:34 PM »

Atlanta.

Atlanta was top 5 in PPG allowed last year. 24th in total Yards allowed does not paint an accurate portrait.

While I do believe that Witherspoon is one of the most overrated players in the league, his can be solid at times. Nolan is a good D coordinator and I think he brings the rookies CBs up to speed fairly quickly. I also think that their safety tandem is just as good as the Bucs. Until we see if this team can get after the passer in Schiano's scheme, best pre-season D IMO goes to ATL.

This....

Madman

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« #9 : May 10, 2013, 06:37:09 PM »

Atlanta.

Atlanta was top 5 in PPG allowed last year. 24th in total Yards allowed does not paint an accurate portrait.

While I do believe that Witherspoon is one of the most overrated players in the league, his can be solid at times. Nolan is a good D coordinator and I think he brings the rookies CBs up to speed fairly quickly. I also think that their safety tandem is just as good as the Bucs. Until we see if this team can get after the passer in Schiano's scheme, best pre-season D IMO goes to ATL.

This....

ATL's Dline is suspect, other than Babineaux. Traded Abraham for Osi. The rest is very average.

McCoy is a stud. If Bowers and Clayborn even come close to their potential, the Bucs have way more talent up front.

chace1986

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« #10 : May 10, 2013, 06:49:07 PM »

With their "amoeba defense", they actually use more DTs than they do DEs.

They had 4 DTs see the field for a pretty significant amount of snaps.
Babineaux - 956 snaps
Walker - 598 snaps
Jerry - 550 snaps
Peters - 518 snaps

Only 3 DEs saw over 200 snaps.
Abraham - 806
Biermann - 780
Edwards - 212

They seemed to have some success with it, IMO.


Until preseason, you stay classy Red Board.

BucsBay

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« #11 : May 10, 2013, 07:15:57 PM »

Disagree on Atlanta's Safeties being on par with ours. Goldson is light years better than DeCoud. William Moore is a good player, but Barron has loads more talent.

Babineaux is one of the most underrated players in the league IMO. He does a great job winning his match ups. Outside of him, no one in their front 7 really concerns me. Weatherspoon is solid, but overrated. David is much more talented.

I like Trufant, and think he will be solid quickly, and Samuels is good but is hitting an age where his ability to cover outside could fall off big any time any game.

BucsBay

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« #12 : May 10, 2013, 07:23:00 PM »

Best Safeties - Bucs

Best CBs - Bucs

Best LBs - National media will tell you Carolina, but David is going to shine this year and I'd take him with Foster. - Bucs

Best DTs - Starr is a monster, but is overrated as a football player. Babineaux is underrated, but McCoy is a top 3 4-3 DT in the league. - Bucs

Best DEs - Clayborn and Bowers have the potential to be, but until they put it on the field you have to say Carolina. - Carolina


Biggs3535

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« #13 : May 10, 2013, 07:26:04 PM »

I would agree that the Bucs are the most talented, but I'm not sure they'll be the best defense unless that scheme is adjusted.


chace1986

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« #14 : May 10, 2013, 08:08:14 PM »

Disagree on Atlanta's Safeties being on par with ours. Goldson is light years better than DeCoud. William Moore is a good player, but Barron has loads more talent.

Babineaux is one of the most underrated players in the league IMO. He does a great job winning his match ups. Outside of him, no one in their front 7 really concerns me. Weatherspoon is solid, but overrated. David is much more talented.

I like Trufant, and think he will be solid quickly, and Samuels is good but is hitting an age where his ability to cover outside could fall off big any time any game.

Light years better might be a stretch. DeCoud does suck against the run, but against the pass, Goldson isn't much better.

William Moore at this moment, is a lot better than Barron. Sure, Barron has promise/potential...but that means nothing until he fullfils that promise. So in a year ot two, Barron very well might be better than Moore, but not in 2013.


Until preseason, you stay classy Red Board.
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