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SoDak Bronco
06-26-2009, 09:35 AM
http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Five-defenses-facing-critical-seasons.html

When we talk defense in the National Football League, itís hard not to tilt the discussion toward the likes of the Steelers, the Ravens, the Eagles, the Giants and other top units year in and year out in the league.

But which defenses are the ones we donít always talk about that must show up in the 2009 season?
Today, Iíll give you five defenses that have to take major steps forward if they want to help their respective football teams get to the postseason.

1. Green Bay

APKampman moves to linebacker in Dom Capers' 3-4 scheme

The Packers were porous on defense last season ó they gave up almost 24 points a game and over 131 yards per game on the ground ó and thatís why they made it a top priority to find some answers this offseason. The Pack hired Dom Capers to run their defense, drafted NT B.J. Raji and LB Clay Matthews in the first round and are experimenting with former Pro Bowl defensive end Aaron Kampman at OLB.

The secondary of the Packers is full of playmakers, but Nick Collins needs to show up at training camp, and this front seven ó along with former first rounder Justin Harrell, who must show some sort of production ó has to find a way to get to the passer, force the ball out of his hands early and allow the secondary to do what it does best ó make plays on the football.
Lots of expectations in Green Bay, but they have the players to get it done.

2. New Orleans

We all know the Saints are going to score points with Drew Brees at quarterback, but can they stop anyone? That has always been the question about this franchise under head coach Sean Payton, and thatís exactly why he went out and hired Gregg Williams to take over the defense ó and produce immediate results.

Iíve played in Williamsí scheme, and it is fast, attacking and should (and will) produce turnovers in New Orleans ó giving Brees and his offense an even shorter field to work with. The Saints signed CB Jabari Greer and FS Darren Sharper and drafted CB Malcolm Jenkins out of Ohio State. The secondary in Williams scheme is required to tackle, cover and blitz ó something you donít see in every clubhouse around the league. They still need to find a way to get some push from their defensive front, but once that happens, this team will be dangerous ó on both sides of the ball.

3. Denver

APChamp will benefit from a solid Denver pass rush in '09

Itís no secret that the Broncosí defense struggled last season, giving up almost 375 yards a game and finishing 30th in the league in allowing 28 points per game. Josh McDaniels is the new headman in Denver, and he brought former Niners head coach Mike Nolan and his 3-4 scheme with him to try and find a solution to the clubís defensive issues.

Denver added some talent in the secondary to complement CB Champ Bailey with safeties Brain Dawkins and Renaldo Hill and corner Andre Goodman, plus they drafted OLB Robert Ayers. But can they get some solid play up front from the likes of DE Kenny Peterson and find a pass rush from OLB Elvis Dumervil? Yes, there are a lot of questions in Denver, but I love the leadership they have in the secondary, and I think this group of linebackers will surprise people.

But the defensive line needs to produce for this team to compete in the AFC West.
4. Chicago

It seems like a long time since the Bears rode the coattails of their 2005 turnover machine of a defense to the Super Bowl, but thatís exactly where we are today ó at a crossroads.

DT Tommie Harris needs to return to Pro Bowl form, DEs Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye need to provide a pass rush, and this team needs someone to step up and grab the free safety job, vacated after the departure of Mike Brown. The offense grabbed all the headlines this offseason with addition of QB Jay Cutler, but this is still a team that relies on a pass rush and the ability to force turnovers with its Tampa 2 defense. There will be plenty of big arms in the NFC North this season, and the Bears need to play Lovie Smithís defense at a high level to compete.

Turnovers are a staple of the Tampa 2, and Cutler will put points on the board if this defense gives him the football in scoring position.

5. Houston

APRyans and the Texans' defense needs to play at a high level to win the AFC South

Can this franchise play defensive football in 2009? We know they have multiple weapons at the offensive skill positions, but until the Texans figure out a way to compete with the rest of the AFC South defensively, they will continue to be a .500 team.

DE Mario Williams continues to prove he was worthy of the No. 1 selection in the 2006 draft, but where is the help? Someone ó most likely DT Amobi Okoye ó needs to step up and allow this team to rush the passer without teams scanning running backs to Williams in their protection schemes. Once that happens, there will be more one-on-one match-ups for Williams, and the Texans can start making plays on the quarterback. They drafted Brain Cushing out of USC to start at linebacker, and I love the game of LB DeMeco Ryans, but their secondary is still suspect at times. However, a great pass rush also makes a great secondary ó and thatís exactly what the Texans have to be thinking this summer when they prepare for the í09 season.

Get to the quarterback and let the secondary make plays.

Check the Daily Jolt tomorrow for "Eight in the Box"

Beantown Bronco
06-26-2009, 09:51 AM
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SoDak Bronco
06-26-2009, 09:53 AM
Sorry did I take you away from the REV is on a cruise or MJ died from eating an 8 year old weiner thread?

Irish Stout
06-26-2009, 09:57 AM
Ok... Secondary... check. Everything else???????

Hurrying up training camp I need more.

I'm tired of the polls on how many members ElSid can collect or how many dolphins the Rev will hookup with on his cruise.

Popps
06-26-2009, 10:21 AM
Sorry did I take you away from the REV is on a cruise or MJ died from eating an 8 year old weiner thread?

:rofl:

broncofan2438
06-26-2009, 10:22 AM
Ok... Secondary... check. Everything else???????
Hurrying up training camp I need more.

I'm tired of the polls on how many members ElSid can collect or how many dolphins the Rev will hookup with on his cruise.

No kidding