They need to do three things to help swing the balance back into the defense's favor, though it's unlikely to happen:
1) Since hitting hard legally can now be easily mistaken for an illegal hard hit they need to allow more hand checks/minor holding on WRs. The DBs are in such a disadvantage right now it's nearly impossible to play the position. Let the DBs get away with minor holding and make the WRs do more to earn their catches.
2) Make (legitimate) pass interference penalties the same as college - spot foul only up to 15 yards and an automatic first down, instead of being a spot foul no matter the distance. Yes, there will be the occasional purposeful PI to prevent a really long pass, but since PI happens all the time now anyways because the rules are so strict the advantage is so far in the offense's favor that giving defenses this small advantage won't make much difference. Besides, it's not as though college teams always chuck it and college DBs always PI to prevent long completions. In fact, it's extremely rare. The 15 yards/1st down is bad enough to prevent teams from willful PI all the time on long passes.
3) Personal foul penalties for roughing the passer/receiver need to be reviewable plays. Too many times in games this weekend I saw legitimate shoulder hits be called as helmet-to-helmet because the speed of the play in real time drew the flag from the ref. The penalty is too game-changing to get wrong as often as it happens.
Make these changes and defenses will have a better chance in today's offensive NFL. The problem is that offense = ratings = money. The lay NFL fan that doesn't go on message boards wants to see offenses and don't give a crap about defense, so they don't care about these things.
[ Edited by captveg on Sep 23, 2013 at 1:19 PM ]