Originally posted by NCommand:
It could conceivably be WORSE this year and here is why:
1. Both Manny & Haralson will be taking EVERY snap this season (expect them to wear down as the season progresses) and who is playing behind them? Brooks?
2. Pass rushing has NOT been Manny's strength often times easily blocked one-on-one and over-running running plays
3. Though we've added depth to the d-line, Sopoaga is going to be rotated between DE & NT and we may rely more on Balmer who is still very raw and Franklin is average at best
4. Injuries are almost inevitable and I'd expect at least one involving the front 7 where we have very little depth at the OLB and a rookie at ILB
5. Scheme - if Manusky/Singletary see the front 7 is unable to get to the QB early, expect another vanilla coverage-focused defense and only a few "coverage sacks" (see Haralson last year) to boot
6. The opposition now has 7 games of game-film on a starting D that is almsot identical to last year; so will the scheme change that much?
That said, perhaps the scheme becomes more intricate this year and resembles a true 3-4 perspective which focuses on dictating the offense, attacking and disguising blitzes using ALL front 7 players coupled with occasional CB & Safety blitzes. Maybe, now that roles are defined, the OLB's will excel and perhaps there will be a surprise in the making (Brooks?).
But without a dominant NT and LDE and a reactive defensive approach, I'm not expecting much change from last year with only marginal improvements in QB pressures, sacks, turnovers & 3rd down defense.
That is a pessimistic view, but here is my reply.
1. Who ever said that Parys and Manny will be taking every snap on defense? Very rarely do OLB's take every snap, or any position on defense for that matter. The only 3 players on our defense who will probably take every snap are Willis, Smith, and Clements.
2. Manny has not had time, nor been given the opportunity to develop any Strength's, let alone weaknesses. His health has been a concern since his rookie season. He is said to be healthy.
3. We acquired Evans and RJF this offseason. Balmer did not play much at all last season. Both Evans and Balmer are being counted on to contribute heavily. Evans will likely emerge as the starter.
4. Injuries happen, and they are unpredictable. Who knows??? McKillop, the rookie, will not start this season. TKO is still the man there.
5. If we do not get to the QB early, my guess is that we blitz more, instead of laying back. We should have a more aggressive defense this year, instead of the opposite.
6. We have several new starters (or right now, projected) on defense. Evans or Balmer will likely start at one DE. Manny was not starting last season, or at least, for the full season, in the role that he will be involved with this season. Goldson is the new FS, and Brown or Bly will be new starters at CB. Hence, we have a minimum of 4 new starters on the D this season.
I have a lot more confidence in Sing and a free-reigned Manusky than I did in Nolan and his "antics". The difference is probably somewhere in the middle.