Jul 21, 2009
Here’s the next round of random thoughts, this time on some team defenses:
1) New York Jets – Like many of you, I’m high on the Jet defense with the addition of Rex Ryan as the head coach. Ryan has a unique feel for calling plays on defense and even though the talent he’ll be working with might not be as good as what he had with the Ravens, he’ll get things turned around quickly. The one big issue staring him in the face early is the loss of OLB Calvin Pace due to a four-game suspension. That one will hurt as he’s their best pass rusher. But as the season progresses, Ryan will work his magic and the Jet defense will turn out to be a decent starter and they’ll post decent turnover numbers.
2) Philadelphia Eagles – With it being a virtual certainty that defensive coordinator Jim Johnson will not be coaching with the team this season, defensive backs coach Sean McDermott is slated to take over. McDermott has been with the team since before Johnson joined them, so he knows Johnson’s system well. But as I’ve said before, calling the shots on defense or offense is a skill, not often perfected immediately. I believe it’s going to take some time for McDermott to get a feel when to call blitzes and understanding what fronts and schemes to use. So, it’s possible that we decide to move them down a little, but they’re still going to be a quality starter.
3) St. Louis Rams – Each year, there are some fantasy defenses that come out of nowhere to post good numbers. With head coach Steve Spagnuolo calling the shots, I think the Ram defense has a chance to be a big surprise for fantasy owners this season. While we don’t have them ranked high and it probably will take some time for them to show something significant, but there’s something to work with there. DT/DE Adam Carriker, DEs Leonard Little and Chris Long, DT Cliff Ryan, LBs Will Witherspoon and James Laurinaitis, CB Ronald Bartell and S O.J. Atogwe all have talent. It’s up to Spagnuolo to get it out of them. In time, he probably will. Grab them as your backup. Keep in mind the Giant defense under Spagnuolo didn’t start off well in his first year, it took them some time to get things right.
4) Seattle Seahawks – We were rarely wrong on our evaluations on players and defenses last season, but we missed on Seattle. While their secondary wound up being terrible, can anyone explain what happened at linebacker? It seems like the entire defense took a step back last season. While they may bounce back a bit this season, I don’t think their personnel is any better this time around. Draft them as your backup.
5) Baltimore Ravens – Last season, I felt they were completely undervalued and it turned out that they were in a big way. This time around, I don’t see them as a quality starter. It’s because they lost defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, and his replacement, Greg Mattison, only was with the team for last season. I think they are in for a reduction in big plays and thus, lower fantasy value.
6) Cincinnati Bengals – This defense was competitive for most of last season and they’ve added DT Tank Johnson, LB Ray Maualuga, and S Roy Williams. This defense offers plenty of upside as your backup.