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LLT
06-06-2010, 06:15 PM
Cream Of The Crop: Ranking NFL's Top 10 Defenses Heading Into 2010
by Matt Miselis
Bleacher Report

10. Philadelphia Eagles
Though the season ended a bit rough for the Eagles defense, they certainly do make the cut on the top ten list.
The passing of long time coordinator Jim Johnson brought different schemes that many of the veterans had to adapt to. Include the many injuries this group faced, there is a few reasons why they fell out of the top ten in defense.
However, being at full health, and having another year under the defensive coordinator, look for the Eagles to rely on their defense for some key wins this year.

9. New England Patriots
The Patriots have usually been consistent on defense. Despite the disappointment in the playoffs, Bill Belichick used the draft to address the secondary, the biggest hole in this defense.
With many of the key defenders returning healthy( Wilfork, Mayo), the Patriots will be one of the better groups in the league once again

8. Washington Redskins
The Redskins were one of the better defensive groups in the league. However, they were overshadowed by Jim Zorn and the weak offense.
Due to being on the field quite a bit, the Redskins I believe are a little better than their stats.
Head coach Mike Shanahan may be putting in his new scheme, but being one of the best teachers in the game, Washington will be a top ten defenses in 2010.

7. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings had an up and down year in 2010. A number sevesn spot may be a bit generous, for a few reasons.
To start off, lets not put this into question. Their defensive front is the best in the league, with Jared Allen leading the way.
Still, I don't believe the Vikings addressed the secondary well enough this off season, which was clearly the biggest hole on the defense.
Unless there is major improvements, the Vikings are open to attack in the passing game.

6. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys defense interests me. When Wade Phillips puts his full effort into this defense, the Cowboys may be the best defense in the NFC.
The biggest question is within the secondary, but I see improvement on the way.
Many people close to the Dallas Cowboys feel Mike Jenkins is the real deal. I am a fan of Jenkins, who will emerge as a lockdown corner this year ( please, no injury).
The Cowboys were also hurt by injuries, especially to DeMarcus Ware. With him returning healthy, the Cowboys defense will be one to keep an eye on this season.

5. Green Bay Packers
For those who don't know my secret contenders yet, the Packers are near the top of the list.
The biggest focus will be on the defense. Posting a number two ranking in total defense was good, but struggled mightly against many pass heavy teams, especially the Vikings.
Veteran cornerback Al Harris returns to the opposite side of Charles Woodson. Can he be the Al of old, or is he near the decline of his career?

4. Cincinnati Bengals
Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals were the surprise team of the league. The biggest surprise was the defense, which was the strongest point on the team.
The combination of Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall provided two shut down corners for defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to work with.
For those believing it was a fluke, don't fool yourselves. The return of Antwan Odom to the starting defensive front makes it stronger than ever.
The Bengals aren't ready to go away from the spotlight, and look to repeat the performance of last season.

3. Baltimore Ravens
Some people still call them old and washed up. Yet, they prove the doubters wrong.
The Baltimore Ravens will make a case for returning to form as the leagues top defense. The combination of veterans ( Ray Lewis, Ed Reed) along with the drafting of two young rookies ( Terrence Cody, Sergio Kindle) makes them a big threat this year.
The biggest question mark is the secondary as everyone points out. I wouldn't say they have depth, but the question will be is how Washington and Webb return from injury.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers
For now, I give the Steelers the edge over the Ravens. The return of Troy Polamalu is huge. It took one season for me to realize how big of a difference maker he is.
Everyone, whether the front, the line backers, or the corners, plays well when he returns.
Still, just a few questions. Will James Harrison be the dominant force of two years ago? Can Polamalu and Aaron Smith come close to their abilities in 2010?

1. New York Jets
The New York Jets enter the 2010 season with the best defense. After finishing number one in 2010, many upgrades were made. They traded for Antonio Cromartie, who's specilaity will be to create turnovers.
They drafted with great value in Kyle Wilson, who is a solid third corner.
And even though Taylor is on the downside of his career, veteran leadership is always needed.
Biggest question for me is the defensive front. Aside from Jenkins, I need to see more pressure out of those guys.
Still, the Jets should be lights out in 2010 again

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/402065-cream-of-the-crop-ranking-the-top-10-defenses-heading-into-2010#page/10

CantStop85
06-06-2010, 07:46 PM
2, 3, and 4 all from the AFC North...pretty impressive.

Prok
06-06-2010, 08:02 PM
2, 3, and 4 all from the AFC North...pretty impressive.

All 3 have pretty good QB's leading their offense to boot.

BTW what's your take on why the bengals lost to the jets in the playoffs ?
Are many of you starting to wonder if Palmer has "it" yet ?

ALLD
06-06-2010, 08:13 PM
Of course New Emgland must be mentioned because...they are the Pats??? All the Jets need is Revis to screw things up as their best player. They will not be under the radar this year and it already looks like team chemistry could be an issue.

oneforthetoe
06-06-2010, 08:34 PM
I actually think the top 4 are pretty close. The Steelers' and Ratbirds' D's have a better pedigrees, but the bungles and Jets have a lot of young talent. Of course, all four have some issues. The most important issue for me is that in a playoff game I would trust the Steelers D the most.:whoo::tt02:

CantStop85
06-06-2010, 08:44 PM
All 3 have pretty good QB's leading their offense to boot.

BTW what's your take on why the bengals lost to the jets in the playoffs ?
Are many of you starting to wonder if Palmer has "it" yet ?
Not to hijack the thread, but...
The loss to the Jets I think was a combination of a few different things. For one, I think the injuries finally caught up to them and they were sort of starting to run out of steam near the end of the season.

Secondly, the Bengals offense was completely one-dimensional last season and the Jets were able to account for that. The Bengals were great at run blocking, but terrible at pass blocking...a lot of this comes from the fact that TE Reggie Kelly went down before the season, so instead of using a TE they would throw in a 6th lineman and run with an unbalanced line. And Carson was definitely off of his game last season...I think a lot of it can be contributed to how bad the team was at pass protection and how predictable the offense was. But, his injuries definitely contributed to his sub-par performance...it was apparent that his shoulder injury hadn't yet completely healed throughout the course of the season and his thumb injury actually had a major effect because it meant that he had to do hand-offs with his opposite hand. This made the play action game almost completely ineffective because it made it pretty obvious when he was going to keep the ball, even for fans watching the game. Also, he and Laveranues Coles were never really able to get on the same page...Coles would often run the wrong routes or drop a lot of balls. He did strengthen the running attack because he's a pretty good blocker, but he was never really able to fill the void left by TJ and Chris Henry in the second part of the season.

I think next season you'll see a more consistent and confident Palmer. I'm not sure if we'll ever see the 2005 gunslinger Palmer again, but he does still have the tools to be a top 10 QB. The additions of Andre Smith on the offensive line, Jermaine Gresham and Reggie Kelly at TE, and Antonio Bryant and Jordan Shipley (maybe Matt Jones?) at WR will be huge. He'll have better pass protection because of guys like Andre Smith and Reggie Kelly and he'll finally have a few guys to fill the voids left by TJ and Chris Henry with guys like Gresham, Bryant, and Shipley. Of course, this is assuming that Carson can stay healthy, which is a legitimate concern by itself. If he (and most of the offense) can stay healthy he should be able to greatly improve upon last year's performance...which really wasn't as terrible as some people would lead you to believe (3,094 yards, 21 TD's, 13 INT's, 83.6 QB rating).

Hindes204
06-06-2010, 08:46 PM
I agree with most of that list. Honestly, the top 4 can be swapped around, because on any given Sunday, they can all be game changing defenses

steelpride12
06-06-2010, 09:21 PM
Great to see 3 of the AFC North division teams up there. Shows we are in one of the if not the most competitive division in the league right now. Hard to rank a defense this early. Any team's could show up more than another any week on this list, but with the additions the Jet's brought along I can see why they stand #1.

BigNastyDefense
06-06-2010, 09:43 PM
I think the Jets are going to have a tougher time than they and many people think.

HometownGal
06-06-2010, 09:58 PM
Though I'm not big on pre-seasons rankings or sports jocks rankings in general, I am happy to see our guys forecasted so high on the list. :clap2: I've said it many times and I am sticking to my guns - while the loss of Troy and Aaron was definitely a factor in last season's meltdown on D, I was somewhat disappointed in Coach Lebeau's inability to recover and a bit of what appeared to be underachievement by some of the guys. I hope everyone can stay healthy this season and we can go back to being a D force not only in the AFCN, but the league.

I think one team was left off of that list who I believe is very much an up and coming D unit and that is the SF 49'ers.

Prok
06-06-2010, 10:10 PM
I think the Jets are going to have a tougher time than they and many people think.
IMO the Jets passrush will dictate their success. I don't care how good your secondary is you still must get good pressure on the QB.

HTG: My biggest beef with LeBeau is 3rd down defensive play-calling. Seems that when he's aggressive on 3rd downs our defense thrives off of it. If he's passive with the 3 man rush and content to sit in zone it could get hairy again. My guess is with a healthy Troy and Aaron he can be a bit more aggressive and we can get after QB's again.

Psycho Ward 86
06-06-2010, 10:19 PM
IMO the Jets passrush will dictate their success. I don't care how good your secondary is you still must get good pressure on the QB.


Darrelle Revis, Jim Leonard, and Antonio Cromartie beg to differ

Prok
06-06-2010, 10:23 PM
Darrelle Revis, Jim Leonard, and Antonio Cromartie beg to differ

Ask 'em to cover WR's for longer than 5 seconds. lol

Plus Jim Leonard is not one of the best S's imo.

Psycho Ward 86
06-06-2010, 11:59 PM
Ask 'em to cover WR's for longer than 5 seconds. lol

Plus Jim Leonard is not one of the best S's imo.

Huh, no DB in the NFL should be expected to cover a wide receiver for 5 seconds on a consistent basis. And the jets pass rush isnt THAT great.

And Jim Leonard is like the Jabrari Greer of safeties: He is and always will be underrated and overlooked just because he plays on great defenses with great players.

steel9guy
06-07-2010, 12:19 AM
Just like it used to be I hope we end up number 1. We looked bad last year and we were still top 5 and anything is better than last year. The jets are really good but I agree that they don't have the best pass rush in the league.

tony hipchest
06-07-2010, 01:17 AM
I think one team was left off of that list who I believe is very much an up and coming D unit and that is the SF 49'ers.

good call. the cardinals (red steelers) could creep in the top 10 as well.

Galax Steeler
06-07-2010, 05:05 AM
Good to see we are finally getting some recognition. Hopefully we will have a top defense like in the past. The only question mark I have would be our corners. I guess we will have to wait and see.

BigNastyDefense
06-07-2010, 11:20 AM
Darrelle Revis, Jim Leonard, and Antonio Cromartie beg to differ

Revis, IMHO, is the best corner in the NFL. Leonard I would put in the second tier of safeties at best. Cromartie is an athlete, but he isn't one of the best corners in the game. He's good and he is a upgrade to what they had opposite Revis last season, but he isn't a great corner.

Revis can probably cover one of the better receivers for longer than 5 seconds. Cromartie, hahahaha no. And Leonard is more of a hitter than a ballhawk/cover guy.

Crow-Magnon
06-07-2010, 12:33 PM
Great to see 3 of the AFC North division teams up there. Shows we are in one of the if not the most competitive division in the league right now. Hard to rank a defense this early. Any team's could show up more than another any week on this list, but with the additions the Jet's brought along I can see why they stand #1.

We may not be as "showy" as some other divisions, but I'll take hard-hitting, knuckle-busting AFCN defensive games any day of the week.

SteelMember
06-07-2010, 12:47 PM
No matter how these shake out, with our history and talent, we should be there somewhere.

Barring injury, we should be much better than last year.

Prok
06-07-2010, 01:06 PM
Huh, no DB in the NFL should be expected to cover a wide receiver for 5 seconds on a consistent basis. And the jets pass rush isnt THAT great.

And Jim Leonard is like the Jabrari Greer of safeties: He is and always will be underrated and overlooked just because he plays on great defenses with great players.

Admittedly i'm certainly no expert on defense. But what Rex Ryan does with his blitz packages to pressure QB's is outstanding IMO. Ben and Peyton are about the only QB's that find ways to beat his scheme IMO. But i think if you put Leonard on an average D he'd be just that, average. Great hustle player though imo.

HometownGal
06-07-2010, 01:21 PM
We may not be as "showy" as some other divisions, but I'll take hard-hitting, knuckle-busting AFCN defensive games any day of the week.

Oh me too - and thrice on Sundays. :tea:

solardave
06-07-2010, 03:41 PM
The Jets may go in at #1 but by the time Ben gets back our D will be on top. It'll have to be to win.

steeldevil
06-07-2010, 05:52 PM
pretty good list. I would think that the saints would be on there however. idk maybe over the pats*

The Duke
06-08-2010, 12:34 PM
Darrelle Revis, Jim Leonard, and Antonio Cromartie beg to differ

Too bad Comartie sucks though. They'd be better of starting Kyle Wilson

Great list though. AFC North representing!

But I don't know about the Skins. They are switching to 3-4, and while Orakpo seems to be a natural beast there, I still have to see them all play to put them in the top 10. Plus you got the Haynesworth variable....