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Old 10-06-2019, 04:05 AM  
Chargem Chargem is offline
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How does the defense get better next year?

So, early indications are that the defense still needs to improve. While things could change, I wanted to have a look at how many spots can you actually improve next year via the draft or free agency if we get to the end of this year and decide the defense still needs significant improvement.

The Front 7:

Linebackers: Wilson is signed next year and looks good in my opinion. Hitchens is here next year because of his contract.

Possible improvement/change - 3rd LB. However, this guy probably won't be on the field much, so re-signing Lee, drafting a guy or looking for an FA probably doesn't have much impact on the defense.

Defensive end: Clark and Okafor are locked in because of their contracts. Kpass and Speaks are probably on the roster.

Possible improvement: Ogbah has looked good as a rotational guy, either re-signing him or similar replacement probably makes very little impact on the defense.

Defensive tackle: Probably where the biggest change could come in the front 7. You would expect Nnadi to still be there, but either you sign Chris Jones and the DT group is mostly unchanged (with Ivey or Saunders or a draft pick taking Williams' snaps) or you do some kind of tag and trade for Jones and you have to expect that the DT position will be worse next year, even if you invest a high draft pick gained from trading Jones.

Improvement - literally none possible for next year. You can't expect a rookie to outperform Jones, so either you stay the same or you get worse (in the short term).

The Secondary:

Safety: Again, we are kind of locked in on this group. You have a lot of investment in HB and Thornhill, so splashing any kind of cash doesn't make sense neither does investing any significant draft resources.

Improvements - none really possible, except for better depth pieces.

Cornerback: The obvious change, with only Ward and Fenton under contract next year. This is already discussed ad nausem elsewhere so I won't go into much detail, but you're probably looking at trying to re-sign one of Breeland and Fuller, then add a high level draft pick. Or instead of a re-sign, you could look at an FA signing instead probably at the mid-tier level, depending on what you do with Jones.

Improvements - if you re-sign Breeland, the only possible improvement is expecting a rookie to outplay Fuller. It could very well happen, but it doesn't seem like you can expect significant improvement here either, at least next year.

Basically I've written a ton above to get to this: for the nickel package, of the 11 starters this year we are probably looking at 8 starters this year who are starting next year due to contracts or investment made in the players, possibly 9 if you retain Jones.

If the defense continues to disappoint this year, can changing two CBs and some rotational or depth pieces really turn it around? If not, what else can you do? Are there any defensive contracts you can actually walk away from to change more starters?

I realize that you can't always think as short term as "next year" only and some possible moves like trading Jones might be a short term negative for long term gain, but I'm putting that aside for now.
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:41 AM   #2
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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I’d probably trade Jones, Watkins, Kpassagnon, and Speaks.

I’d invest as many top picks as possible to staffing out the defense. I’d also really hope Chris Harris would be interested in playing here for not that much money. I’ve been making the argument for a couple weeks that we should pursue Woodyard, too. He’s old (and therefore cheap), and he should be an upgrade over Darron Lee.
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Old 10-06-2019, 08:15 AM   #3
Buehler445 Buehler445 is offline
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I think there is a chance it comes together. New system and personnel. 4 weeks in. I’m willing to give it some time.
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Old 10-06-2019, 09:53 AM   #4
Chargem Chargem is offline
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Originally Posted by Buehler445 View Post
I think there is a chance it comes together. New system and personnel. 4 weeks in. Iím willing to give it some time.
That's also what I am thinking. Even if it doesn't get much better this year, we turned over so many starters this year that surely an extra year to gel as a unit in the same system will help.

Hopefully the game slows down for Thornhill as well.
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:32 AM   #5
Chargem Chargem is offline
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Iíd probably trade Jones, Watkins, Kpassagnon, and Speaks.

Iíd invest as many top picks as possible to staffing out the defense. Iíd also really hope Chris Harris would be interested in playing here for not that much money. Iíve been making the argument for a couple weeks that we should pursue Woodyard, too. Heís old (and therefore cheap), and he should be an upgrade over Darron Lee.
I donít think Kpass or Speaks generate any kind of return so stay on the roster. Iím not too sad about that, Kpass has looked decent.

The problem with trading Watkins is it kills your WR situation losing him and Drob, and Iím not a fan of paying Drob what he could get on the open market.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:40 AM   #6
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Old 10-08-2019, 12:27 AM   #7
Chargem Chargem is offline
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Welp, we're about to get an extended look at the defense without Jones I guess, this should give us a good idea what trading him would be like.

I keep thinking if you can get a first and a second, you have to.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:26 AM   #8
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I think you have to trade Jones and Watkins from the team and go hard after a couple of great run defenders in FA. I have A'Shawn Robinson and Joe Schobert pegged as those guys, but everyone probably has their opinion.

With that, you have to get some improved play off the edge or the pass rush is going to be pretty bad. I'd think you have to bring back Ogbah and get another rotational DE early to pull it off because Ogbah has been our best pass rusher and they need more than that.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:38 PM   #9
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It will take more than season of draft prospects and FAs
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Old 10-13-2019, 02:40 AM   #10
Chargem Chargem is offline
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It will take more than season of draft prospects and FAs
I wouldn't argue that the defense has been anything but frustrating this year, but the initial indications are they are a bit better than last year in a new system with a completely new roster and new coaches. I think someone posted they were 18th on DVOA in another thread, up from the high 20's last year.

You say it will take more than a season, but the point of this thread was that I can't see there being much change next year, so I guess if you think most of the talent in the starting 11 now is garbage then you are right, it has to take more than one season.

Right now, I genuinely think the most likely outcome is they re-sign Jones, re-sign one of Fuller or Breeland and then draft another corner and we pretty much play with the same starting 11 next year as this year. It's too early to draw any conclusions on this defense but I would be worried about that as it stands now.
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