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NFL's 10 most dominant defenses for 2014(Rams not included)

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by Prime Time, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. Prime Time RODerator

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    This is just annoying. Admittedly I'm a major homer but come on...The Rams aren't even on this list. What? The Texans will have a better defense than the Rams this season because they have both Watt and Clowney? Way to mail it in Vinnie.

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    Stingy and nasty: NFL's 10 most dominant defenses for 2014

    Vinnie Iyer @vinnieiyer

    If you watched the Super Bowl, you were reminded that defense wins championships. The old bromide remains unchanged. But wait, keeping opponents off the field and off the scoreboard is just part of the equation to qualify for Sporting News' list of 2014's most dominant.

    Here's the growing element for defenses: physically overwhelming an opponent to the point the frustration and pain.

    As usual, because of coaching, personnel and scheme changes, there's about to be a bit of a shakeup in the second half of the top 10. As expected, however, the top seven is loaded with the returning best, starting with the reigning champions.

    1. Seattle Seahawks

    2013 stats: No. 1 in scoring defense (14.4 points per game), No. 1 in total defense (273.6 yards per game)

    Unlike many Super Bowl champs (see Baltimore), their defense didn't get gutted. Yes, they lost notable linemen Red Bryant and Chris Clemons to Seattle East, also known as the Jacksonville Jaguars. But they splurged to take care of end Michael Bennett, safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman.

    The Seahawks might not have last season's ridiculous depth, but they're loaded and have no real holes — no other team can boast the harmony with its up-front pressure and daunting secondary play.

    They're the ideal defense stacked for a passing league — just ask Peyton Manning. Why? They can rush the quarterback from everywhere and cover anywhere. Sherman doesn't need to tell us they're No. 1 in every which way. The world knows.

    2. Carolina Panthers

    2013 stats: No. 2 in scoring defense (15.1 points per game), No. 2 in total defense (301.3 yards per game)

    The Panthers have a bit of an off-field concern with defensive end Greg Hardy, who is scheduled to face misdemeanor charges this week on domestic violence charges. They lost gritty pieces of their secondary when Captain Munneryln and Mike Mitchell left as free agents.

    But assuming Hardy gets to play, their front seven easily is the best in the league, anchored by rangy, playmaking linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.

    Taking a page from the Giants' blueprint, they decided to add more pop in their pass rush by drafting Kony Ealy. Remember, they had a league-best 60 sacks last season. Their ends are deeper, and young tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short will remain linchpins against the run. In Kuechly, they have the league's premier one-man wrecking crew.

    3. New Orleans Saints

    2013 stats: No. 4 in scoring defense (19.0 points per game), No. 4 in total defense (305.7 yards per game)

    Rob Ryan isn't just a pretty face with a fine mane. He can coach too, especially when he has the horses to drive his relentless 3-4 attack. In one season Ryan turned around a unit with a spotty history. His reward: premier ball-hawking free safety Jairus Byrd. Add Byrd to Keenan Lewis, Rafael Bush, Champ Bailey and stud second-year strong safety Kenny Vaccaro, and the Saints are a few notches shy of the Seahawks.

    The man to watch is rising star Cameron Jordan, who joined outside linebacker Junior Gallette as dozen-sack men last season. Jordan is gaining on J.J. Watt as an elite 3-4 end.

    4. San Francisco 49ers

    2013 stats: No. 3 in scoring defense (17.0 points per game), No. 5 in total defense (316.9 yards per game)

    Outside linebacker Aldon Smith likely will be suspended, but it appears his punishment won't be lengthy. Still, it will be a bit before we see the game's best linebacker corps in action, because inside man NaVorro Bowman is targeting a midseason return from his knee injury. Until then, the Niners have good depth to aid Patrick Willis and Ahmad Brooks.

    Old reliable Justin Smith keeps plugging away in their three-man front, but we're most intrigued by their reshuffled secondary. Expect safeties Eric Reid and Antoine Bethea to click like Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner once did. The Niners should feel good about Tramaine Brock taking over as their top cornerback, and the depth behind him included rookie first-round nickel back Jimmie Ward.

    5. Denver Broncos

    2013 stats: No. 22 in scoring defense (24.9 points per game), No. 19 in total defense (356.0 yards per game)

    Last season's numbers were somewhat decent. Remember, the Broncos dealt with a mess of injuries and opponents piled garbage-time points trying to catch up in blowouts. Those stats are about to improve because of three top-level veteran pickups: right end DeMarcus Ware, safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib.

    Ware will get a hand in everything while boosting the pass rush. And there's a bonus: He is the good influence on trouble young stud linebacker Von Miller.

    Ward and Talib will make plenty of plays, and the secondary rounds out well with rookie first-round pick Bradley Roby and the healthy return of Chris Harris Jr. Pass rushers and defenders will have opportunities to make plays because the offense can and will let them work with leads.

    6. New England Patriots

    2013 stats: No. 10 in scoring defense (21.1 points per game), No. 26 in total defense (373.1 yards per game)

    File them under "trying to match the Seahawks secondary" as well. The Pats got their shutdown upgrade by replacing Aqib Talib with Darrelle Revis, and they have big hopes that Brandon Browner can shake off troubles and be a nice-sized No. 2. Safeties Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon have similar potential.

    The front seven is packed with familiar veterans, but the spotlight is on two young pass rushers, end Chandler Jones and outside linebacker Jamie Collins. They can combine for monster individual sack seasons, as their upfield skill sets are ideal for Bill Belichick's scheme.

    With Revis locking down, Jones and Collins will often have the time to be in quarterbacks' faces.

    7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    2013 stats: No. 20 in scoring defense (24.3 points per game), No. 17 in total defense (348.0 yards per game)

    Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier are throwbacks to the Tampa 2 days of Tony Dungy; now we'll see if they can produce similar results. They don't have a Warren Sapp-style anchor, but tackle Gerald McCoy is coming off a stellar season. There's no Derrick Brooks, but weakside linebacker Lavonte David is an active playmaker in his own right.

    Those big-impact defenders got company from free-agent additions end Michael Johnson and cornerback Alterraun Verner. Smith should be able to lean a front-four pass rush, and the corner combination of Verner and Johnthan Banks should thrive in zone coverage behind it.

    The most important development to watch is Smith's influence on Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron, a safety duo that's just scratched its surface.

    8. Arizona Cardinals

    2013 stats: No. 7 in scoring defense (20.3 points per game), No. 6 in total defense (317.4 yards per game)

    The Cardinals saw a big hole created in the middle of the defense with inside linebackers Karlos Dansby and Darryl Washington out of the picture. Dansby left for Cleveland, and Washington faces suspension for his latest substance-abuse violation.

    Sturdy behemoths Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett return to power the defensive line, and ageless John Abraham provides pass-rush punch at outside linebacker. The Big Red hope young Kevin Minter can help fill the middle void.

    It just means the secondary is their clear-cut strength. Patrick Peterson is a budding shutdown superstar, and the Cardinals had the luxury of letting Antonio Cromartie become a No. 2. It all will round it out is when dazzling free-lancing free safety Tyrann Mathieu returns from injury and rookie first-round strong safety Deone Bucannon settles as big hitter.

    9. Houston Texans

    2013 stats: No. 24 in scoring defense (26.8 points per game), No. 7 in total defense (317.6 yards per game)

    Better health and one incredible addition — first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney — set this team up for a huge surge under Romeo Crennel, a defensive coordinator who knows how to get the best out of all his personnel.

    Crennel puts players in position to succeed, not that it's hard to help end J.J. Watt. This season, he just gets to have Clowney and Brian Cushing join in on the front seven's havoc-wreaking fun.

    The secondary held up better than you would think last season, and there remains good talent in cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson. The player to watch is D.J. Swearinger, their version of the slobber-knocking safety every team craves.

    10. New York Jets

    2013 stats: No. 19 in scoring defense (24.2 points per game), No. 11 in total defense (344.9 yards per game)

    They sneak in here over sliders Kansas City and Cincinnati because they have the best front three of any 3-4 team. We also are projecting a little better secondary play. Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison were the reasons the Jets were extremely difficult to run against last season.

    There's a lot of settling to be done with the cornerbacks, but we love what hard-hitting strong safety Calvin Pryor will bring to the back end. Pryor, a first-round pick, be an extra rangy linebacker that Rex Ryan will use to the max. He can also make plays in coverage and be the standout leader of a young unit.
     
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  2. Memento Ser Memento (alias, The Winged Knight).

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    Mr. Iyer clearly hasn't watched a single Rams game. Not even a freaking mention of them. Dammit, I hate the national media..
     
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  3. Barrison Well-Known Member

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    LMAO the Jets!? will have a better defense than us!? What is this dude smoking?
     
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  4. Boffo97 Well-Known Member

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    I am still a little concerned about our secondary. But our defensive line has "Best Ever" potential and we have solid linebackers.

    Frankly even with the secondary, we got them a LOT of help and only need 1 or 2 rookies to impress for them to be great.

    So yeah, we should be on the list. Maybe not #1 yet, but a definite brain fart of an article.
     
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  5. CGI_Ram Hamburger Connoisseur

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    When a writer leaves out the Rams defense; his credibility is pretty much zero.
     
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  6. LACHAMP46 Well-Known Member

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    I'm scratching my head too, the Buccaneers & the Jets?!? Wtf? Zona lost the top 3 tacklers, plus Honeybadger wont play for 4-5 games...Seattle lost some linemen and corners, and 9ers are gonna miss Bowman & what's that kids name, dude playing with LAX cops?
     
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  7. jjab360 Well-Known Member

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    Rams were 13th in scoring defense and 15th in yards allowed last year with a terrible DC and one of the worst liabilities in the league in Finnegan.

    With Gregg Williams and Lamarcus Joyner replacing those two, no significant losses, a massive new trump card in Aaron Donald, and the youngest team in the league gaining another year of experience, not being on this list is sorta ridiculous.
     
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  8. paceram Well-Known Member

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    I think this list & ranking will change shortly after the season begins! I am going to take a WILD guess and predict that the Rams Defense WILL be mentioned AND Ranked once the regular season begins!
     
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  9. Prime Time RODerator

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    Aldon Smith.
     
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  10. flv 

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    I'm fine with the top 8. We're projecting our secondary to be much improved but based on the last 2 years and the lack of big name additions in the off-season we shouldn't be surprised that we're not universally seen as a top 12 defense.
     
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  11. JackDRams Member

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    The reason I'm assuming we aren't on this list, is because nobody really knows for sure what our secondary will even look like. McDonald and Alexander at safety? Or McLeod and McDonald? Whose the third corner? Joyner, Gaines, Reid, Roberson, McGee, etc. So many questions unanswered in the secondary. Probably making it hard to rank our defense as a whole. Nobody has seen half of these guys even play. Things will change when we hit the field.
     
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  12. Alan Well-Known Member

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    I'm not surprised we're not rated in the top 10. As JackD said, We're going to have to see a lot more from our DBs before anyone rates us very high. I think we've gotten better with the departure of CF but I have little hope we've improved more than marginally at FS. Counting on UDFAs and 4th round picks to fix our problem at FS is...very low percentage. As for CB, McGee sucked last year (I know, first year) and still kept other options like Woody off the field.

    I do have to laugh at the inclusion of the Texans though. Although I hear people laughing about including rookies like Clowney in their projections but are we doing anything different we we include Joyner?
     
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  13. Prime Time RODerator

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    I wasn't even thinking of Joyner but of our front 7 and our DC. What bothers me about some "sports writers" is that they only look at what happened last season and then prognosticate what will happen in the coming season based on that. It's lazy journalism.
     
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  14. OC--LeftCoast Member

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    [​IMG]

    Clearly, Vinnie hasn't received the memo, someone needs to get him a can of pesticide so he can do something constructive.
     
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    Prime Time likes this.
  15. Prime Time RODerator

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    But don't touch his stapler. :cool: *For Office Space fans only*
     
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  16. NukeRam I test nuclear weapons

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    This just pisses me off! :mad:
     
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  17. Boffo97 Well-Known Member

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    Why don't you just go by "Mike Bolton"?
     
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  18. MFaulk107 The Realness

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    Madness.
     
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  19. So Ram Member

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    He gives other teams better projections.Ogletree is underrated.Rams 2 3rd year CB's are underrated. Respect is earned.Stats won't lie.Rams were number 2 in sacks.Inthinkbthey get 10 more sacks & at least 5 more INT's .
     
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  20. El Juggernauto Your Best Friend

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    We have an elite dline, we have one very consistent MLB, a young play making OLB, the other spot is a question. And our secondary has to scare anyone. The rams aren't going to earn a spot based on our line, which is hands down the best. I like being the underdog, give them a chance to sneak up on folks
     
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