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On 5/16/2018 at 9:42 AM, big_palooka said:

I hate this line of thinking. "Get a pass" that is loser talk.  If you're talented, you'll stand out. Mack was still among the best defensive players in football, he doesn't need a pass for last season. Jospeh was overdrafted. He had physical limitations. Everyone wanted to look at him like Bob Sanders (who was a 2nd round pick, right where Joseph should have been). If they wanted a safety, it should have been Neal. 

Talent rises to the top regardless of coaching IMO. Coaching can bring average guys up from game to game. Motivate them in stretches, etc. But if you're a true talent, you'll shine in any situation. Best we can hope is scheme and coaching brings guys like Joseph from average to slightly above average for the majority of games. 

 That’s half right, with front  7  it’s easier for cream to rises to the top But in the  secondary if you’re in the wrong defense there’s not much you can do about it.   There is to much space to cover and to little time you’ll be chasing after receivers all day long.

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Pagano made this defense look respectable and I think that Guenther may do more than that. Both night and day from KNJ. Also seeing good things said about Fadol Brown and Worley. We need guys to step up this year and I'm hoping one of the young LB's emerges as well (Morrow I'm looking at you). Would like Bowman back in the fray as well.

Edited by MrOaktown_56
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23 hours ago, Rolni said:

It seems like we have a competent DC after all these years fellas!


Guenther was the Bengals defensive coordinator the last four seasons, and takes over a Raiders defense that has been bad for a long time. Since the team was in the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, defensive coordinators Chuck Bresnahan, Rob Ryan, John Marshall, Bresnahan again, Jason Tarver, Ken Norton Jr. and John Pagano have never had the team in the top half of the league in scoring defense. 

Man, what a set of guys.  Who was the worst? I'd go either KNJ or Bresnahan.

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12 hours ago, Silver&Black88 said:

Man, what a set of guys.  Who was the worst? I'd go either KNJ or Bresnahan.

In his defense Pagano's D gave up 21 points a game once he took over which would have ranked 15th.  I think with an off-season to get the D ready would could have been top ten this year.  I am going to pull for Guenther to do good but wish we would have given Pagano a shot.

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  • 1 month later...

PFF made a DL/pass rush ranking: https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-nfl-pass-rush-rankings-all-32-teams-entering-2018

We are on the 13th spot on this list, but there are some questions from me regarding the line up...

They think we will have it like this:

ED: Mack
DI: Hurst
DI: Edwards
ED: Irvin
Key rotational guys: Ellis, Vanderdoes, Key


As I saw the list, they talk about starting line ups and not nickel line ups. So the first issue I have is that we will have Ellis in as NT in the starting line up IMO.

I'm really not sure about Edwards future here with all the late buzz around him and how he regarded among the new staff. With Hurst, Hall, Hester, Eddie, Tank he could end up on the trade block or even could be cut IMO. He could very easily grab the starting 3 tech spot in front if the rookies too, but he is a big question mark IMO.

Just like Eddie, how could easily start the season on PUP IMO. His injury occured late in the season and he hurt that knee before, so his recovery might last into the season. Not sure how active and effective he can be in 2018.

Hall and mybe even Hester on the other hand could be key contributors IMO.

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  • 6 months later...

I just want to bump up this Defense thread a little bit, since I think we have some information and knowledge about the roster, about PG and his scheme and lately about PG's and our new GM's vision for this Defense.


It was pretty obvious last year that our defense lacked speed and talent accross the field. It was also pretty obvious that PG's scheme is not that easy, especially on young players. It was also pretty clear that PG relied too much on the veterans early on. The positive note is that the second half of the season was better and players started to play more comfortable in the scheme, some players started to look solid or even good.

This is from a recent PG interview which he gave during the Senior Bowl:

“I didn’t know we weren’t going to be able to re-sign (Denico) Autry, (TJ) Carrie and (NaVorro) Bowman, and then Jelly (Ellis) was out 10 games,” Guenther said. “When all those guys left, and then we didn’t get Khalil (Mack) back, we had to get some guys under the salary cap that were good guys and could show the younger guys how to do it the right way.

“And now we can build it through the draft and free agency the right way.”

This is pretty telling if you ask me. Clearly he got a worse hand then what he expected. This time he will have a better chance in FA and also in the draft. We will have some money and we will have around 10 draft pick (could change with trades obviously). 

This is where Mike Mayock comes in the picture with his recent interview from the Senior Bowl:

"We have some money and we would love to come out of it with a couple of starters. We have an awful lot of holes and we’re not going to fill them all. The more you can do in free agency, the more surgical you can be in the draft.” 

Then he added these about the defensive side:

“Are we focused in on defensive ends at this game? Of course. We’d be dumb if we weren’t. But we need pretty much everything on defense. We’re looking at every position.

“We need speed everywhere. I think our defensive tackles are pretty good. We’ve got a couple young defensive tackles I like that, again, I’m looking for a pop in Year 2.

“Tahir Whitehead is a good football player, really solid. I think we need to get better on the back end. I think Karl Joseph played well at the end of the year and they did a nice job finding a role for him.”

PG added these comments too:

“I have a prototype for every position,” said Guenther, who has had two prior Senior Bowl coaching stints, both with the Bengals. “Mike knows what I am looking for in any spot. He has an idea of what I am looking for our system. Now, I am not molded into that prototype. If we can’t find those guys in this draft, we may have to tweak the system a little bit. 

“And it can go the other way. If there is a rare talent at No. 4 that doesn’t necessarily fit the system, we will tweak the system. But he understands what I am looking for, and that’s half the battle.”


I like what I'm reading! Our GM is pretty clear and open about our holes on D. Our DC and GM looks to be on the same page about prospect types, but our DC is willing to tweak his scheme around players. I think PG's biggest lesson from 2018 might be just that. 


Let's see what we have in house right now:

DT: PJ Hall, Mo Hurst, Eddie Vanderdoes, Gabe Wright

NT: Justin Ellis

FA: Jonathan Hankins, Clinton McDonald, Athyba Rubin

I think we are pretty much set at DT. I could see us make a move on a clear upgrade player in FA (like McCoy) or in the draft (Q.Williams), but just as Mayock said we will have 2 2nd year guys (who should make their biggest jump now) and we also have a solid NT in Jelly. Vanderdoes's health could be a wildcard here, I can see him out especially if Hankins returns on a new deal. I could see us targeting a DT in the late rounds in a strong class like this, especially with the inside information they have now with the Senior Bowl week. 


DE: Arden Key, Shilique Calhoun (ERFA)

FA: Jacquise Smith, Frostee Rucker, Kony Ealy

This is clearly our weakest position. Key and Calhoun are young keepers IMO, Key should also have a jump as a 2nd year guy, however I wouldn't expect more than a solid rotational guy from him. Calhoun looked like a solid back up and ST player, before he went down with an injury. This FA group is pretty much gone IMO. We clearly need multiple guys at DE. One of the starters from FA should be a DE and we should bring in a top prospect in the first round too.


LB: Tahir Whitehead, Marquel Lee, Nicholas Morrow, Jason Cabinda (ERFA), Kyle Wilber, James Cowser

I know must here hates Tahir and so did I for the most part of the year. His play however got better in the second half of the season, he even had a pretty solid 5 game run (week 10-14). Coverage is clearly not his strong point, so I hope we move him to SLB after we get a cover WLB. He should get some competition for the starting job, but if we can upgrade the MLB spot, the DE spot and the other OLB spot he could be servicable IMO. Lee showed value as a 2 down guy at SLB. He is a good ST guy and offers good value as a rotational SLB/MLB. Morrow and Cabinda looked solid over all, both of them should be back IMO as depth at WLB and MLB respectively. Wilber is an ST guy first, but see some action as a rush end late in the season. Cowser might stick again till TC. We definately need help at MLB and WLB. I would like to see us landing a veteran MLB to run the defense and add a cover guy via draft.


CB: Gareon Conley, Nick Nelson, Rico Gafford, Montrel Meander, Makinton Dorleant, Tevin Mitchel (ERFA)

FA: Darly Worley (RFA), Rashaan Melvin, Bene Benwikere, Leon Hall, Dexter McDonald

Worley is a no brainer on the RFA tender IMO. Conley played well most of the time and showed #1 potential too. Nick Nelson should benefit from a full offseason and the 2nd year jump should also help him. With that said he looks like a dime CB right now. The chea young guys should be able to compete with the newcomer late rounders, UDFA guy for the last spots, but I would like to see us grab a veteran guy to compete with Worley for that #2 spot, since I wasn't that impressed with him overall. He played solid, he had a few good games, but he was beaten badly a few times too. I would like us to bring in a veteran who could play inside and outside, so we can put out a strong nickel package.


S: Karl Joseph, Dallin Leavitt

FA: Erik Harris (RFA), Marcus Gilchrist, Reggie Nelson

This spot is right there with the LB behind the DE as far as need. Karl showed he can be a solid contributor if/when the scheme and DC hides him a bit (you could say that the DC gives him a role when he can shine) and while I like Harris even on a RFA tender with his ST and rotational S ability, we need more than one player here with starter ability. I think we have to grab a veteran S and then try to pick up a S early in the draft. That would give us a strong trio with Karl and also Harris would be a nice value behind them. 


Guenther has said that he has his prototypes and based on his previous spot with the Bengals we can make some logical links with pending FA's.
Darqueze Dennard is an UFA, who could opt to follow his old DC, since a totally new coaching staff will arrive to Cincy. He would fit our need well too.
George Iloka will be an UFA and probably wants more playing time, then what he got in Minnesota. He was a good starter under PG, so he could be another logical fit.
Anthony Harris will be an UFA too from that Vikings secondray and he played really well for them this year. If they let him walk, we should take a strong look on a young guy, who knows a similar system in and out. If the Vikings keep him, then Andrew Sendejo could be out there and we could check on him. He finished on IR and is 30+, but before the injury he looked just as good as usual.
Anthony Barr could hit the market too from that stacked Vikings D. He could come in and lock the SLB spot and could offer a great blitzing option for us. 

At S I think Haha Clinton-Dix, Landon Collins, Tre Boston, Adrian Phillips, Adrian Amos could all fill the size, prototype box for PG and Earl Thomas is a wildcard for sure.

At LB I think we could look at Jordan Hicks, CJ Mosley, KJ Wright

At DE I think we could look at Graham, Z.Smith, Ansah, Fowler, Golden. I expect Lawrence, Clowney, Ford, Flowers, Clarke and P.Smith to not hit the market.


Obviously we won't be the only team out there on the FA market and it would be unrealistic to expect big name singnings at S, CB, LB, DE especially with our need at WR on the other side of the ball. DE is a must IMO and we should hope that for expamle PG can recruit one or two from his former players.


Brandon Graham, Jordan Hicks, Darqueze Dennard, Anthony Harris/George Iloka along with a WR would make me very happy.





Would look a lot better before the draft, where we could add another pass rusher, a cover LB and maybe a safety too.

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Nice post @Rolni. Iloka makes a lot of sense tbh and we looked at him before he went to the Vikings. 

I have seen a lot of mentions of Ha Ha Clinton Dix, but he wasn’t very good at Redskins and with the Packers happy to let him go I’d be wary of offering too much.

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Regarding the defense, I think you can read into what Mayock is trying to say. He's trying to acquire 2 GOOD starters in FA. I'm assuming he'll go hard at S/DE/LB to get two of the best at those positions, that way he can take a more BPA oriented approach in the draft.

Rolni the FA pickups you mentioned are looking good.

Don't forget that there'll be some cut candidates as well.

Malik Jackson may be cut and I'd be happy to spend on him.


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I'm not sure about Malik Jackson...he was all about money the last time he hit the market and last year he was only a rotational guy. I get the the Jags DL is one of the best, but still...If we bring in a veteran to take away snaps from Hurst and Hall I want a G.McCoy caliber player.

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6 hours ago, Rolni said:


I'm not sure about Malik Jackson...he was all about money the last time he hit the market and last year he was only a rotational guy. I get the the Jags DL is one of the best, but still...If we bring in a veteran to take away snaps from Hurst and Hall I want a G.McCoy caliber player.

Fair point. Jackson had a lot of pressures last year and may be fairly cheap compared to McCoy. Also consider that both guys are quite scheme versatile. I would think of the DL as more of a fluid unit at this point than a determined LDE, RDE, NT and 3 tech.

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6 hours ago, MrOaktown_56 said:

Fair point. Jackson had a lot of pressures last year and may be fairly cheap compared to McCoy. Also consider that both guys are quite scheme versatile. I would think of the DL as more of a fluid unit at this point than a determined LDE, RDE, NT and 3 tech.

I'm still not sure about Guenther and the fluid unit thing.

Last season he moved Hurst a bit to 4-5tech and he used McDonald there too, but that's it. If he gets more quality players he could go either way IMO. He could use them in an even more fixed way, if he has a solid/good player for each spot or he can start to mix and match when he has more solid/good and versatile guys.

The FA and the draft should help us guessing. I mean if we get a guy like Gary who seems like an early down DE, rush down DT we might just see the direction there. If we get a smaller DE, who is EDGE only, then again we can see the direction better IMO.

At DT I would expect Jelly back at 1 tech and Hurst back as the 3 tech guy. Hall would be the main back up IMO and the guy who replaces Jelly on passing situations, so the Hall-Hurst duo would be our pass rushing interior. Obviously an impact FA pick up or early draft selection could change that, but right now I think this might be the plan. There could be a Jelly-Hankins change obviously...Vanderdoes might be able to grab the 4th spot, but I would expect us grabbing a DT in the draft later (if there is no early DT selection) to give him a big challenge. Maybe one of the Senior Bowl DTs...

At DE we need a veteran and a top rookie and maybe another one later on to battle Calhoun for the final spot. It will be interesting to see, where we go in FA. Will we bring in a bigger DE, the likes of Dunlap, Johnson or a smaller, quicker guy...Brandon Graham seems like a good fit if we go with the smaller DE. Ezekiel Ansah could be an interesting wild card IMO. He had some injuries, so his price should be low, but from a fit perspective I think he is a prototype PG DE. Has the size, the power and can play the pass and the run. There would be an injury risk with him for sure, but the reward could be big too. 


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Another excellent post Rolni!

Like the thoughtful FA targets and we do have to be realistic in who we project to bring in.

With that said, I'd definitely target a DE, maybe a well rounded DE rather than the flashy pass rusher like Lawrence, Ford or Clarke as they will command a Kings ransom. Flowers would be my top choice but if he gets resigned I'd look at a guy like Z Smith or maybe a guy like Robert Quinn could be cut and we could pick him up in the rotation. Howie's boy I'd also look at as a 1 year stop gap as I'm sure we'll draft a DE too and he could stand to learn a lot from a guy like Chris Long.

At LB it was said often by better football brains than mine before the season that Whitehead might struggle in coverage and whilst he wasn't terrible (IMO) he's probably getting paid too much for what he brings. The coaches seem to like him so I'm sure he stays but I'd look to go with the young guys Morrow, Cabinda and Lee and add a vet like Avery Williamson to the mix with a couple rookies. I'd also add Jake Ryan as I think he could be a steal after his injury and was developing nicely.

At CB I'd probably be the rarity in that I think I'd bring back Worley and Melvin and I'd also think about Hall too, I thought he did pretty well, is a well respected vet who is familiar with the DC and when the team was at it's worst he still played with heart and commitment - unless he retires of course. Conley looks like a bona fide shut down CB to me and while I'd like to try and upgrade overall with so many holes I'd be prepared to leave that and trust that the improvements in the front 7 helped the secondary as a whole.

At safety I'd roll with Joseph and Harris and look to bring in a rookie or two but my big ticket FA would be Earl Thomas, he could have a Charles Woodson like effect galvanising the entire secondary for a couple years and he may not be that expensive given his age and recent injuries. Gilchrist I'd like to retain but only at a much discounted rate.

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