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2019 RDT

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Eric Weddle OUT - Earl Thomas IN

CJ Mosley OUT - Kenny Young IN

Terrell Suggs OUT - Tim Williams IN

Za'Darius Smith OUT - Tyus Bowser IN

Big changes for one of the league's top units.

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I've seen some varying opinions about the state of Baltimore's defense around the web. Most, as expected, are bemoaning the fact that the team has lost (well, jettisoned one) four starters from last year's dominant squad. Fewer, like many of us that watch the team, are actually excited about the changes and think the defense is on the brink of evolution because of them.

What does everybody think? I'm definitely in the latter group. The only thing I'm really worried about is losing all those voices on that side of the ball, but bringing in someone like Thomas helps a ton. Fewer cooks in the kitchen can be a good thing too, especially when big changes like this are happening. I'm so, so looking forward to have a defense with enough speed and range to cover side-to-side as well as downfield. It's been a while.

If the off-ball linebacker group ends up being a rotation of Young, Onwuasor, and Levine I can hardly wait for the season to start. That's what a modern defense needs to look like. Even if you're going up against a run-heavy attack like the Ravens are going to use. Speed and range kills. There's enough beef on the line to keep the smaller guys behind them clean. Let them be able to flow to the ball. Profit. 

The upgrade from Thomas to Weddle hardly needs to be mentioned. That's a huge positive leap. And the rest of the secondary is just plain nasty. Besides Jefferson. I have my doubts about him looking much better even in what should be a more palatable role. Why? Because I still think he will be played more like a true safety and less in-box than we'd like. I'll believe it when I see it in that case. But hey, if he struggles I think there's a good chance Clark starts taking more snaps. He's earned them and is losing the prospect/young guy tag.

The edge play is probably the biggest question at this point. Losing Suggs' ability to set the edge isn't good and nobody on the roster really replaces that. Nor does any of the current pass-rushers look to have to inside-out/on-line versatility that Smith has. But Williams and Bowser flat-out have the potential to be way more dangerous coming off the edge. Tim has already shown that in limited snaps, and Tyus has too in even more limited snaps. Someone else is going to be added there for more depth. Judon is solid, not spectacular overall and that's fine. A necessary component when taking a chance on two, maybe three, other guys in the rotation that haven't played much.

Yeah, I like what DeCosta is doing here.

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4 hours ago, coordinator0 said:

But hey, if he struggles I think there's a good chance Clark starts taking more snaps.

gimme Elliot in that spot, he is the future SS for this team imo.

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When we got beat on defense last year it was usually by our inability to cover Tight Ends, severe mismatches(usually a WR on Mosley), and breakdowns or busted plays on the back end. 

Even the most conservative projection of our defense going forward, would indicate all of those issues have been remedied to a significant degree. 

1. Wink is going into Year 2- We only had a few weak spots on defense. Wink will be able to focus on them and should employ significantly more effective strats throughout the season to counter them. We also had a few kinks in our rotations in year 1 under Wink, and I believe those will be improved as well. He'll just be more effective overall. Something that can't be understated. 

2. Earl Thomas- Thomas' impact will be incredible. Earl will erase mistakes, such as breakdowns or a beat defender. He has the instincts, range, and ball skills to make frequent plays on the football. And he's a great open field tackler. He isn't just a band aid for so many of our middle of the field defensive issues, he's a counter to them. 

3. Kenny Young/Tyus Bowser Coverage Upgrade- No. I don't think Kenny & Tyus are perfect players, or even players that don't have significant improvements needed. I'm 100% sure both of them are massive coverage upgrades to the MIKE and SAM spot within our defense though. Both can stay in phase with TEs and HBs, and I've legit seen Kenny carry a WR down the field before. They easily shade passing lanes. And if a team tries to play small ball, their speed will cause OCs to change their strategies- quickly. 

 

I'm going to say this right now too. Kenny Young will lead all off ball LBs in pressures. When I watch the All-22, he just jumps off the screen as a blitz piece, it's incredible. You need modern LBs to do 3 things. Run-Cover-Blitz. Kenny is better than CJ at all 3, so tell me how we downgraded? 

Thank you Ozzie-

 

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It seems to me that Peanut had developed into our best blitzing backer by season’s end. He was completely creating havoc from the inside. He’s not as new, but he definitely is someone that I expect to be an absolute terror, especially given the fact that he’ll be going into his contract season, thus I can’t see him not balling out.

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I honestly believe, that some of the plays that types like Suggs, Mosley and Weddle "prevented" are some which can be replaced by plays made because of athleticism. If Suggs anticipated a screen, he would hold his position to blow it up, while a player like Judon could either provide pressure faster to force a badly thrown ball, or he could flip his hips and get to the carrier fast.

Williams would be in the same mold, while an Earl Thomas doesn't have to disguise a lot of plays. We can put 7 guys at the line of scrimmage with corners on the outside and Earl in the back and let the rest create the confusion, because the QB knows, that the big hole in the middle between Earl and the front is already covered by a rangy safety.

For as cerebral he is and an obvious great linebacker, behind the line we put out there, most linebackers have succeeded, and only Peanut has struggled. Kenny Young might need to figure out to cover better in zone, but he is fast fast fast and can get there in time, which Mosley couldn't and it seems we finally figured out how to use Peanut to his strengths.

We have questions, but also possibilities and opportunities. The biggest is imo at outside linebacker, where I am one of those who don't think our coaches are some evil people keeping a collar on Tim Williams, but on the contrary that he still does some things that doesn't sit right with them. I could believe it is the Jachai Polite mentality with Williams, but thats only a guess.

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Something tells me that whatever got Tim in the doghouse, won't be as big of an issue for Harbaugh this season lol. We don't have a surplus of talent at the position anymore. So John can't play his perfect little soldier game. Now that he needs Tim Williams, everything should be copasetic. 

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We didn't see this stuff year 1 from Tim. Every reason to believe he'll be even more improved in Year 3. Especially considering his increase in practice reps, with Suggs and ZDS gone. Same goes for all the other young players on our defense too. Development should be accelerated. Tyus Bowser is still younger than some of the EDGE players in the coming draft. We could see an incredible leap from him, and I hope we do.

 

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