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Is Lack of Secondary Depth that Different from Years Past?


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#1 acranfor

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:33 PM

I decided to make a new thread. Moderators can combine with another if they feel necessary:

 

Is our "lack of secondary depth" that much different from years past??

 

This has obviously been the big worry among fans this off-season, including myself. BUT being the optimistic type that I am, I decided to look a little deeper at our past situations:

 

2011 (AFC North Champ Game)

FS - Ed Reed, Nakamura

SS - Pollard, Zibikowski, Cook

CB - Webb, Williams, Carr, Smith, Brown, Gorrer

 

2012 (Super Bowl Champs)

FS - Ed Reed, Considine, Brown

SS - Pollard, Inhedigbo

CB - Williams, Graham, Smith, Brown, Jackson, Johnson, (Webb injured)

 

2013 (Missed Playoffs)

FS - Elam, Trawick, Brown

SS - Inhedigbo, Miles, Levine

CB - Webb, Smith, Graham, Brown, Jackson

 

2014 (TBD)

FS - Stewart, Brooks, Hill

SS - Elam, Miles, Levine

CB - Webb, Smith, Jackson, Brown, Franks

 

Lets compare this year's projected roster (IMO) to our 2 most successful years - 2011 & 2012.

 

Free Safety

2011 & 2012 Ed Reed was far from his best year, BUT I would still take him over Stewart. Although, 'IF' Will Hill comes back as the real deal, he could be better than 2011 and 2012 Ed Reed. However, the depth behind Reed for 2011 and 2012 was non-existent. I think our depth now is superior for this position.

 

Overall conclusion: FS had a better starter in 2011 & 2012, but depth in 2014 is superior.

 

Strong Safety

I loved Pollard in 2011 & 2012. He played like a Raven, BUT he was a liability in coverage. I truly believe Elam will be better than Pollard this year. As for depth, I would say it is a draw. Special team guys who are average at best for all 3 years (yes I know Inhedigbo was a starter in 2013 but I think we could find a comparable backup this year if we had to between Miles, Levine, Hill, Brooks at SS).

 

Overall conclusion: SS has better starter in 2014, depth is about the same.

 

Corner Back

Now this is the area everyone is quivering over. Look at 2011, our best defensive year. We had Webb, Williams, & Carr. Smith was injured and still transitioning, Brown was worse than he is now (ouch), and Gorrer was a ST guy. I truly believe our CB rotation and depth will be better now than it was then. Webb 2011 >/= Webb 2014, Smith 2014 > Williams 2011, Jackson 2014 >/= Carr 2011, Brown/Franks 2014 >/= Smith/Brown 2011.

 

How about 2012? 2014 Webb and Smith is better than 2012 Williams and Graham. Jackson 2014 and Smith 2012 are maybe equivalent or slight edge to Smith. Brown now is better than he was in 2012. I would still give the edge for rotation and depth to 2014!!

 

Overall conclusion: CB has better starters in 2014, and slightly better depth.

 

Overall, sorry for the length, but when you really break it down from year to year, we are in better shape now than we were the past 3 years. I think what you realize, is that depth is ALWAYS going to be an issue. Sure, if one of our top 3 goes down, we will be a little hurt, but that has been the case for every year...AND EVERY TEAM! Pro Bowl depth just does not exist...it is an unrealistic expectation.

 

Side note, some people may say that our depth was superior in 2012 BEFORE Webb went down. But remember, The only proven guys were Williams and Webb. Graham was a no-name ST guy and Smith was a sophomore with little playing time. On paper this looks good now, but at the time it was far more frightening than now. Lets have faith that Asa will be as good, if not better than Graham.

 

Let me know your thoughts. Go Ravens!


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#2 GrimCoconut

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:54 PM

I like your thought but it's far too myopic, IMO. You say 2011 was our best year. Yeah, let's evaluate that for a moment. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis ensured that communication was top notch in that defense. That's a huge deal. Next, we had Ed Reed at FS who was still relatively feared by QBs. We had DPOY Terrell "The Freak" Suggs who had 14 sacks and 6 passes defended and 2 interceptions with 7 forced fumbles. That's ridiculous. That isn't even counting the pressures he provided, which rushes QBs to throw quicker than normal. Paul Kruger had 5.5 sacks as well that year and 2 PD himself to complement Suggs with McPhee accounting for 6 sacks and 2 PD and 1 FF as well to his credit. That's ridiculous pass rush complementing Suggs to rush the passer and to reduce the time the secondary needs to cover. Our secondary was better in 2012 despite Ed Reed being older and a bit broken. Let's not forget Cory Redding with 4.5 sacks and 2 PD, a younger Haloti Ngata with 5 sacks, 5 PD, and  2 FF. Oh yeah, and we had Chuck Pagano running the defense. Yeah..that's a big recipe for success. 

 

Nakamura and Zbikowski were role players on ST. Ed Reed was, like, never pulled. As for your comment about the 2012 CB corps, by the time that Webb went down we were seeing good things from both Jimmy and Graham. I get your point, but I don't feel it's entirely correct when compared to what happened at the time. 

 

Our CB corps is definitely better than last year, but it's still not that good. The best part about our secondary is we have three starters who are the same in Elam, Smith and Webb. Granted, Elam is returning to SS but that shouldn't be an issue on paper. That leaves questions at FS and slot CB as well as depth. No, our CB situation isn't entirely awful and our secondary should perform well as long as the DL and OLB put pressure on the QB and we have creative schemes from Pees. This will mask a weak or possibly susceptible secondary. I like our pass rushers with Suggs, McPhee and Dumervil as well as our interior rushers in Williams, Tyson, Ngata and Canty with even Brown and Smith in the mix. I am worried about our DL, though, because we really need to stop the run. That's an area where I am concerned more than anything. It's why I'd like to see formations such as this quite a bit: 

 

Dumervil | Williams | Ngata | Suggs

Smith | Mosley | Brown

 

Rotate Upshaw with Dumervil and Daryl and even at interior DT and use McPhee behind Suggs and Dumervil to keep both fresh. 


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#3 dontbnvus

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:55 PM

Good post.... I like your logic !


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#4 The Raven

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:59 PM

I honestly think that, talent for talent, our starting secondary can be as good as it was in the Super Bowl. I think our safety depth is better than it was. But our CB depth, I think, is comparable but not quite as good. I think that we'll be fine if Chykie and Asa develop the way I think they could. I have confidence in Asa, but I'm less confident in Chykie. Much like Jimmy, Chykie is best in press man, but he's not good at looking for the ball. That could be a problem, but he's pretty decent for a #4 corner. 

 

I feel like I'm rambling at this point so, to put it simply: I'm worried about our cornerback depth, but I think they have potential. Also, having two good safeties can cover up shaky corners, especially in Pees' scheme. 

 

Also, as Grim noted, our defensive line depth is horrible and might force us into a shift to more 4-3 sets. 


Edited by The Raven, 14 August 2014 - 01:00 PM.

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#5 acranfor

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:02 PM

I like your thought but it's far too myopic, IMO. You say 2011 was our best year. Yeah, let's evaluate that for a moment. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis ensured that communication was top notch in that defense. That's a huge deal. Next, we had Ed Reed at FS who was still relatively feared by QBs. We had DPOY Terrell "The Freak" Suggs who had 14 sacks and 6 passes defended and 2 interceptions with 7 forced fumbles. That's ridiculous. That isn't even counting the pressures he provided, which rushes QBs to throw quicker than normal. Paul Kruger had 5.5 sacks as well that year and 2 PD himself to complement Suggs with McPhee accounting for 6 sacks and 2 PD and 1 FF as well to his credit. That's ridiculous pass rush complementing Suggs to rush the passer and to reduce the time the secondary needs to cover. Our secondary was better in 2012 despite Ed Reed being older and a bit broken. Let's not forget Cory Redding with 4.5 sacks and 2 PD, a younger Haloti Ngata with 5 sacks, 5 PD, and  2 FF. Oh yeah, and we had Chuck Pagano running the defense. Yeah..that's a big recipe for success. 

 

Nakamura and Zbikowski were role players on ST. Ed Reed was, like, never pulled. As for your comment about the 2012 CB corps, by the time that Webb went down we were seeing good things from both Jimmy and Graham. I get your point, but I don't feel it's entirely correct when compared to what happened at the time. 

 

Our CB corps is definitely better than last year, but it's still not that good. The best part about our secondary is we have three starters who are the same in Elam, Smith and Webb. Granted, Elam is returning to SS but that shouldn't be an issue on paper. That leaves questions at FS and slot CB as well as depth. No, our CB situation isn't entirely awful and our secondary should perform well as long as the DL and OLB put pressure on the QB and we have creative schemes from Pees. This will mask a weak or possibly susceptible secondary. I like our pass rushers with Suggs, McPhee and Dumervil as well as our interior rushers in Williams, Tyson, Ngata and Canty with even Brown and Smith in the mix. I am worried about our DL, though, because we really need to stop the run. That's an area where I am concerned more than anything. It's why I'd like to see formations such as this quite a bit: 

 

Dumervil | Williams | Ngata | Suggs

Smith | Mosley | Brown

 

Rotate Upshaw with Dumervil and Daryl and even at interior DT and use McPhee behind Suggs and Dumervil to keep both fresh. 

Yes, those are all good observations. My overall point is that depth has always been an issue and will always be an issue at a position (CB) where you need to find 3-4 quality contributors on a 53 man roster. My intention was just to let people know that it is not any more or any less of an issue than years past - no need to panic!

 

I really hope we can get back to that 2011 disruption in the front.


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#6 acranfor

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:06 PM

Not to get too far from the topic, but Re: stopping the run - I do not actually think this was a problem with our DL as much as with our ILBs. I think our DL is more than adequate and has enough depth to be good if not great this year. What we lacked last year were ILBs that could read and attack the runner once the DL ate up blockers. I am not a fan of Daryl Smith to be honest. We need a MIKE who can dissect and stop the run first and foremost.


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#7 GrimCoconut

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:07 PM

I honestly think that, talent for talent, our starting secondary can be as good as it was in the Super Bowl. I think our safety depth is better than it was. But our CB depth, I think, is comparable but not quite as good. I think that we'll be fine if Chykie and Asa develop the way I think they could. I have confidence in Asa, but I'm less confident in Chykie. Much like Jimmy, Chykie is best in press man, but he's not good at looking for the ball. That could be a problem, but he's pretty decent for a #4 corner. 

 

I feel like I'm rambling at this point so, to put it simply: I'm worried about our cornerback depth, but I think they have potential. Also, having two good safeties can cover up shaky corners, especially in Pees' scheme. 

 

Also, as Grim noted, our defensive line depth is horrible and might force us into a shift to more 4-3 sets. 

Surprisingly, I don't think our DL depth is horrible. I actually have issues with the DL starters of all players. Canty and Ngata played a big part in our inability to stop the run like years past last year. I'm not worried about our pass rush as much as our run stopping ability. This is where I am very concerned. I'm really hopeful that Tyson, Williams, Ngata and Canty can actually stop the run this year now that Arthur Jones is gone. He was a good run-stopping DT with underrated pass rush. 


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#8 GrimCoconut

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:10 PM

Yes, those are all good observations. My overall point is that depth has always been an issue and will always be an issue at a position (CB) where you need to find 3-4 quality contributors on a 53 man roster. My intention was just to let people know that it is not any more or any less of an issue than years past - no need to panic!

 

I really hope we can get back to that 2011 disruption in the front.

 

Not to get too far from the topic, but Re: stopping the run - I do not actually think this was a problem with our DL as much as with our ILBs. I think our DL is more than adequate and has enough depth to be good if not great this year. What we lacked last year were ILBs that could read and attack the runner once the DL ate up blockers. I am not a fan of Daryl Smith to be honest. We need a MIKE who can dissect and stop the run first and foremost.

I think CB depth wouldn't be seen as much of a concern if we drafted one. Lol. Or at least took a guy like Desir. 

 

The DL is absolutely responsible for that last year. There's no two ways about it. The DL is supposed to dominate the LOS and by doing that stop the run and rush the passer by shutting down the OL. The ILBs played a role, no question, but it is not squarely on their shoulders. Not in the least. Haloti Ngata and Canty were getting beat at times and allowing large space for big gains by RBs. That's not on the LBs. 


Edited by GrimCoconut, 14 August 2014 - 01:11 PM.

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#9 The Raven

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:12 PM

Surprisingly, I don't think our DL depth is horrible. I actually have issues with the DL starters of all players. Canty and Ngata played a big part in our inability to stop the run like years past last year. I'm not worried about our pass rush as much as our run stopping ability. This is where I am very concerned. I'm really hopeful that Tyson, Williams, Ngata and Canty can actually stop the run this year now that Arthur Jones is gone. He was a good run-stopping DT with underrated pass rush. 

 

My fear is not the inability of the depth, but rather the lack of 3-4 type players who can stop the run. I know everyone loves Jernigan, and I do too, but I saw him get driven back a lot last week. He's not big and strong enough to stop the run yet. While Tyson is strong, I don't think he fits in as a two gapper. He can stop the run alright but he's not quite big/strong enough. I'm concerned about the lack of players that fit our traditional scheme. And yeah, valid points also about Canty and Ngata. Canty was horrible in some games last year and Ngata showed a clear lack of effort sometimes. 


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#10 berad

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:16 PM

Safeties are as deep as they've ever been. Not known in terms of talent - a lot of these guys are still unproven - but in terms of quality players who are worth having on them team. We've got 7 on the team and you could make a legitimate case for all of them to be on the 53 (Will Hill will be by default because of the suspension)

 

CB is mirkier. Webb, Smith, Jackson, and Brown are all locks. Jackson and Brown are still fighting for the third CB job but Asa is in the lead at the moment. Players like Franks, Olatoye, Jacobs, etc are all competing and have generated press for themselves with their play. Seamster and Norman are still around and have a shot. 9 corners in total.

 

Here's how I see the positions at this moment.

 

S - Elam, Stewart, Brooks, Miles, Trawick, Will Hill*

 

Levine and Brown are bubble players. I left Levine off but because of his ST experience he could make the squad with some solid game performance. Especially with Brooks spending time in nickle situations, we could carry a 6th (7th*) safety on the 53. Someone would be cut/injured by the end of Hill's suspension.

 

CB - Webb, Smith, Jackson, Brown, Franks, Jacobs.

 

Six corners, the other guys have a shot to replace Franks/Jacobs with their performances. It's really up in the air but Franks and Jacobs lead the pack in my mind.

 

The real sticking point for me when I think about this years secondary is the third CB position. Corey Graham was invaluable because he could play outside and slot and was well-versed in the defense as well as having veteran experience. Maybe Jackson develops into that, maybe Franks already is that, don't know.


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#11 GrimCoconut

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:30 PM

Safeties are as deep as they've ever been. Not known in terms of talent - a lot of these guys are still unproven - but in terms of quality players who are worth having on them team. We've got 7 on the team and you could make a legitimate case for all of them to be on the 53 (Will Hill will be by default because of the suspension)

 

CB is mirkier. Webb, Smith, Jackson, and Brown are all locks. Jackson and Brown are still fighting for the third CB job but Asa is in the lead at the moment. Players like Franks, Olatoye, Jacobs, etc are all competing and have generated press for themselves with their play. Seamster and Norman are still around and have a shot. 9 corners in total.

 

Here's how I see the positions at this moment.

 

S - Elam, Stewart, Brooks, Miles, Trawick, Will Hill*

 

Levine and Brown are bubble players. I left Levine off but because of his ST experience he could make the squad with some solid game performance. Especially with Brooks spending time in nickle situations, we could carry a 6th (7th*) safety on the 53. Someone would be cut/injured by the end of Hill's suspension.

 

CB - Webb, Smith, Jackson, Brown, Franks, Jacobs.

 

Six corners, the other guys have a shot to replace Franks/Jacobs with their performances. It's really up in the air but Franks and Jacobs lead the pack in my mind.

 

The real sticking point for me when I think about this years secondary is the third CB position. Corey Graham was invaluable because he could play outside and slot and was well-versed in the defense as well as having veteran experience. Maybe Jackson develops into that, maybe Franks already is that, don't know.

Yeah, FWIW, I think Jackson is that player. I really do. I think he can play anywhere--inside or outside. Other than that, I disagree in a few areas with this. Specifically, you have us carrying 11 secondary players. Now, it could happen, but that's a lot. I definitely agree with the ones I placed in bold. I'm not sure Brown is a lock as you think. I did at a point, but I'm not so confident after his struggles and our recent experiments with safeties playing CB--specifically, safeties who are also good on ST. It seems like we could be looking at using safeties good on ST to fill CB roles for the team for versatility. I do agree with you, that Franks and Jacobs lead the pack out of the other CBs. I think those two have a really good chance to make this team, with Brown possibly being left on the outside looking in. 


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#12 acranfor

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:31 PM

I think CB depth wouldn't be seen as much of a concern if we drafted one. Lol. Or at least took a guy like Desir. 

 

The DL is absolutely responsible for that last year. There's no two ways about it. The DL is supposed to dominate the LOS and by doing that stop the run and rush the passer by shutting down the OL. The ILBs played a role, no question, but it is not squarely on their shoulders. Not in the least. Haloti Ngata and Canty were getting beat at times and allowing large space for big gains by RBs. That's not on the LBs. 

 

Wait, wait, wait; I never said the DL was not responsible. I was just trying to say the ILBs played a big role in our inability to stop the run. We missed Ray in our run D for sure - ILB pass coverage was better. I totally agree that Canty is a huge weak point. I am not a fan of his. Hopefully using Williams at the shade and moving Ngata to the 3 will help.

 

My fear is not the inability of the depth, but rather the lack of 3-4 type players who can stop the run. I know everyone loves Jernigan, and I do too, but I saw him get driven back a lot last week. He's not big and strong enough to stop the run yet. While Tyson is strong, I don't think he fits in as a two gapper. He can stop the run alright but he's not quite big/strong enough. I'm concerned about the lack of players that fit our traditional scheme. And yeah, valid points also about Canty and Ngata. Canty was horrible in some games last year and Ngata showed a clear lack of effort sometimes. 

I honestly think Jernigan is a perfect fit as a 3tech 3-4 DT. As for not being strong enough, I cannot dispute that. We shall see. Again, I agree with Canty. Hopefully someone steps up.


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#13 acranfor

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:34 PM

Safeties are as deep as they've ever been. Not known in terms of talent - a lot of these guys are still unproven - but in terms of quality players who are worth having on them team. We've got 7 on the team and you could make a legitimate case for all of them to be on the 53 (Will Hill will be by default because of the suspension)

 

CB is mirkier. Webb, Smith, Jackson, and Brown are all locks. Jackson and Brown are still fighting for the third CB job but Asa is in the lead at the moment. Players like Franks, Olatoye, Jacobs, etc are all competing and have generated press for themselves with their play. Seamster and Norman are still around and have a shot. 9 corners in total.

 

Here's how I see the positions at this moment.

 

S - Elam, Stewart, Brooks, Miles, Trawick, Will Hill*

 

Levine and Brown are bubble players. I left Levine off but because of his ST experience he could make the squad with some solid game performance. Especially with Brooks spending time in nickle situations, we could carry a 6th (7th*) safety on the 53. Someone would be cut/injured by the end of Hill's suspension.

 

CB - Webb, Smith, Jackson, Brown, Franks, Jacobs.

 

Six corners, the other guys have a shot to replace Franks/Jacobs with their performances. It's really up in the air but Franks and Jacobs lead the pack in my mind.

 

The real sticking point for me when I think about this years secondary is the third CB position. Corey Graham was invaluable because he could play outside and slot and was well-versed in the defense as well as having veteran experience. Maybe Jackson develops into that, maybe Franks already is that, don't know.

Yes, everyone loved Graham, but remember he was an unproven CB when he came to the Ravens. No reason someone can't be that next guy, as you talked about.


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#14 GrimCoconut

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:38 PM

Wait, wait, wait; I never said the DL was not responsible. I was just trying to say the ILBs played a big role in our inability to stop the run. We missed Ray in our run D for sure - ILB pass coverage was better. I totally agree that Canty is a huge weak point. I am not a fan of his. Hopefully using Williams at the shade and moving Ngata to the 3 will help.

 

I honestly think Jernigan is a perfect fit as a 3tech 3-4 DT. As for not being strong enough, I cannot dispute that. We shall see. Again, I agree with Canty. Hopefully someone steps up.

Okay. ILB was responsible for sure. Daryl was a tackling machine but I don't recall him racking up TFL. Ray would help with his instincts and big hitting play. I like Jernigan quite a bit here. Really excited for him. I think he could be a great player and he kinda reminds me of Richardson from last year. 


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#15 GrimCoconut

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:40 PM

Yes, everyone loved Graham, but remember he was an unproven CB when he came to the Ravens. No reason someone can't be that next guy, as you talked about.

This isn't entirely true. 

 

http://articles.chic...ree-agent-visit

 

Granted, he isn't proven but he did play in three games and showed quite a bit of promise coming up with INTs in those games, like he showed here. But as stated, he wasn't entirely raw, either. He had some success and had seen some experience on defense. 


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#16 berad

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 01:51 PM

Yeah, FWIW, I think Jackson is that player. I really do. I think he can play anywhere--inside or outside. Other than that, I disagree in a few areas with this. Specifically, you have us carrying 11 secondary players. Now, it could happen, but that's a lot. I definitely agree with the ones I placed in bold. I'm not sure Brown is a lock as you think. I did at a point, but I'm not so confident after his struggles and our recent experiments with safeties playing CB--specifically, safeties who are also good on ST. It seems like we could be looking at using safeties good on ST to fill CB roles for the team for versatility. I do agree with you, that Franks and Jacobs lead the pack out of the other CBs. I think those two have a really good chance to make this team, with Brown possibly being left on the outside looking in. 

 

We held 11 in 2012 so it's not out of the question but I agree that it's a lot. You could probably chop off Trawick or Jacobs (more likely Jacobs, imo) but those players have produced. Practice squad candidates, I guess.

 

Brown, despite being very unimpressive, sticks around again I think. He's got game experience and familiarity with the staff, including being one of Newsome's favorites and a pretty good ST gunner. I, begrudgingly, think he's safe.


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#17 redrum52

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 02:32 PM

Nope.  Webb still isn't playing, I trust Asa, and regardless of how Chykie looks now, he's been a capable back up until now.  TC is still going on and there is plenty of time for a move to be made.  If there is one position I've learned to trust Ozzie with recently, since the Foxworth mulligan I'll give him, it's db.  I would like a more set answer for what's happening at FS, but I think that's Will Hill's job to lose when off of suspension, if no else puts a strangle hold on that spot.


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#18 GrimCoconut

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 03:05 PM

We held 11 in 2012 so it's not out of the question but I agree that it's a lot. You could probably chop off Trawick or Jacobs (more likely Jacobs, imo) but those players have produced. Practice squad candidates, I guess.

Brown, despite being very unimpressive, sticks around again I think. He's got game experience and familiarity with the staff, including being one of Newsome's favorites and a pretty good ST gunner. I, begrudgingly, think he's safe.

Brown could. I definitely think he has a really good chance but I don't think he's a lock. He is a good gunner and I do recall him doing well on ST. I think it comes down between him and Levine, actually. I think Trawick sticks around.
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#19 RaineV1

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 07:42 PM

I think the difference is, there was more trust in the starting group. The idea was, if one went down, you still had three really good starters. If a corner went down, we knew that we still had Ed helping out in the back. Or if Ed went down, we had good starting corners that wouldn't need as much safety help. Now we have a largely unproven starting free safety, a young SS just starting to come into his own, and two really good corners. If a corner goes down, there is no confidence that the free safety will be able to help cover up that weakness.


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#20 gabefergy

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 07:57 PM

I think the real issue is at CB. We have had at least 3 proven guys at CB every year. This year, I would say that we have 2. I have faith in Asa, but he has yet to see the field in the regular season. Chykie has played meaningful snaps, but he has not played well.

 

It's definitely an area of concern.


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