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
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.
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.
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.
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!