Our defense appeared to have gotten a major overhaul this past offseason. Switch to a 4-3, Mayo moving to OLB, Addition of Haynesworth next to wilfork, shaun ellis, the emergence of Dane Fletcher, etc. I can talk about players, but the biggest addition is our scheme.
With plenty of defensive lineman on the roster, barring any future additions (lol), its clear that we cannot expect haynesworth to be in a whole lot. There will be plenty of rotations along our DL, depending on certain situations of course. Kyle Love looks to be the main key here, as he is our most capable DT backup we have. We should expect to see him in the game more than haynesworth since it appears Haynesworth runs out of breath fairly quick, and we need to be in top shape in games. Love will likely sub in for both the DT roles, as well as Gerard Warren, and Myron Pryor, and now even Ron Brace since it will be in his natural position.
At DE, we are looking at some great additions. Andre Carter and Shaun Ellis both showed they can be solid 4-3 End with us next to wilfork and haynes. We have Wright, Cunningham, Mark Anderson, and possibly deadrick as solid fill ins in passing, and running situations.
In terms of our front 4, we provide a very versatile group of DL that can be used in almost any given situation and matchups.
At LB, We have Mayo, Spikes, Ninkonvich, Fletcher, and Guyton. In the 4-3, I projected to have Mayo and Fletcher on the outside, with Spikes in the middle to add to that tough interior. I expect Ninko and Guyton to sub out spikes and fletcher on passing downs (that would be, from left to right, Mayo-Guyton-Nink). Again, as you can see, our LB core has enough versatility for both the passing, and rushing downs.
In the Secondary, we have All-Pro CB McCourty, Bodden, and Ras-I as our main 3 CBs. I see this as a solid secondary that has tremendous potential in our defense. McCourty and Bodden are both #1 CB candidates, and can rotate on either side of the field. Both are solid man coverage corners, who both can be depended on more than likely. Ras-I is a tall corner who is said to have smooth hips, and was projected as a first rounder before his multiple injuries. When healthy, he should be able to lock down that slot corner spot, that can also do well against TEs than most slot CBs in the league. I like how our CB unit is this year.
With the safety position, meri is gone, which leaves Barret, Chung, Brown, and idenghigo (or however you spell it). In my opinion, Barret will get the start, as he most impressed me with his great tackling ability and instincts last game. Our safety crop may have trouble against the pass, and this is by far the most concerning position on the defense (both with question marks, and depth wise).
Potentially, our defense can do so much. The pass rush should be much more improved with Mayo on the outside, and the addition of Haynes, Ellis, Andre Carter, and Mark Anderson. Spikes and Fletcher should surprise many this year, and our secondary is overall solid. I would expect TEs to be our weakness yet again, but that should go for the rest of the league as well, because TEs are not that easy to cover. Potentially, we should have a top 10 defense this year, and I am excited to see what they can do come week 1.