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Article Eric DeCosta: Why his tenure needs to start with a defensive overhaul.

Discussion in 'PurpleFlock News' started by Lost_In_The_Sauce, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. One of the many things that I have been wrong about in my time as a writer were my concerns about Don Martindale. I was worried that his style of defensive coordinating would be outdated in the modern NFL. The blitz-heavy, over-aggressive, defense was the downfall of the Ryan brothers, and I was worried that our defense would be similar. I am glad to be wrong. Martindale had his hiccups in 2018, but proved to be a student of the game, and adapt quickly. For the first time in almost a decade we have a coordinator that I am extremely confident in. I believed that Dean Pees got a bad rap from the fans, and Martindale proved me wrong. Pees was holding the defense back in a lot of ways.

    Don Martindale is a defensive genius. The defense had no business being as good as it was, and we need to take this offseason to build it. Because if we do, this team could have a bye week in the postseason this coming season.

    I overhyped the defense quite a bit in 2018 and believed it would be an elite unit regardless of who the defensive coordinator was. However, Martindale showed me that he can get more out of less. Don’t get me wrong, the defense we have doesn’t lack talent, and other than Chicago’s I’d argue that our defense is the most complete in the game. Personnel wise, our only “weakness” would be at the second inside linebacker position, which is going to be fine given the young talent we have. The secondary is among the best in the game, but the free safety position is likely to change due to a probable release of Eric Weddle.

    You have all heard me complain about the offensive line. It’s well-document and needs little say in this article, but with a rookie quarterback it is imperative that we build the trenches with the identity we have established on the offense. Eric DeCosta has a tough, but doable task ahead of him. He must tailor the defense to Don Martindale’s liking. He’s a genius and can make something out of nothing, but it’d be far more significant if we gave him something.

    Pass Rushers

    We have some nice young talent in the front seven, but our depth is about to take a hit with Suggs and Smith possibly leaving. Onto of this Judon is wildly inconsistent and Bowser and Williams have yet to prove themselves. We run a heavy rotation and we blitz more than any other team in the league. This includes have pedestrian pass rushers on the defensive line. The defense is going to be good regardless.. The caveat to this is that there are quality options in both the draft and free agency we could take to not only bolster the depth but add more talent in general. Whether it be under-utilized talents like Shaq Barrett from Denver, who racked up copious amounts of pressures, or underrated commodities like Preston Smith, or even a doubted former Arizona Cardinal who had a double digit sack two years ago, but has been hampered by injuries and needs a chance to prove himself such as Markus Golden, there’s several options in free agency that at worst, could be valuable pieces in a heavy rotation to keep the defense fresh and quarterbacks scared. Given previous strategies implemented by front sevens, I would also not be surprised if an older, but still capable cap causality such as Gerald McCoy was to be signed in Baltimore in 2019. Just one of these guys would be an under-the radar, but high-level contributor. We have good depth, yes, but these guys could instantly step in and be quality starters from the get-go. I believe we need to use our capital to acquire multiple players. Similarly, the draft has a lot of talent in the front seven on both the defensive line.

    The Secondary

    Eric DeCosta, the secondary is elite, even with Weddle likely becoming a cap casualty. Do not touch it. Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr make for valuable players on this defense and will only make the lives of the pass rush that much easier. Marlon and Tavon are two of the best draft picks we have had in well over a decade and are going to be staples moving forward. Tony Jefferson unfairly gets lambasted by the fanbase. The one thing that needs to be done here is to find a new free safety, and free agency has nothing short of a lush crop. Bigger names such as Earl Thomas, Landon Collins are primed to hit the market, but smaller and more underrated names such as Adrian Amos, Lamarcus Joyner, Haha Clinton-Dix, Tre Boston, and the recently released Rodney McLeod could immediately fill in at FS. Safeties, even the high end ones, tend to be cheaper than corners, and usually pay off handsomely. A good FS that has not lost a step would allow Jefferson to play in the box where he can cover the seam and TEs more effectively over the middle and be used properly. The only thing that should be done is acquiring a new FS.

    Cap Causalities


    Above is a likely list of cap casualties, and we would be smart to acquire a couple of them. Names such as Marcel Dareus, Gerald McCoy, Derek Wolfe, could prove to be valuable additions that will not count towards the compensatory pick. Age should be ignored in this thought process, we have a four-year window to win a super bowl and so long as they have 3-4 years left, they should be valuable contributors. All four would be massive upgrades on the dline with regards to pass rush, especially McCoy despite his age. If we can acquire players that can get pressure from the interior to compliment Willie Henry, the defense, just off of one or two additions could improve on an already impressive unit significantly.

    Ideally speaking, the defense needs to be the key focus of free agency. The fact that we run a heavy defensive rotation, and lack any interior pressure, and the fact that we could have two significant departures, means we need to invest heavily to have hope in contending. It amazes me that despite all the prospective deficiencies, Martindale was able to do more with less. For the first time in a long time, we are likely to have capital to spend. After we pay CJ Mosley, we need to acquire multiple pass rushers and a free safety to win the day, to maintain our defensive identity.

    Ideal Free Agency(non-ravens players)

    -Haha Clinton-Dix

    -Gerald McCoy

    -Markus Golden

    -Shaquille Barret
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