Sunday, July 21, 2013

2013 Looking Around The Division: Secondary

This is near the completion of this series.  I have finished the offense, this will finish the defense, then we will have one final post on special teams.  Then we get to training camp, then the preseason, and then we start our contest against the 49ers on 9/8/13.  So let's start with the team with the worst secondary in the division.
4. Detroit Lions
  1. Chris Houston #23 (28, 5'10" 178 lbs)
  2. Louis Delmas #26 (26, 5'11" 202 lbs)
  3. Glover Quin #27 (27, 6'0" 209 lbs)
  4. Ron Bartell #31 (31, 6'1" 208 lbs)
  5. Bill Bentley #28 (24, 5'10" 182 lbs)
  6. Don Carey #32 (26, 5'11" 192 lbs)
  7. Amari Spievey #42 (25, 5'11" 195 lbs)
  8. Darius Slay #30 (22, 6'1" 190 lbs)
  9. Ricardo Silva #39 (25, 6'3" 225 lbs)
  10. John Wendling #29 (30, 6'1" 222 lbs)
  11. Chris Greenwood #33 (24, 6'2" 189 lbs)
  12. Chris Hope #43 (32, 6'0" 204 lbs)
  13. Martavious Neloms #47 (21, 6'0" 189 lbs)
  14. Tyrell Johnson #24 (28, 6'0" 207 lbs)
The Lions have been sorely lacking in the secondary for so many years now.  It's not even really that funny, especially since the Packers have been so efficient in throwing the ball against them.  Get used to seeing a lot of Chris Houston though, he has a new 5 year deal with the Lions, and will remain their #1 CB.  Delmas had a knee injury last year, and as recently as last month said he was not 100% yet. Quin is a new addition to our division, coming over from the Texans last year.  He should be an upgrade for them, but it all depends on how they work as a unit,  Quin also is on a 5 year contract.  This is where we have a big fallout among the secondary.  Bartell was CUT by the Raiders last year.  Yes, the Raiders.  Bentley was a 3rd round pick from last season, but was hurt in their 4th game last year.  Carey was signed midway through last season after injuries piled up.  Spievey missed a majority of last year with a concussion.  Slay is the Lions 2nd round pick, probably has a chance to start over Bartell, but missed OTA's with a knee scope, and it's tough for a rookie to come in and miss getting used to the scheme through OTA's before training camp.  Silva got benched down the stretch.  Wendling got benched as a safety last year and become solely a special teams player.  Greenwood was a rookie last year but never got on the field with an abdominal injury.  Hope was on the Falcons last year and didn't really play much so he's no longer on the team.  Neloms was a rookie out of Kentucky, and he only ran a 4.52 40 yard dash at the pro day.  Johnson originally was a 2nd round pick for the Vikings back in 2008, but he was signed last year for emergency depth because of all the Lions injuries last season.  So, you can tell that there is so much that they need to be able to do to improve their secondary.

3.  Minnesota Vikings
  1. Chris Cook #20 (26, 6"2" 212 lbs)
  2. Harrison Smith #22 (24, 6'2" 213 lbs)
  3. Jamarca Sanford #33 (27, 5'10" 200 lbs)
  4. Josh Robinson #21 (22, 5'10" 199 lbs)
  5. Xavier Rhodes #29 (23, 6'1" 210 lbs)
  6. Robert Blanton #36 (23, 6'1" 208 lbs)
  7. Mistral Raymond #41 (25, 6'1" 202 lbs)
  8. A.J. Jefferson #24 (25, 6'1" 190 lbs)
  9. Jacob Lacey #26 (26, 5'10" 177 lbs)
  10. Andrew Sendejo (25, 6'1" 225 lbs)
  11. Brandon Bishop (22, 6'2" 205 lbs)
  12. Darius Eubanks (22, 6'1" 215 lbs)
The biggest difference here is that there is nobody listed named Antoine Winfield.  Winfield has been in Minnesota since 2004, but is now 36 years old, and is going to be playing the nickel corner spot on the Seahawks, as if they needed more depth at corner.  Cook has been in the league 3 years and has been unable to make it through a single season.  Harrison Smith was a rookie last year, but he was very impressive, I specifically remember the interception he had near the goal line against us last year, where the rest of the team fell for a trick play, and then Smith picked us off.  Watch it here.  Just ignore the kid talking in the background.  Sanford does not have good ball skills, but he did start last season.  Rhodes and Robinson are in a battle for the final starting CB spot.  Rhodes should have it long term as their 25th overall pick this past season.  Robinson has previously stated that he is uncomfortable playing the slot though, so that should be interesting (please put Robinson on Cobb).  Blanton barely played any last year.  Raymond started the year at safety last year instead of Sanford, but was injured his ankle early in the year.  Jefferson had some concussion issues last year.  Lacey is new to the team, but then had thumb surgery last year.  Sendejo is a special teamer.  Bishop had 4.59 40 yard dash, which seems really slow for a safety.   Eubanks was a little bit faster at 4.48.  Both are rookies this year.

Now we have to take a major step foward from the Vikings & Lions, to the Packers and Bears.  They might be two of the best secondary units in all of football.  You could probably argue either side of this with the players that they have, but I am going to go with the Packers over the Bears simply because of the depth at that position, but they are both high level groups.

2.  Chicago Bears
  1. Charles Tillman #33 (32, 6'2" 198 lbs)
  2. Chris Conte #47 (24, 6'2" 203 lbs)
  3. Major Wright #21 (25, 5'11" 204 lbs)
  4. Tim Jennings #26 (29, 5'8" 185 lbs)
  5. Kelvin Hayden #24 (29, 6'0" 195 lbs)
  6. Anthony Walters #37 (24, 6'1" 207 lbs)
  7. Tom Zbikowski #36 (28, 5'11" 200 lbs)
  8. Zackary Bowman #38 (28, 6'1" 196 lbs)
  9. Brandon Hardin #35 (23, 6'2" 219 lbs)
  10. Craig Steltz #20 (27, 6'1" 207 lbs)
  11. Sherrick McManis #27 (25, 6'1" 193 lbs)
  12. Cyhl Quarles #44 (24, 6'3" 210 lbs)
  13. Tom Nelson #46 (26, 5'11" 200 lbs)
This will be Tillman's 11th season with the Bears.  He's been around for a long time, definitely isn't a shutdown corner, but is good at picking his spots for interceptions, and forcing fumbles.  He usually has about 80-95 tackles a year.  Conte has 2 seasons, with 3 career INT as the Bears starting FS.  Major Wright is a quality safety, has 7 INT through 3 years, high for tackles in a season is 71 last year.  Tim Jennings previous high for INT in a season was 2 before last season, where he had a career high of 9.  Heyden was resigned after an up and down year last year, when he came on the field infrequently as their nickel corner, and after Heyden is where their is an issue of depth.  Walters has 16 career tackles in 2 seasons.  Zbikowski is coming over from the Colts, where he had mainly been a special teams specialist.  Bowman is mainly a special teams guy as well.  Hardin was out all of last year with a neck injury.  Steltz is a special teams guy.  McManis came over from the Texans last season in a trade before the season started.  Quarles was on the practice squad for the Patriots last year, but he definitely has some good size.  Nelson is another special teams guy.  Just not a lot of depth at the position, an injury to a starting corner or safety is going to expose quite a few weaknesses.

1.  Green Bay Packers
  1. Tramon Williams #38 (30, 5'11" 191 lbs)
  2. M.D. Jennings #43 (24, 6'0" 200 lbs)
  3. Morgan Burnett #42 (24, 6'1" 209 lbs)
  4. Casey Hayward #29 (23, 5'11" 192 lbs)
  5. Sam Shields #37 (25, 5'11" 184 lbs)
  6. Davon House #31 (24, 6'0" 195 lbs)
  7. Jerron McMillian #22 (24, 5'11" 191 lbs)
  8. Sean Richardson #28 (23, 6'2" 213 lbs)
  9. Chaz Powell #41 (25, 6'1" 207 lbs)
  10. Jarrett Bush #24 (29, 6'0" 200 lbs)
  11. James Nixon #25 (25, 6'1" 190 lbs)
  12. David Fulton #40 (23, 6'0" 196 lbs)
The biggest difference this season is that we don't have Charles Woodson back in our secondary.  He had been our "big name" as far as that part of the defense had been concerned.  Tramon Williams now faces the challenge of being the experienced veteran in our secondary, and whether or not he will be able to be the leader.  One of the tough aspects here is that you can basically take the top 7 players here and they could all be an impact player.  I don't think anyone could say for certain that Williams will be the #1 CB or if he will be a starter.  Williams has 22 career INT for the Packers in his 6 seasons here, last year he only had 2 but it had been 4 or more the last 4 seasons.  Jennings and McMillian are in a position battle throughout camp and probably preseason for the starting Free Safety job.  Jennings has added another 13 pounds this offseason.  He came into the NFL at 187.  Burnett of course has a new contract.  Burnett has over 100 tackles the last 2 seasons, 5 sacks, and 5 INT.  He is consistent, and he is the new focus of our secondary, for now.  Hayward was in the running for rookie of the year, and he probably should have been higher than 3rd on the list, but that award almost always goes to a linebacker or a defensive lineman.  He definitely was the best rookie cornerback last year, with 6 INT, and 21 pass deflections.  Hayward is the player who has the best ball skills in the secondary, probably could be a Nick Collins type player but from the cornerback position.  Shields was the man who had some key interceptions on our 2010 Super Bowl run, he had 2 INT in the NFC Championship game.  Shields seems explosive when he is on the field, but seems to be on and off of the field quite a bit, I'm not exactly sure why.  House hurt himself before the season, and wasn't able to perform quite as high as we would have liked, but he's a little bit bigger than Hayward, and some people thought he could have been even better than Hayward last season if healthy.  McMillian could be the starting safety, but he didn't play much last year as a rookie, so he has a ways to go to step up to that challenge.  Richardson has size, but didn't play much and then got a neck injury last year, not fully cleared that I'm aware.  Powell got signed to our practice squad late last year.  Bush had 2 INT last year, wow, but is clearly a special teams player, not a major coverage guy.  Nixon has a 4.31 40 yard dash and he was on our practice squad last season.  Fulton is one of our UDFA this season, we signed him right before OTA's.  A little bit more depth than the Bears, and so that is why I put the Packers as the class of the NFC North.  Here are the overall rankings with just special teams to go.

1.  Green Bay Packers-22
1.  Detroit Lions-22
3.  Minnesota Vikings-18
4.  Chicago Bears-17

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