Defensive Playmakers; Quarterback Nightmares

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September 23, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback

Robert Griffin III

(10) fumbles after being hit by Cincinnati Bengals defensive end

Carlos Dunlap

(96) during the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Cincinnati Bengals, Carlos Dunlap (DE);

Under the current coaching of Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, the Bengals have finished 4th in Total Defense in 2009 (AFC North Champions), 15th in 2010 (4-12), and 7th in 2011 (Wild Card Team). Now for sake of getting judged for lack of credibility, I understand that Carlos Dunlap was not apart of the team in 2009 or 2010, but one person that was, was CB Jonathan Joseph. In 2009 Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall each paired up for 6 interceptions a piece.  Then in 2010 Joseph only played 12 games due to a foot injury and out of the 12 you truly do not know how many he played in with 100% health, making it easier to pick on Hall and the backups that season, in end result putting more pressure on the front four.

So then in 2011 when Joseph left for Houston, there was a major void to be filled in order to help to secondary. Dunlap took pressure off of the secondary last season , making it easier for Hall and Clements to do their thing. When we draft Carlos Dunlap, he stepped into that role of our defensive playmaker. Now obviously you can make a case for Pro-Bowler Geno Atkins. Remember though, he played the first 2 games in 2012 when our defense was abysmal. Also there is the argument that Dunlap opened up room for Atkins to be great by not being able to double up Atkins with the threat of Dunlap on the end. The pass defense was considerably better last week against Washington and RGIII, only allowing 168 yards through the air. The only difference that week was the addition of Dunlap. In a side note, Leon Hall did not play in that game either. Proving that the D-line has an impact on a secondary with depleted depth.

Baltimore Ravens, Terrell Suggs (LB) and Jarret Johnson (LB);

 In 2011 the Baltimore Ravens were ranked 3rd overall in Total Defense. In the offseason they lost Linebacker Jarret Johnson to free-agency (San Diego) and Linebacker Terrell Suggs to an Achilles injury suffered in the offseason. Grant it the team still does have future Hall of Famers, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Haloti Ngata. With the absence of these two playmakers, the Ravens total defensive rank has dropped from 3rd to 27th this season. 6th worst in the NFL, a league with 32 teams. This is completely unacceptable for a team that has always been built around defense.

Yet again, this team lost two players with the skill of pressuring the quarterback, and they have little help besides Ed Reed in the secondary. This allows teams to be more agressive in the passing game.

So with the last three teams that have been discussed there have been two players have absences correlating to the decrease in production in their respected team’s defenses. This last team may not have had the significant drop that the other teams have had, but they went from the best in the NFL to being knocked out of the top five.