With the rules the way they are, you will never see a dominant defense like we have been accustomed to. Look at the 49ers 1st TD in the SB. I am convinced that Pollard pulled up instead of doing what his instincts were which was to blow Crabtree up. He pulled up and Crabtree bounced off and walked in to the end zone. That is what defense has to do now. They have to second guess and "adjust their style of play". This is what we are going to have to deal with now. There will be no truly dominant defense played in the NFL, scoring is too important to money generation.
Yes, fans will most certainly miss this team having an elite defense. The good defenses this team has fielded would go down as other teams best ever, the elite defense that this team has fielded have gone down in history. For the last 17 years when one has said Baltimore the first thought has been defense. I feel many are disappointed or saddened by this thought. Whether it be the transition of the NfL or the retirement of the face of the elite Baltimore defense many will still relish the days of 2006 and 2000. This past season is an anomaly, injuries played a part but for the first time in a long time the personnel or lack there of was the problem. The young players that were thrown into the fire will only benefit from their experience, and with the promise from our own glorious wizard that deficiencies will be fixed I personally am excited about the future. We may no longer be elite by our own standards, but we are still damn good enough to win a Lombardi and we proved that. This team is balanced with the offense taking over and I am okay with that. Many will struggle with the lack of elite defense in Baltimore, but we set the bar from the beginning. This was truly the end of an era but it ended in the best way possible
Elite defense doesn't mean squat anymore because they can't lay the wood. Goodell has turned this into a passing league. The Ravens, for all the yards they gave up, were still pretty good in points allowed and red zone defense. We put up 30+ points on the #2 and #3 defense in the league in the PLAYOFFS. This is the new NFL, that is how it is done.
For a while the trend was going to spread pass attacks and away from the run. Now the trend the sprint option, and teams that are not equipt to stop the run with basically just the DL and ILBs, are getting gashed wide open.
So defensively the #1 need IMO is a nose tackle and DL talent/ depth. We can find ilbs. Our projected starters Ellerbe and McClain were udfas. I think the pass D is in good shape with Webb getting back into the mix and Suggs hopefully bouncing back to form. I think we can draft or pick up a cheap vet to replace Kruger as the 3rd down rush specialist. The edges of our D are pretty well stocked and should not be tough to fortify. Up the middle does need a big influx of new talent and size to take on the run game and the huge TE passing threats.
I'll take the Championship without the great D, as others have stated. Rule changes, losing top talent, injuries, they all add to the demise of the defense.
Pitt had the #1 D and only won 8 games... the league has changed. Defense wins championships in college, not pros
The Ravens, Steelers in 06 and Tampa were the only teams recently that were suspect on O but strong enough on D to get the job done. So it mostly takes balance, not dominance in one area, but defense is still a big factor in who wins the championship. Our D played lights out in the second alf in NE and 1st half of the SB, and all along the way in the playoffs, or we would not have this championship.