Some NFL defenses have made big changes or improvements since they last played together as a unit. Some defenses have actually regressed. So, trying to predict who will emerge as the statistical leaders for all 32 teams in the various defensive categories can be a difficult challenge.
Despite all the rule changes in the NFL to make the game as safe as possible, football fans love to watch an aggressive defense that has the ability to attack an offense and get off the field as soon as possible.
Due to defenses creating turnovers, sacking the quarterback, spilling the running back for a loss, hitting a receiver that results in breaking up a pass, crowds will be screaming "Defense, Defense" around NFL stadiums again in 2013.
Today, we want to look at the current composition of the defenses of all 32 teams and do our level-best to predict who will wind up leading each defense in the following categories for 2013: tackles, tackles for loss, interceptions, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, battered passes, sacks, quarterback hurries and quarterback hits.
If you're like me, your mind is already starting to race ahead by attempting to predict who will lead your favorite team in each of the above categories.
For the record, the only players considered to lead a category are the guys currently under contract to an NFL team. So, unless they are signed to a new contract before this goes to publication, you won't be seeing the names of Brian Urlacher, James Harrison, Dwight Freeney, Charles Woodson or John Abraham as winning a category for any team next year in this presentation.
All statistical references to 2012 category winners are courtesy of either ESPN.com or Pro Football Focus (subscription required). OurLads.com was the source for current depth charts on every team.