It has been one week since the NFL free agent frenzy began, and most of the big name players have signed with their new teams. There were some big surprises, some questionable trades, and some under-the-radar signings around the league.
Obviously the addition of Nnamdi Asomugha was a major factor in deciding one of the teams that made this list. There were some teams that didn't even really make any significant moves on defense, but are still considered one of the best.
As we look forward to getting the preseason started in less than two weeks, it will take time for teams and players to put it all together. There is going to be some sloppy offensive play in the first few weeks, where defenses will dominate. As the season goes on, these five teams will continue to shut down opposing offenses.
There are going to be some greatly improved defenses this year. Whether it be a new player addition, or a new coach's scheme, there will be some surprises. While these three teams won't be in the top five this year, they will all be very close.
Dallas will be much improved from last year's disappointing team. Not only will their offense flow more smoothly, but there defense will actually stop people. There is no excuse for a team to have DeMarcus Ware, Mike Jenkins, and Terence Newman under perform.
Yes, they still have Ray Ray, Mr. Ed, and Haloti Ngata, but the majority of the defense is aging. Ray has 16 years under his belt, ten years for Reed, and Suggs with nine years of experience. The corners should be solid this year, but the depth won't be as good. They will still be great, just not as good as they have been.
Most people want to talk about the offense in KC, but I think the defense is their strength. With talents like Brandon Flowers, Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, and former LSU studs Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, they should really do some damage in the AFC West. The only challenge they will get in the division will be from the Chargers, but I still give them a shot to win the division.
The Bears have always been known for their defense, and for good reason. When you have the caliber of linebackers that they have always put on the field, it's easy to see why they are so good. Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are one year older, but they can still put themselves in the right spot at the right time.
Having Julius Peppers was a huge advantage last year, and the same will ring true with 2011. Just like in year's past, Chicago will need improved play in the secondary. The D line should be strong once again, with the likes of Anthony Adams, Israel Idonije, and Amobi Okoye.
We stay in the NFC North for the Bears' long-time rival, and defending Super Bowl Champs. The Packers did lose Nick Barnett and Cullen Jenkins, but they should still be one of the best defenses in the league yet again. Pair that with their powerful offense led by Mr. Rodgers, and there is no wonder how they won the Lombardi Trophy last year.
The Packers still have arguably the best secondary in the NFL with talent like Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Davon House, Nick Collins, and Charlie Peprah. B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews, and Frank Zombo are just a few more names to give offensive coordinators sleepless nights.
The Jets were fortunately able to keep Antonio Cromartie after swinging and missing in the Nnamdi sweepstakes. Having him back opposite Revis Island will be crucial to New York's success this season. Although they did lose Jason Taylor and Kris Jenkins, they were able to retain safety Eric Smith.
Obviously Rex Ryan is all about defense, and so are the Jets. Their ability to stop offenses is what took them to the AFC Championship game last year. While their offense is nothing to marvel at, their talent on defense surely is. I can't wait to see if this incredible defense can actually get even better in 2011, and I'm sure Bart Scott would agree.
They have been referred to as the "Miami Heat" of the NFL, but really there is no comparison. Playing three on three in the NBA is completely different than playing 11 on 11 in the NFL. Besides that, the Eagles actually have a fairly weak spot at the linebacker position heading into camp this year.
Obviously any team that has Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, and Trent Cole is going to be one of the most talented defensive teams in the NFL. If they can somehow acquire a talented linebacker, this will truly be an amazing team to watch, especially on defense.
Some things never change. I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a Steelers team that wasn't great on defense. Even with offensive weapons at every skill position of offense, Pittsburgh will continue to lay their hat on defense. They were able to bring back free agent corners William Gay and Ike Taylor, which was one of their biggest priorities.
In addition to Gay and Taylor, they have names like Ziggy Hood, Ryan Clark, James Farrior, Larry Foote, Lawrence Timmons, Casey Hampton, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and of course Troy Polamalu on this defense. Hard to imagine any team could have a stronger list of characters on that side of the ball.
There you have it, the state of Pennsylvania has teams ranked first and second in overall defense heading into this season.