Quote Originally Posted by joemorrisforprez View Post
I'm going to argue the opposite......that when we get good production out of our linebackers, the defense takes a huge step up.

Examples:

2007: Antonio Pierce and Kawika Mitchell both were very productive.Torbor was good, and Kiwi also played well until he got injured.
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2011: Chase Blackburn was signed in time to take stabilize the LB position. JWill started to come on. Boley had a career year.


I've been beating this drum for years.....a playmaking LB would turn this defense into a potentially dominating unit. But right now, there isn't a single LB on the team that any opposing offensive coordinator needs to worry about. Which is why they are free to double and triple up guys like JPP.
Isn't it possible that our linebackers played well because of the dominance of our defensive lines? There was a time in the mid 2000s when the Ravens defense slipped a bit; the linebackers and Ray Lewis weren't producing the way they had in previous years. Ray Lewis in his exit interview demanded the team get a new nose tackle, someone who would take up two blockers and be able to hold his two gaps. Their first round pick: Haloti Ngata, and the return of the dominant defense.

Our linebacker core definitely needs an upgrade, but I think what we saw in 2007 and 2011 were a result of our defensive lines more than great LB play. Remember in 2011, we almost didn't make the playoffs, playing terrible defense for much of the year as both Osi and Tuck spent time injured. We began to click as a defensive unit upon their return (and the timely returns of our secondary also). In other words, I think our, and generally speaking, LB play is a direct reflection of our defensive line's play.

I do agree with Titwio that our linebackers are going to become more important playing against Griffin twice a year. I know the pistol is the new rage, but I wouldn't put too much stock into it if Griffin weren't in our division or if other top teams in our conference didn't run it. We won't see San Fran every year, so I wouldn't cater my defense to it. I'm very interested to see what Chip Kelly does in Philly however, because I'm not sure he'll have the pieces for his offense OR defense this next year.