Defense & Special Teams

July 25, 2005
July 25, 2005

Table of Contents
July 25, 2005

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Defense & Special Teams

The category of defense and special teams usually shouldn't be addressed until the final two rounds. There might be justification for taking a unit earlier, but only if, in your league, points are awarded for stats such as sacks and takeaways in addition to defensive scores and kick returns for TDs. Remember--the NFL ranks defenses by yards allowed, but you're most interested in the number of points they score, which informs the rankings below.

This is an article from the July 25, 2005 issue

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1. Ravens16.834399
2. Patriots
Return game boosted with addition of Tim Dwight, Chad Morton
3. Eagles16.328472
4. Panthers21.238343
5. Steelers15.732415
6. Falcons21.132486
7. Bills17.839459
8. Vikings
Bringing in vets Fred Smoot, Sam Cowart and Darren Sharper gives defense a lift
9. Jaguars17.528370
10. Jets16.333374
11. Bucs19.027454
12. Colts21.936454
13. Dolphins22.125362
14. Chiefs
Rookie linebacker Derrick Johnson helps one of league's most porous defenses; and don't forget--you get return man Dante Hall in the deal
15. Redskins16.626401
16. Chargers19.633292
17. Bears20.729357
18. Bengals23.336375
19. Seahawks23.335363
20. Giants21.728414
21. Broncos19.020382
22. Cardinals20.130382
23. Saints25.333373
24. Cowboys25.322330
25. Lions
Eddie Drummond led NFL in punt returns (13.2 yards, two TDs) and was second in kickoff returns (26.6 yards, two TDs) in 2004
26. Texans21.230245
27. Browns24.428322
28. Rams24.515343
29. Packers23.815405
30. Titans27.430322
31. Raiders
Unit allowed league-high 47.4% conversion rate on third down
32. 49ers28.321293
*defensive and special teams touchdowns


Beware of 52 in the 46

First-year Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan learned the 46 scheme from the man who made it famous as a coach with the Bears--his father, Buddy--and now he'll use it to unleash a unit that features five Pro Bowl--caliber starters. The obvious beneficiary is middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who should relish playing behind a four-man front again after battling through traffic in the 3--4 the last three years. The only questions are whether Terrell Suggs, who had a total of 221/2 sacks in his first two years as a linebacker, can continue to produce when he lines up at end, and whether free-agent pickup Tommy Polley and rookie second-round draft pick Dan Cody can live up to expectations at outside linebacker. But those are minor issues for a unit that last year led the league lead in defensive touchdowns, with seven.