Monsters No More

When setting your lineup, fear not these formerly ferocious D's
October 14, 2007

FOLLOWING HISteam's collapse against the Bears last year in a Monday night game, Arizonacoach Dennis Green barked, "They are who we thought they were!" (If youdidn't catch the press conference, you've at least seen the beer commercial.)This year the Bears are not what we thought they were--nor are several otherteams whose defenses were dominant in 2006. Fantasy owners should take note andno longer automatically sit skill players when they're up against the defenseson this page; each of these D's have shown a new vulnerability in '07.

Chicago, which hassurrendered nearly as many points through five games (115) this year as it hadthrough 10 (120) in '06, has been bedeviled by quarterbacks who've put thedefense in tight spots, and also by injuries throughout the defense. Even inSunday's win in Green Bay, the Bears, despite forcing five turnovers, allowed439 yards of offense, more than in any game in '06. Yes, Brian Urlacher isstill manning the middle, but the Bears' signature face alone shouldn't scareyou this year.


SHAWNE MERRIMANhas more solo tackles (five) in his oft-played Nike commercial than he had infour of his five games; meanwhile, three San Diego opponents have scored30-plus points.


TEAMS FACINGBaltimore still don't make much headway on the ground, but they're passing foran average of 219 yards. That's the Ravens' worst mark since 1997.


EIGHTH-RANKED inrun defense last year (and fourth overall), Miami, with Jason Taylor, has beenamong the league's worst in '07, giving up 174.2 rushing yards per game.


THE TOP passdefense of '06 had fallen to 18th through four games. Don't blame it all on thesecondary; Oakland has only seven quarterback sacks this season.


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Even in Sunday's win, Urlacher and the rest of the Bears defense gave up 439yards to Green Bay.