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Excellent read, I don't think, however, the difference in the schedule and the circumstances in the Northern Division were adequately considered in the evaluation of the 2017 defense's performance. In 2017 GB was in shambles starting Brett Hunley instead of Rogers... the defense feasted against an extremely ill-equipped QB. Considering the Packers were 4-1 before Rogers went down and finished the season 7-9 should tell you how easily they were beaten. That alone gives us 2 games that at best would have been a split with GB. 2017 was Mitchell Trubisky's rookie year, they did not have a vaunted defense... we swept Chicago that's +2 games that should have been at least a split otherwise. Bengals were not a good team. The Browns were terrible. The then Redskins were terrible. The Bucs were terrible. The Lions were terrible. The two toughest teams we faced were the Saints and Eagles. So we played 7 bad to terrible teams amounting to 9 wins and outstanding defensive stats. The two best teams we faced, NO we beat twice, once by a miracle and were killed by the Eagles wherein that vaulted defense performed horribly for 6 quarters. They allowed NO to come all the way back and lead. They were nearly completely absent in the NFL title game.

This is one of those situations that the stats are misleading. They were true to the performance but they have not been adjusted to reflect the competition. Very similar to how Kirk Cousin's statistics read.

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If coach Zimmer finally unleashes Barr as a relentless blitzer (among others), this defense could be something fierce. Continue to play the passive-reaction style, teams will continue to pick them apart. Really looking forward to see if coach does anything different after this splurge of defensive pieces.

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Matt, what is your percentage chance the Vikings have planned to make a trade for Orlando Brown Jr. after the draft? If they are in "win now" mode it make sense knowing they can get the most out of this years draft and they haven't addressed the o-line (with an upgrade). It just feels like that's the play.

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founding

Great analysis Sam! So in a nutshell, The D-line should be much improved against the run but the pass rush may still be a bit weak? Time for Coach Zim to pull some very creative blitzing packages out of his hat...

Matthew's podcast with ESPN's Jason Wilde was outstanding. I enjoyed the detailed insight on the current state of affairs with the Cheeseheads and the good natured banter between the speakers. But I must correct Wilde's use of the word "Counterintelligence" as he presented the concept. CI isn't the process of collecting your opponents information... that is intelligence gathering. CI is countering the technical (team IT system hacking/surreptitiously videotaping opponent practice/intercepting game day team audio communications/facility dumpster diving, etc.) and the Insider Threat: recruiting spies. Disgruntled players and staff members may be ripe for the picking... Hopefully, NFL teams do possess a CI capability.

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Great article. I was very surprised the 17 team had less takeaways than the 20 team. Rick really needs some major improvements from the defensive players drafted last year and whomever he grabs this year to be able to step into the lineup and just be solid.

I’m still torn on whether addressing the OL & WR3 position or DE (& DL Depth) are more important to the success of the team. If they can get a ‘15 like draft again and find 3 starters with their first couple picks, they should have a great roster on paper, but the depth all over the roster is still very concerning.

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If they value DE over OL at this point, that's quite a slap in the face to the offense, considering how they've done nothing to help that group in FA. Offensive line has weaknesses at multiple spots; defensive line is pretty strong in three of four areas.

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