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That’s an idea reinforced by the team’s middling rank of 23rd amongst all … Several of the stars, such as Casey Hayward (11th among cornerbacks in coverage grade) and Joey Bosa (7th among edge defenders in pass-rush grade), are playing up to their usual standards, but it’s the cast around them that will need to step up over the second half of the season if the Chargers wish to turn their season around. Blitzing without getting pressure opens you up for failure on the back end, and the Ravens defense is finding that out first-hand. Among 56 linebackers with 200 or more defensive snaps, his overall grade of 83.9 ranks third. After Washington linebacker Jon Bostic put a late and slightly dirty hit on Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton late in the game on Sunday, many thought that Bostic might face a suspension, especially after being ejected from the game. This year, they’ve taken a definite step back, particularly when it comes to allowing the big play. The image of Robert Saleh losing his mind on the sideline following stop after stop by the 49ers defense against the Rams this past Sunday is an accurate depiction of how this season has gone for the unit and just how far they have come from a season ago. Their defensive success can largely be attributed to their secondary, which has been playing outstanding football, granted against some of the most advantageous quarterback matchups a team could possibly have. There wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about with the Cardinals defense before Patrick Peterson got suspended for the first six games of the season, and there was even less without him in the lineup over the opening stretch.

PFF Senior Draft Analyst Mike Renner has them selecting two edge rushers (Ohio State’s Chase Young and Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos) in his latest 2020 mock draft. Both Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer grade out among the top 15 safeties in the NFL, and it shows in the success that opposing quarterbacks have had targeting Buffalo deep. That isn’t a recipe for defensive success. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

They took steps toward addressing their defensive woes from previous seasons by drafting three defensive players in the first 40 selections of this year’s draft. On the season, they have allowed 46 receptions, 599 yards, seven touchdowns, 29 first downs receiving and a passer rating of 150.8 to opposing tight ends. Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith have given a nice boost to a Packers pass rush that has generated a pressure rate of 42% in 2019 (second in NFL). Austin Hooper’s big Week 6 performance was only the most recent in a line of tight ends exposing the Cardinals in coverage. The New York Giants have three of them — Deandre Baker (394), Janoris Jenkins (351) and Grant Haley (315). Adding one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL can only help the Rams secondary, but will it be enough to propel them into top-five defense territory?

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