DL: Langford has had a really good year and his addition has been huge, due to the inexperience of this group and injuries. Anderson was playing at a very high level early on , but his production has dropped off and is now out, Parry has been solid in the middle. Winn has looked good, Kerr is a capable backup, but depth is almost non existent. Jones missing the year was a big blow. Grade: D
LB: Mathis is slowly getting back to his previous form, Walden has had a good year, Jackson has excelled inside and is leading the league in tackles, Freeman has been decent and ranks 7th in the AFC for tackles ( LB) Newsome has not shown much, after a very promising rookie season. Cole has been next to invisible and really should be spending most of his time, on the bench. The backups haven't been very overly productive when given reps. Grade: D+
DB: Davis has not played at the elite level he has shown the past few years, Toler has struggled, all year, Butler has played well. The CB position has been hit hard by injuries and there is very little depth. Smith's return should help in the second half. Adams has continued his great play and is tied for the league lead with 5 int. Lowery has been solid, Anderson has played better than expected, filling in for Adams, very little depth at safety as well. Grade: C
ST: Adam has had a good year and has now hit 11 in a row, after an 0-2 start, including 3-4 of 50+. McAfee has been a major weapon all year and his impact in games can't be under estimated. The return game is mostly non-productive, although Bray, in limited reps appears to be an upgrade. The coverage units have played well, for the most part, but with McAfee's leg, aren't really much of a factor. Grade: B
Summary: the defense has been decent, maybe even good , considering the offense doesn't sustain drives often and puts them in short fields, with turnovers and with Jones missing the year and the injury situation at CB. They have done well with what they have had to work with. Grade: C
Overall: the defense at it's best would probably be average, the injuries have not helped, but it is part of the game and there really wasn't much depth going into the year anyways. The special teams have done their part, other than a few big plays and some questionable coaching decisions. The offense overall and primarily Luck's production has been poor. With the talent level on that side of the ball, even with Hamilton in charge, it is 100% unaceptable. Grade: D
Second half: the defense will continue to fight for 60 minutes, with an undermanned group, with very little depth. The offense really just needs to play a 60 minute game and not continually shot themselves in the foot, with turnovers and penalties. Hasselbacks play , until Luck's return is the key. It will not likely live up the hype, but with consistent play, Gore becomes more of a factor and there are enough playmakers to be productive. A trip to the postseason is highly likely, due to the weak division, to be a factor, will take nothing less than an almost perfect game from the entire team.....not likely.