I've seen some articles on the net that suggest that our cornerbacks don't fit this defensive scheme. Do you think there will be any problems in that area?
Bryan: I am not going to say that it will be any problems but I am interested to see how the adjustment technique wise for Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne takes place. These are two outstanding press man corners that really relied on their ability to play tight and get their hands on the receivers to disrupt them in their routes. By disrupting the route, it allowed them to work themselves into position to cover and run with the receiver. By being physical, it kept the receiver from just running by them. There were some reps where Carr didn't show the foot quickness to turn and run with the receivers and that caused him some issues. Where Carr and Claiborne are going to have to be good is handling when the ball spills outside and it is their job to either step up to make the tackle or funnel it back inside to the linebackers and safeties. You can't play with soft corners in this scheme. Need to set the edge.
Nick: I think the best coaches on any level are the ones that put their players in the best position to succeed. So while we might think Monte Kiffin's style is to pull the cornerbacks away from the line of scrimmage, he's not going to do that at the risk of hurting the team. If Claiborne and Carr need to be pressing the receivers to help this team, I would imagine that's what you'll see them do. But remember this, teams mix up everything. You'll see them both 10 yards off the ball on first down and up on the line on second down. If there was one way this team is going to play, wouldn't you think the Giants and Saints and anyone else trying to beat them in 2013 would have a great game plan on how to beat them. Coordinators mix it up and expect Kiffin to do the same.
What are the biggest reasons you think our defense will improve in the 2013 season?
Bryan: This defense should improve for two reasons, health of key players back at full strength and that Monte Kiffin plays a very simple scheme that doesn't require the players to line up in all kinds of different looks to try and fool the offense. The defense is built not to give up big plays and it forces the offense into having to drive the ball. Kiffin requires his defense to be assignment sound by adjusting when it needs to but their main responsibility, is getting up the field attacking and forcing the offense into a mistake. The easier that he can make it on his players mentally, the more success they will have physically.
Nick:If this defense is better, it's because it got healthier. They missed Sean Lee, Bruce Carter and a healthy DeMarcus Ware down the stretch. They missed Orlando Scandrick in [embedded_ad] the slot. They missed Barry Church all year. They missed Jay Ratliff in the middle. That's a lot of good players not on the field. Sure, Monte Kiffin's style could help, but I think the health of this defense will be more beneficial if they can figure out a way to stay healthy.