This group would have probably received a “D-” if not for Sean Lee. He has been so good this year, he is literally worth almost two grades himself. Lee is second in the league in tackles and tied for the league lead in interceptions which makes him not only the clear MVP on this team but a legitimate candidate for the league award… if only this defense was not so otherwise horrible. Coming into the season, the thought was that Lee would have a running mate in Bruce Carter and the two would be flying all over the field and making plays in the passing game. That certainly has not come into fruition. The other starter, Justin Durant, is holding on by a thread to that spot as he has been underwhelming to say the least. Ernie Sims has been slightly better than Durant overall but again, that isn’t saying much and the rest of the crew has not really provided much help besides their efforts on special teams.
The theme of inconsistency rings through this unit as well. So far, the best of the bunch, Brandon Carr has been pretty solid… you know except for the whole 329 yards to Calvin Johnson thing. Morris Claiborne has been a monumental disappointment given his lofty draft status. He is also seemingly going down the Miles Austin/DeMarco Murray path of limited availability due to injuries. Orlando Scandrick has been acceptable and there hasn’t been much to go off of in regards to rookie B.W. Webb, although that will certainly change soon, thanks again to Claiborne. Maybe the most curious decision involving this group was to only go with four active options since A. It’s a passing league now and B. the list of QB’s to face this year (Rivers, P. Manning, Stafford, Brees, Rodgers) is daunting enough, let alone going at it short handed.
As for the safeties, the tandom of Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox has played to an acceptable standard and certainly above expectation. Rookie Jeff Heath has also been a pleasant surprise but that’s where it stops. Free agent signing Will Allen has already been released. Danny McCray has gone back and forth between injured and “shouldn’t be on the field defensively in the first place” and Jakar Hamilton is in over his head at this stage of his career.