Instead of taking over threads and have this debate go on and on, why not put it all into one thread? Here I will outline why I feel that we need to upgrade our secondary this offseason. I know many will not agree, but I hope to shed some light on the situation.
The basis of my argument comes from football outsiders. They do a fine job of explaining our weaknesses, at least, if you know where to look.
We are #14th overall when it comes to DVOA. This adjust their VOA, or value of defensive play, to adjust for how good the offense is. This seems wrong, as our DL is among the best in the league, how could our overall pass D be sitting around average? The answer you are expecting from me is the secondary and I will not disappoint.
We rank #7 over all against #1 WRs, a testament to Grimes's comeback performance. Grimes has been absolutely amazing this season. He is not the problem in the secondary, but he is 30. We will need to worry about his replacement in the coming years for the sole reason of age.
We rank #23 against the #2 WR. For all the praise Nolan Carrol gets, this is almost all his fault. He is a noticeably below average #2 CB and should probably be relegated to backup and special teams duties. Carrol had all the potential in the world and started his career pretty promisingly, but hasn't put it all together. Patterson also gets some of this blame, he is a gambler without the elite level athleticism to make up for his gambles.
We rank 20th against the #3-5 WRs. This does not bode well for our young guns, as not only can they not surpass Carrol on the depth chart despite poor play, they are not doing well against the worst of other teams. Wilson has served as our nickel back for awhile now and this poor rating has to do with him, mostly. Wilson has his moments, but is not the answer we are looking for at the nickel. If you want to argue that this ranking almost exclusively is about Wilson, why haven't the rookies surpassed him?
We rank #28 vs. the TE. With our LBers specializing in blitzing, this has something to do with it, as when they aren't blitzing they are covering the TE. When they are blitzing, however, whose responsibility is it? The obvious answer is Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons. Both these players are playing different positions this year. I sum this poor performance to scheme, as we have seen both play at very high levels before. Both garnered media attention, having Bleacher Report call them the best safety duo in the NFL. Even if you dislike BR, you have to acknowledge that that high of praise had to come from somewhere. This I blame on scheme more than anything, as we have the talent to play well against TEs.
We rank #30 vs RBs. This is squarely on the LBers more than anyone else. They are simply not good in coverage. Our safeties help out too and you can see the above argument for my thoughts on this. Our LBers were brought in to blitz and they do that quite well. However, Ellerbe was also brought in to cover as well. He was supposed to be an equivalent to a younger Dansby. While his blitzing ability came as advertised, he simply can't cover.
Outside of Grimes, we don't have much talent to cover the other team's weapons. Against some teams, a strong pass rush and taking away the #1 option is good enough, but if we ever want a chance to survive the playoffs and make a run we need to cover other receiving options. We need more talent in the secondary.