I have a great interest in this new/fresh Vic Fangio defensive scheme he will unveil to the world coming this season.
We're all excited about the usual suspects tied to the unveiling of this new defense.. especially how the Secondary will be unleashed with the addition of Jalen Ramsey across from Xavien Howard, but also the ascension of Jevon Holland and Kader Kohou rubbing shoulders with an absolute DAWG in that defensive backfield.
A powerful Secondary permits a kind of Domino Affect when dealing with the Front 7, and I wanted to address three (3) specific defensive players who I believe are destined to take a Massive Leap this season.
Caveat: these will not be traditional nor conventional names associated with the leap!
1. Brandon Jones: now I know what you all are probably saying to yourselves, "Brandon Jones is a Safety... he doesn't play in the Front 7...", and this statement is true... to an extent. The best we've seen from B Jones has been when he is hovering around the Line of Scrimmage via the Blitz Package. I am interested to see how he will be dispersed in this Fangio Defense. I view Jones more so as a Situational Football piece than an Every Down Starter (DeShon Elliott may begin the year as the Starter). Irrespective, I am excited to see the packages Fangio will place Brandon Jones in via his greatest strength which is blitzing. I see and anticipate a big Leap from B Jones around the sum of a 10+ Sack season as a Blitzing Safety.
2. Raekwon Davis: there is a song the great boxer Roy Jones Jr had back in the day called "Y'all Must've Forgot", and that's how I feel when I see the players Vic Fangio has at his current disposal, and 'Kwon being one of them. Now it may just be me, but Raekwon Davis' career has been quite underwhelming considering the expectations we had of him via his draft status (2020 2nd Rounder with a massive upside; 6'6"+ 330+ lbs of mean-man). Was his lack of production due to Technique Fit? Was it due to poor coaching or player development? Has his disappointment been due to lack of desire to be great? We don't have the direct answer to these questions. But we do have a coach in Vic Fangio, I believe, will see exactly what and who Raekwon is.. and place this mammoth human being in the best setup for high-level success. I can envision a massive Leap in not only on-field production, but also the proverbial 'Eye Test' when watching his role on defense ascend as well. I'm expecting big things out of Davis this year (shout out to Coach 30/MrGo30; if you know you know)!
3. Jaelen Philips: this may seem like an obvious choice for players we are all excited to take a Leap this season. But this is especially special to me, because I am anticipating one of the biggest Leaps in NFL History when discussing J Phil. With this Vic Fangio Scheme, with the aid of a fridge dominant Interior Defensive Front (Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis and Zach Sieler), and with an Edge Rusher opposite to him that will have to demand significant attention... I believe Jaelen Philips will have the greatest sack season in NFL History with all of these variables aligning for him. I am calling for not only a 25+ Sack Season, but also the NFL Defensive Player of the Year out of Jaelen Philips. His Motor + His Passion + His Desire + His Itch to be great is going to come to a crossroad where I see a combustion of the greatest sack season of all time!
There will be Leaps taken throughout the entire team, but I'm just excited to see the above mentioned take those Leaps this season!