Here comes Kevin Acee again, to alleviate all of my concerns about the secondary with my all-time favorite platitude: Addition by subtraction! Cromartie is gone, and he is everything that that was wrong with our pass defense the last two years. Plain and simple. End of story. He's gone, we're great. I'm sure you noticed the drop off in his production over the last few years. It's because he was a malcontent. For no other reason, I suppose, than because he is a malcontent. Not because he didn't recive a lick of help from the pass rush. Not because he was roundly torn apart by the local media for not being able to cover a guy for 10 to 15 seconds while the QB dropped back and paused to tie his shoes.
Everybody loved Cromartie a few years back. And most people I talk to now despise him and were glad to see him run out of town like he was. But is the difference him? We haven't had a reliable pass rush or a defensive coordinator dedicated to taking chances since Cromartie's 10 INT year. As a coordinator you have to look at your defensive unit as a whole organism and not just pieces. It's silly to think that since your corners did so well the year before you can go ahead and ease up elsewhere. It creates undo pressure and destroys the delicate balance that makes a defense great.
Going into this year, I see more of the same. Shaun Phillips is not a premier pass rusher and has a bad attitude when adversity inevitably strikes. Larry English continues to be an unknown commodity. And Shawne Merriman? There's your wildcard. If he comes back around to something like he used to be, and if Rivera commits to attacking the QB, we may have something. But Cason is not as talented as Cromartie was and nobody we have at safety is ready thus far to be as good as Ellison probably would have been this year. Weddle gets burned as often as he comes up big. Only Jammer truly warrants affection here.
Unless something crazy unexpected from a personnel standpoint happens, I still think this secondary bleeds like a sieve. In fact, if they don't end up in the bottom 3rd of the league in both passing yards allowed and points allowed, I'll post an apology on youtube.