Not bad for a bunch for a team playing with a secondary that consists of 3 guys who had never really played before, and one with only a year of starting under his belt. It looks like the secondary could be a point of strength for years to come. They are young, tall and aggressive. This is a far cry from Trufant who kept everything in front of him but always gave up yardage. Kelly Jennings would be around the ball but utterly oblivious that it had just been caught by someone else. Jordan Babineaux and Lawyer Milloy are easy to forget when you have a force in the middle like Kam (Bam Bam) Chancellor.
The linebackers have a nice balance of youth and experience. Leroy Hill is playing with renewed energy. I hope the team re-signs him as he is a stabilizing force. The Heater makes a ton of plays while KJ is really learning the position from game to game. He is instinctual and does not make boneheaded mistakes like his predecessor.
The front four are dominant in run coverage. If they are not making the tackle themselves, they are blowing up the play enough to allow the linebackers to clean up. This is a drastic improvement over the last few years. A consistent pass rush is needed from someone other than Clemons. I am not sure what happened to Raheem Brock this year, but he has been a non-factor. Maybe his age (33) caught up to him.
Of the remaining six games only one team (Philadelphia) has a top 15 offense which leads me to believe that the Hawks can end the season in the top 10 in defense. That would make huge progress for Pete and JS in a very short time. Here is where they finished in the last 5 years:
- 2006 -- #19 (9-7)
- 2007 -- #15 (10-6)
- 2008 -- #30 (4-12)
- 2009 -- #24 (5-11)
- 2010 -- #27 (7-9)
- 2011 -- #??