Old Man Football: Ranking Defenses By Amount of Regression
I know what you're thinking.
Ugh. This Renomitsu kid is going to write about defense again?
And unfortunately for you, you're totally right. To hit my buzzerbeater S16 rankings, I'm going to write on which teams' defenses are more like nursing homes - those who will be staring regression in the face rather than bright-eyed, bushy-tailed rookies and sophomores. The league's seventh-year players just got smacked in the mouth with 3% regression, so we're going to rank teams from worst to best contingent on just how much APE they're going to lose in the next season or two.
We're going to rank teams based on how much regression will matter for their defense. If they have a single old cornerback but two young guys waiting in the wings to replace him at CB1, that might matter less than 3 old LBs without anyone to replace them.
Make sense? Let's do it.
I'll be honest - my two teams are probably least-affected by regression because they have yet to come in to their own. Neither the Kraken nor the Brigade had seasons worth talking about in S16 -- but they're instead exciting young teams finally coming in to their own this season. New Orleans' oldest non-filler starters are in year 4 -- FS Jean Christophe @Enorama and LB Mike McBuckets @Garappogoat are both 550+ TPE players facing regression all the way in Season 19.
The Kraken have two rookies at ~500 TPE - my own (Hiroki) at corner and LB Tommy Cannon @11 Eleven. While they still need a second active safety and corner, those two draftees or free agents will have time to grow with the relatively young defensive lineup New Orleans currently sports.
Summary: Zero 250+ TPE players facing regression in the next three seasons means the Kraken aren't affected at all.
The Brigade don't have 900+ TPE monsters like some of the other teams, but they'll be minimally impacted by regression as a result. At linebacker they have three players over 450 TPA, and only Abroham Drinkin @ADwyer87 will be facing regression in the next season or two. He has a reputation as an excellent earner, so his TPA should keep up pretty well in spite of the 3% 7th-year drop. Otherwise, the Brigade have a single player facing regression in Matt Hunter, who only has 84 TPE to begin with. He's an old-as-dirt strong safety (12th season) without much to lose, which makes him sound more like a gritty cop than a football player.
At corner, Wisconsin has the 700+ TPE Lester McCorn @Cornholio, who's finishing just his third season. While they don't have a CB2 to speak of, it still means regression doesn't affect this part of their defense.
Summary: One old strong safety starring in a classic cop film and a bunch of young faces.
Seattle doesn't actually have terribly many players on defense, and thankfully they were championship contenders with a defense still coming into its prime. Chocolate Thunder @Turner is old-as-dirt-but-somehow-still-good, and will gradually be moved into a nickel role this season as Steven Donovan @Abaddon comes into his own. Strong safety Samson Steiner faces regression next season but may be headed for free agency; the team may have the means to acquire another stud in the draft, but it's unclear if Seattle will sign a different player in free agency if they can't get a hold of Steiner's agent.
Thunder will continue to heavily regress as he hits his eleventh accrued season in the league, but only one of their five remaining defensive players will have any regression to speak of next season.
Summary: Two 5th- and 6th-year players make up the core of this Predators defense. Thunder has some TPE to spare if the Predators want to make another run, which means regression won't hit them too hard in the next season or so.
The Wolves are a bit of a tough team to assess. They have a lot of players assigned (at least in the Manager) on defense, with a total of 11 linebackers and defensive backs. And perhaps more relevant to this article, they have four players in their 9th season or later. Unlike Chocolate Thunder (Seattle) and A'Brick Wall (L.A.), however, three of these four are third or even fourth on the depth chart, which means their overall impact is decreased. Jorvorskie Crittenden (LB3), Jonathan James (LB4), and Jackson Hothands (CB4) are all in their 10th season or older, but they're also all below 250 APE at this point without much reserve.
Since these three players are all pretty far down on the depth chart, their impact on these rankings is going to be minimal going forward. Bo Clerk @AW13 has age that matters much more with 661 APE post-regression. As the team's top corner, he'll be hit very hard next season as he enters his tenth accrued year, though he does have young stud Luke Cafferty @jmoney waiting, and Bakari Zuberi (6th season) occupying the nickel spot. San Antonio is still reasonably young at safety (3rd, 5th season players) and has one excellent rookie linebacker in Amina Gunner @HuddleHussy (1st year, 500+ TPE).
Summary: Bo Clerk's regression is going to hurt - no way around that. The Wolfpack has two decent corners to hold the fort down as he declines. Otherwise, San Antonio has a few steeply regressing depth pieces that will play a smaller role on a defense that has some young and active pieces.
I think you could argue the Herd could be tied with or even placed just below the Wolfpack in this list -- but let's make a position-by-position review of the Herd. At safety, John Patrick Levine faces tougher and tougher regression (9th season) but only has 270 TPA at this point in his career. Dee Fence @oilmandan is going strong at 1,100+ TPA in his 5th season, so the back end of this defense won't be seriously affected. At corner, Casey Archer @Symmetrik is one of the best in the league in just his third season; JJ Hendrix is an acceptable CB2 at ~400 TPE, and is just as early in his career.
The picture gets slightly trickier at LB. Wizard Blanko @chemicalfire is at 700+ TPA after facing his first round of regression, and will probably be hit hard in the next couple of seasons. Roman Sanguszko is chugging along with welfare earning at 400 TPA. Chandominick Sabathia @omgitshim has an astounding 480 TPE to spare, so although he was crushed by 11th-year regression, he'll be able to make up for it for at least one more season.
Summary: Sabathia's regression is going to hurt terribly in a season or two (depending on when he uses his reserve). With Blanko starting regression at the same time but no earning to replace it, the Herd might be in for a tough ride at LB unless they draft a young stud.
I didn't expect the Memphis Mambas to be quite so young when looking at their results this season. While their youngest major players are in year 4 (Clint Bobsky and Lamarcus Oshiomogho), they're both already sitting at 650+ TPE and in a solid position to accrue some regression-fighting TPE for their 7th and 8th seasons. The tougher sell is with Isaac Martin @Jetsqb101 and Jamie Orion @DonCutta190, who are in their 7th and 9th seasons, respectively.
Like the Wolfpack, the Mambas have one corner facing regression that will probably be able to earn through it (and already has about 130 TPE in reserve anyways). Orion's decline will hurt some -- especially because they don't have an LB2 to realistically replace him on the roster with Jackson Gser inactive.
Summary: The Mambas have a couple of important pieces facing regression, and (before FA and the draft) don't have a great number of ways to replace Orion's contribution. But they still have multiple mid-career players with significant impact that make them a strong defense for the next few seasons.
Well, unfortunately for Miami they have to get their ducks in a row now. About half of their defense - including their top three players - will face regression next season. Former CBotY Champagne Harlotte @SwagSloth knows the pains of old age all-too-well at this point in their career (-197 TPE for 9th season regression). Top CB Brian Strong @Wheaties will continue to burn bright for another few seasons, but does face the 3% regression next season. Demetrius @Sharkstrong and Ian Kelley @Patdatass are finishing up their 7th and 8th seasons, respectively, but have a ridiculous amount of TPE left in the tank to fix their deficiencies (Shark 1490, Pat 1676 vs. 928 and 876 APE, respectively). This probably means regression, at least for the next couple of seasons, will have a small effect on them.
This ultimately leaves the Neptune with a few fourth-year players; while two of them are ~400 TPE, so the team will stave off regression for at least one more season.
Summary: Four older players, two of which can easily resist regression and one of which will probably be able to earn through it. Yes, over half of their best defensive players will face serious regression next season... but these huge regressions probably matter less for them than other teams.
Unfortunately for Los Angeles, the Reign have a bunch of geriatric players on their defense. @Alecbama is probably well-aware of how hard SS Ray Ray Foster has been hit by regression, as he hits his eleventh year in the league in parallel with Seattle's Chocolate Thunder. But more importantly, four of the team's eight players are facing regression in the next season. The team is weirdly full on strong safeties, as they have Chike Umonkalo, Jack Smith, and Foster - but they're all in their sixth year or later, which means they'll all be facing regression soon (if they haven't already).
Their linebacking corps feature both a strong veteran who will make his best effort to resist the effect of regression in A'Brick Wall @ANTISIMPLE, as well as a young stud just finishing his first year in the league in Lee Chong @Snussu. Thankfully for Los Angeles, they'll keep an incredibly strong lockdown corner in Jax Byrd @Trifecta and likely pair him with a non-filler in the draft soon, as Nik Holmes Jr. is a good stop-gap option but not a long-term starter. The question is, when will L.A. start a defensive rebuild?
Summary: Three regressing safeties, one regressing LB. The Reign aren't going to face any regression at CB - but after going 4-10 last season, what does their contending window look like?