Is Defense The Word Leaguewide?

It's been nothing new for the Vikings to go through defensive coordinators at a clip of about one a year for the last several seasons. But, with a new emphasis on defense, the NFL is following suit.

For several years in the NFL, making changes on offense has been the rule. With more than half of the teams in the league now running some form of the West Coast Offense, being ahead of the curve more often means duplicating what has worked for the 49ers, Packers, Eagles and Rams of seasons past.

The tide toward defense has swung dramatically in the last few years, with teams like the Ravens, Bucs and Patriots winning the last four Super Bowls on the strength of a strong defense and a "get it done" offense.

The result has been that the defensive "have nots" of the league have been pressed into making changes. That has been nothing new for the Vikings, who haven't had the same defensive coordinator for more than two years since Foge Fazio stomped the sidelines.

Ted Cottrell is just the latest in the defensive revolving door for the Vikings, but we are from alone. A total of 15 teams -- almost half of the entire NFL -- will have a new defensive coordinator this year, and it isn't coaches moving up through the ranks anymore.

The new coaches include former head coaches Gregg Williams, Dick Jauron, Dick LeBeau and Wade Phillips -- with other former head coaches holding "consultant" titles.

While offensive innovation remains the rage, the tolerance for defensive futility, especially in light of the last four Super Bowl champions all coming from defensive-minded teams, has shrunk. While 15 new defensive coordinators in one year sets an NFL record, the message is being sent -- you win with defense in the NFL now and you have to come up with ways to be innovative on that side of the ball as well.

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