The ninth in our Ten To Defend series is senior safety Tony Joiner.
Gone are Reggie Nelson, Ryan Smith, and Reggie Lewis. In their place are true freshmen (Joe Haden), a Haitian special teams badass (Wondy Pierre-Louis), and a converted RB (Markus Manson). That means not only will Joiner have to fill the intimidator role vacated by Nelson, he will have to pick up for the inexperience around him.
Most people, including myself, did not appreciate the impact Ryan Smith had. As a lock down corner, Nelson could stay over the top and Joiner could commit to the run. Now, it will be Joiner playing center field.
Since Nelson is so beloved, there is a feeling that everything behind him will be below average. But Joiner and free safety Kyle Jackson will have successful seasons. As long as they help in coverage and not worry about decleating people.