3 ~ The D Line
The D Line is not going to acquire the dominating aggregation of talent that I had wished it would...but it is, nevertheless, not exactly time to slit our throats
~ NT Vince Wilfork
is The Man, and still at his Peak.
~ DE Ty Warren
should play very solidly this year, particularly after he's had a month or two to break himself back in.
~ DE Marcus Stroud
is a guy who I'm actually quite jazzed we got, and who could very well provide superior play at the other End. What really excites me about him, most of all, is that ~ despite conflicting reports out of Beefalo ~ this is a guy who, unlike Gerard Warren, made his name stopping the Run. I think he's going to be a tremendous
asset on 1st and 2nd downs.
~ DE Kade Weston
was a Binky of mine, a year ago, and commands an exceptional skill set that could very well translate into an exciting, play making contributor this year: my early Dark Horse candidate.
~ DL Ron Brace
had an inconsistent year, but that, need we forget, is to be expected. Coming into his 3rd year, there is actually very good reason to anticipate a significant improvement in both his consistency and his overall quality of play, this year.
~ UT Myron Pryor
is a guy who I strongly suspect will make a nice move forward, this year, after a rough Sophomore season, mostly as a Sub Pack cat.
~ DE Brandon Deaderick
I don't know about, after the sketchy way his season ended. But how wonderfull is it, to be able to go this far down the line, before bringing his name up?? That alone is testimony to the improved Quality of Depth over a year ago, wish more though I might. And if Deaderick straightens himself out, all the better.
~ UT Mike Wright.
If he gradually gets himself healthy and takes it through the gears by Halloween or so, then we'll be sitting pretty, indeed.
4 ~ The Flankers
~ Jermaine Cunningham
gave us a lot of reason to hope for an enormous
jump in production, this year. As we all know, learning the Flanker gig in this Defense is one of the most complicated, complex, and difficult undertakings out
there, as Willie McGinest
, himself, discussed just a couple of days ago, when the stunning move of Mario Williams
was brought up. Now that he's done the heavy lifting, so to speak, I expect that a young man with his tremendous physical skills and cerebral powers will start playing light years
more instinctively than he did last year...with explosive results.
~ Rob Ninkovich.
See Above. Although he doesn't command the composite skill set of Mister Cunningham, it says here that Mister Ninkovich's skill set is vastly under rated by the vast majority. It bears repeating that that position of theirs is extremely complicated, and for the two of them to come in with about 5 minutes of combined experience, get thrust into starting roles, and play as well as they did, last year...was astonishing.
Ninkovich's physical skill set is not Cunningham's equal, but his instincts are his superior's
, and he is a scrappy, wily, disciplined opportunist ~ jumbo shrimp?? ~ who I expect to take an enormous leap forward, this year. Again: the heavy lifting, like that of Cunningham's...is behind him. NOW...instinct takes over. And I strongly suspect that most fans are going to be shocked
at how well these two play.
I will append, however, that I would absolutely love
to see us haul in Mathias Kiwanuka
and/or Manny Lawson
, when Free Agency returns: We are far better off than 1 year ago, but I would still love to see us improve our Depth of Talent, here: There's far
too precipitous a drop off, behind our current top guys, for such an important position, though I am
a fan of Eric Moore.
5 ~ The Defense
I presume nothing ~ and I sure as hell would've preferred that we'd acquired more Depth of Talent, because injuries happen and I don't believe in taking unneeded chances ~ but my prognosis remains utterly unchanged from what it was a year ago, and throughout this past season:
This is a young Defense of exceptional
aggregate talent and skill, and one that has put all the worst of its growing pains behind it. It is better coached than any D in the Game, and with so many young, talented, and vital players about to reap the rewards of intensive study and hard work, and launch their Games to a far more instinctive, and far more effective and impactfull level ~
~ DL Ron Brace
~ DF Jermaine Cunningham
~ DF Rob Ninkovich
~ MF Brandon Spikes
~ CB Devin McCourty
~ and with the immense impact that their improvement should have on the more seasoned players, who'll now be able to focus far more on their core responsibilities...the impact of simple experience ~ to say nothing of the return of injured key players ~ could be seismic.
I cannot wait
to see this crew go back to work.
6 ~ The O Line
Oh, man, am I JACKED about Bill The Mad's O Line moves!!
With the accession of Nate "Universal" Solder, Marcus "Howitzer" Cannon, and Lee "The Myth" Smith, our O Line is prepared ~ come Halloween, or so, once these guys are more or less clicking ~ to launch into CRUSHING...SMASHING...DEMOLISHING...DOMINANCE.
No joke: Coach Bill has finally answered my prayers ~ and that of many others ~ and assembled 5/6ths ~ including Tight End ~ of a MURDERERS ROW of TERROR.
We are simply going to DESTROY people.
7 ~ The Running Game
While I was appalled that we burned a 3rd Rounder on Stevan Ridley
, I was delighted
at the notion that we are now either going to be 4 Deep with young, strong, healthy Running Backs ~ an unprecedented situation that I have long prayed for ~ or are going to be 3 deep ~ still pretty damned good and unprecedented ~ with the added bonus of extracting a probable 2nd Rounder for BenJarvus Green.
Far more importantly, though, is the advent of Shane "The Machine" Vereen.
For my money, he is Mark Ingram's
, lady and gentlemen, and the fact that we traded Ingram for him and a 1st Rounder is just ridiculous.
Brother Maine has expounded with exquisite eloquence about how crippling
Green's limitations are to our overall Offense: in a word, his limited ability to create on his own often necessitated our leaving in additional blockers. Even worse, this being a known problem, his presence in the backfield went a ways towards tipping our hand as to what we would be doing with our Tight Ends, thus obviating the explosive ~ and potentially dominant ~ advantage that the exciting hybrid skill sets our Tight End crew brings.
None of which is to say that Green ~ or Ridley ~ don't play important roles in this Offense.
But the ability to bring a potentially elite caliber Flex Back ~ yes: elite
caliber ~ such as Shane Vereen, could very well produce a spectacular
impact on our Run Game: This is a guy who is equally adept between the Tackles and
Outside, and who's patience, diagnostic skills, processing speed, and vision suggest that he will be both unpredictable to the enemy, and often devastating.
8 ~ The Offense
The Ripple Effect of bringing in these 4 guys ~ Solder, Cannon, Smith, and Vereen ~ should, frankly, once they're all clicking with the rest of the boys, produce a profound
affect on our ability to run the ball:
And against whomever
And the combination of a suddenly dominant Running Game, combined with a deadly Passing Game, behind the greatest QuaterBack of this or any era...could wreak utter, screaming HAVOC on the rest of the League.
9 ~ 3 - 5 Year Prognosis
This may sound like Crazy Talk, but ~ my misgivings about our Depth of Talent in the Defensive Front 7 not withstanding ~ Coach Bill The Mad has assembled a team that is capable of going on a 3 to 5 year run that Legends are made of: an epic run that could quite possibly include a 19-0 Season...and even a ThreePeat.