WF Jerod Mayo Jerod Mayo has been essential in holding down this fort, while Bill The Mad (Genius) built this Defense around him and Vince Wilfork. For 4 long years, Mayo has born the responsibility of quarterbacking a young and sometimes awful crew of MidFielders, while also dealing with the consequences of the growing pains of a similarly young and occasionally awful Front Line...while even yet attempting to master his own responsibilities as he evolved into the player he is, now. He has been...amazing. I can't wait to see what he's finally going to be able to do, now that ~ with young, talented, and bloodthirsty players at long last locked into all Front 7 spots and a strong Secondary behind him ~ he's finally going to be able to just play. Jerod Mayo's best is yet to come, Ladies and Laddies. I sincerely believe that he is poised for Greatness. MF Brandon Spikes Speaking of guys whose best we have not yet seen... Brandon Spikes is a guy who I lobbied for relentlessly in the Spring of 2010, whose selection had me doing cartwheels, and who I staunchly defended when he was under fanfire, exactly one year ago. He commands phenomenal Processing Speed, he is a violently passionate, infectiously enthusiastic, ferocious Defender and Natural Born Leader, and he will, now that he's healthy, make everyone around him better. Mark my words. Even as it is, many still doubt him, especially in Coverage. Well, my stance hasn't changed in 3 years. And while I concede that he's not the best Coverage LineBacker in the world, I'm here to tell you that most of his problems have been because his injuries ~ and one LockOut ~ have impeded his development of his Mastery of our Scheme. With a full off season to integrate things with his crew, with good health, and with everybody now settled into their roles for long enough to get some intensive training in, together...I'm calling for Brandon Spikes to make a Quantum Leap forward, this year: commanding the MidFielder Crew, piling up dozens of Tackles, and wreaking havoc, baby!! SF Donta HighTower Donta HighTower is incredibly Instinctive at this early stage: His Diagnostic Acuity and Processing Speed are through the roof, and while he's best suited for the outside, he's another Field General, out there. He's just adequate Athletically, but an absolutely terrifying Beast against the Run: He sheds Blocks like fleas, and commands an unstoppable combination of Core Strength, Fluidity, Field Vision, and Mechanics. Even in Coverage, where his Verticity ~ Turn + Burn Acuity, to you Earthlings!! ~ isn't the greatest, his rapid Processing Speed and extraordinary Field Vision will go a long way, despite his average Athleticism. MF Mike Rivera I'm not really impressed with Rivera's skill set at this point, but I certainly like his Work Ethic. Beyond that, there's not much I can say at this early juncture. Fortunately, he's effectively the 3rd Mike, but I badly miss Dane Fletcher. Positional Prospectus 1 ~ The upside of having all three starting MidFielders have the Diagnostic Acuity, the Processing Speed, and the experience to play Mike ~ the Field General ~ can not be overstated. When I think of the immense synergistic possibilities of these three brilliant, exceptional athletes mindmelding over the next few years...I get dizzy!! 2 ~ I consider the Mike MidFielder position to be utterly vital to our Championship Quest, so I was horrified when we lost Dane Fletcher for the year. But when you consider that we actually have no less that three young, All Pro Talent level players who could man the middle and do so at an high level...our Depth of Talent is actually quite awesome!! 3 ~ As mentioned in the Dragoon post, the fact that we've got no less than six Dragoons ~ at least three of whom could step right into a Sam MidFielder or Will MidFielder role, and the rest of whom could cover that move ~ renders our effective MidFielder Depth of Talent...phenomenal!! The Future 1 ~ You can never have too much Depth of Talent, so I hope we'll always keep an eye out for Fresh Blood and additional Depth of Talent to go with Dane Fletcher when he returns...But I have to say, right now, that I would be thrilled to roll with this particular crew for the next several years!!