LB - Patriots are thin here, especially given how difficult the system is to learn. Bruschi, Colvin and Vrabel are all very good, but who's to say they won't get injured? Then what? Monty Beisel looked awful for much of last year. I guess there's some encouragement to be taken from DC Dean Pees, who called Monty "a totally different player by the end of last season." Not exactly enough to make me happy he'll be a starter for us. Who's left? Tully Banta-Cain might be ready, but he hasn't shown a lot yet. Ryan Claridge MIGHT be good, but he hasn't even played a down in the NFL. Ditto for the actual rookies like Jeremy Mincey and Freddie Roach - Pasquarelli reports that the Patriots coaches "like what they've seen" from those two, but that was a freakin' minicamp during which no pads were worn and no real hitting took place. Who else? Eric Alexander? Eh. He's been around as "potential," learning the system for a couple of P.S. years. Hardly a guy you can count on. Barry Gardner is a sort of who-cares type, like Mallard last year. So...we better hope a couple of those "mights" become "ares" or the LB corps could be a big Achilles heal. DB - If Asante Samuel and Geno Wilson had taken a big leap last year, particularly in the face of Rodney's absence, I'd feel a lot better about this group. Asante played decently toward the end of the year, but neither shone like we expected they would, just as a natural progression, experience-wise. Randall Gay joins Asante as a solid+ player who has trouble staying healthy. Hard to really count on them. Artrell Hawkins was a pleasant surprise and showed that the Pats secondary can play well with him out there at S, and can also play CB. Chad Scott was better than expected 'til he got injured, but given his age is hardly someone to count on. Ellis Hobbs was terrific, really helped turn the team around in the 2nd half - 'though it helped that Seymour and Bruschi came back, ripple effect-wise - and I expect a good showing from him this season. James Sanders is a guy from whom we could see a leap forward, at least according to Rodney Harrison, who seems to like him some. There's a bunch of nice-ish young players here who, like similar to the LB situation, MIGHT make up a very good group, but it's impossible to say. Not a good feeling. Bringing Ty Law back into the fold would be a big help.