Do you remember in 2009 and 2010 seasons.... We had just lost our "core" players on defense.... It was the post-Dyanasty era... gone were Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Seymour, Colvin, Rodney Harisson, Junior Seau, etc. We had a whiny Adalius Thomas in 09. Mayo was just a young buck. Wilfork seemed new to the leadership role and maybe a bit too laid back for it. Meriweather was disgressing and showing signs of being a punk. Wheatley, Wilhite, and Darius Butler were all easy targets for QBs to pick on. Brady was still recovering from his traumatic knee-injury and re-gaining his form. We also had Randy "I play when I wanna play" Moss. A great player who is known to be a bit lazy. There was Late-Gate in 09 and rumors of locker room issues. We lost to the Ravens in the playoffs. Our team was soft. They got pushed around. Our team had no leadership. 2010 was a big comeback year but it still felt like the team got bullied at times. Like the playoff loss to the Jets. Did anyone feel like the teams toughness and leadership was MUCH improved last season? Now Brady is the unquestioned leader. He's much more vocal than he used to be, both on the field and on the sidelines. Watching Brady in 2007 and then watching him in 2011, its like seeing a boy transition into being a man (leadership wise). Brandon Spikes added a ton of toughness and intensity to the defense that Mayo doesn't bring. Patrick Chung is another lead by example guy and positive team influence. McCourty, while having a down year, is still a tough SOB at corner and plays the run well. He doesn't get roasted like the midget CB's we used to have. Wilfork seems more comfortable as a leader now. Gronkowski is probably the toughest TE in the league and an intimidating force. Great blocker and hard for defenders to bring down. BB got rid of the egos in the locker room (Adalius Thomas, Randy Moss) and started drafting players that were Captains on there college teams. Rookie Dont'a Hightower is a hard hitting, physical defender who is great at shedding blocks and is as big as any ILB I've ever seen (265lbs) IMO It took a couple years after the Dynasty-era players were gone, but it seems like our team finally has a high degree of toughness and leadership.