My gut is telling me the 2008 Pats will have the best defense we have seen them have since BB arrived. In 2006, we set a franchise record for fewest points allowed. In 2007 we ranked in the top 5 in yards, and went into the final game #1 in points allowed. In 2006 our defense was ripped apart in the second half of the AFCC. The reaction to that was that there was no built in problem, but that we had more than half of the defense on the sidelines, and the other half was sucking wind. BB made a few minor changes, essentially keeping the D intact, responding to the idea that there were no inherent flaws that would prevent this from being a Championship caliber defense. In 2007, it was a Championship caliber defense, up until the final 14:52 of the season. In MY opinion, what I saw in the that last 14:52, combined with the 2nd half of the 06 AFCC, DID uncover a fatal flaw, and we did/do not have a Championship caliber defense, simply for the reason that when a close game is on the line and the opponent moves into a '2 minute offense' we have weaknesses that are exposed. I see the 2008 off-season as a mission for BB to turn his defense into one that will carry the team to a Championship, regardless of the fact that we have an offense that just completed the best season an offense has ever had. I would like to think that I am knowledgable enough to isolate the issues, but realize that BB has the dual advantage of being better at assessing the issues, and better at fixing them than me. My approach would be to: 1) Find a nickel corner who is not the burnt toast that Randall Gay was in the SB. I saw Manning at least a dozen times, drop back, find 21, look nowhere else and throw at him, with recievers getting at least 2 steps on him, no matter the route. (They were typical 'quickness routes' where the receiver started inone direction then cutback in the other, with Gay VERY slow stopping and reacting) 2) Eliminate having Rodney Harrison in coverage in pass only, 2 minute type situations. The same issue that Gay had in the SB, Harrison had as well, with Manning zeroing in on him, and looking nowhere else. (Unfortunately there were many times when Gay and Harrisons man were in the same area of the field, so he had a choice) 3) Stop relying on the starting OLBs as the nickel pass rushers all day long. They are wearing down, and we need to get other players in the mix to allow Thomas and Vrabel to get some plays off, so they can rush the QB as effectively in the 2 minute at the end of a half or game as they do throughout the game. 4) I would also expect for BB to drive hard to enhance the strengths of the D. We are at its most basic a defense that will not be run on. This year we were run on in situations where we were far ahead and playing pass D, and in 'normal' situations defended the run well, just as we have every year he has been here since 2002. We were #1 in 3rd down conversions allowed and #4 in %. IMO, this is based more on SCHEME than players. I think we need to upgrade some players, potentially ILB, definitely nickel and dime DBs, and most likely Rodney Harrison for at least 1/3-1/4 of the snaps. MY ideas may or may not fit with what BB sees and does, but I have an incredibly strong feeling that he will look at the last 2 years, and determine that a 5% improvement in the defense, in the right situaitons, will make it truly dominant, and I feel like he is driven to get that done.