I am absolutely not concerned about LB or WR. We have witnessed BB win 3 SBs in 5 years, and do it at least equally because of defense, and mostly more because of defense than offense. There is a groundswell of worry about the LB postion, so lets look back and see the past vs the present. It would seem that everyone looks back fondly at the LB position from 01 to at least 04 if not last year as well especially after Bruschi returned. Starting in 01, the LB unit was made up of 1 certainty, Bruschi, plus McGinest but at the time we were a 43 team and McG was a DE. In 2001 we brought in totally unknown and unproven Mike Vrabel. We brought in Roman Phifer who was desinged to be a 3rd down cover guy ONLY. (BB specificially said this when he was signed) We brought in Bryan Cox who had little left, and barely played after being injured. We revived Ted Johnson off the scrap heap. (By the way TJ barely played in 01, was almost cut in 02, then almost quit when deactivated, was allowed to seek a trade in 03.) In 02 still in the 43, we has Phifer, Bruschi, Vrabel and no depth. By the way, Ted Johnson, when filling in for Bruschi may have been the worst MLB in the NFL. In 03 we added Colvin and went to the 34. He got hurt, Vrabel got hurt, and we won games with Matt Chatham starting. BB reinvented Roman Phifer as an ILB. (By the way, Phifer was no better vs the run than anyone on our current roster at ILB) We won the SB with McGinest, Vrabel playing about half the season, Colcin palying 2 games, and Matt Chatham at OLB. With Bruschi, Phifer and Ted Johnson, again a well below average LB inside. In 2004, we won the SB with basically the same crew. BB has fielded excellent defenses by converting a DE to OLB (McGinest was far from a rush only OLB in 03 and 04 and successfully handled a lot of duties his skillset was not best suited for) converting an OLB to ILB, a guy who was far from a strong 2gap take on the G ILB. (Im not knocking Phifer, he was just a huge stretch as an ILB skillset-wise) With an over the hill fill in who consistenty was run at and over filling in. With OLBs that were never fully healthy (if Vrabel and Colvin play 16 games, at full strength it will add up to at least as much as we ever got out of the 3 OLB rotation, because they were almost never all 3 healthy at full stength together). Its easy to fall into the trap that we 'knew' TJ even though he wasnt very good. That we 'knew' Phifer, even though he was very out of position at ILB. That Cox was a 'name' even though he hardly played in the SB run. BB has taken players some good, some bad, some known, some unknown, some in postion, some out of position, and always molded a strong LB unit. This year, the names are different (outside of the top 3) but if BB can have a great D with TJ and Phifer playing ILB, he can do it with Monte Beisel. If he can turn Chatham and Ted Johnson into depth and overcome injuries to LBs, he can figure out how to win with Chad Brown, Barry Gardner, TBC and a bunch of promising young guys as depth. At WR, Branch will be here, it makes no sense for him not to be. Last year, we had Branch, Givens, Brown and no one else who did much. My opinion is that Givens was a reflection of Brady, and that is not a novel opinion. Caldwell and Jackson replacing Givens and Dwight is an upgrade. Watson will be more invovled, the running game will be better. There is absolutely zero chance that the reason we do not win the SB this year is the WR position. My concerns are the secondary, and potentially OL. I think we have numbers in the secondary, but questions. I like Samuel, but why does he seem to be battling for a starting job? I know Wilson is a corner by trade, but how will he do there after not playing it for 3 years (IF he is going to)? I'm not ready to enshrine Hobbs, but he did have a good rookie year. Warfield seems like another in a long line of vet corners from other teams who come here and dont fit our scheme. Gay tome is fighting for a spot on the roster, and isnt someone I would consider a certain plus at corner. Chad Scott at this point is end of the bench/injury replacement depth. Rodney's health is a question. If he is out and Wilson moves to corner, what are we left with? Hawkins did OK, but is a converted corner. Sanders appears to be having a good camp, but lacks experience, and our track record in drafting safeties is questionable. Im Ok with Tebucky playing safety but would hope someone else keeps him off the field. Gus Scott? Who knows if he can play? There are many questions, but also many potential answers. My concern is relying on guys who 'did well for a while' ie Gay, Hobbs, Hawkins, within a unit. Its not rare for those type of guys to struggle at some point later; guys that may appear to be slipping (Samuel, Wilson) or guys that are unknown (Harrison due to health, Sanders, Scott) or guys that we do not yet know if they can play our system effectively, C Scott, Warfield. In the end it will of course be better than last year unless everyone gets hurt agian, but it must be a lot better than last year for this team to realize its potential. On the OL, a healthy line of Light-Mankins-Koppen-Neal-Kaczur backed up by Gorin, Hochstein, OCallahan, etc is very exciting. We will be a dominant O if that happens. But 60% of that OL has injury concerns. Having to rely on rookies or virtual rookies (Mruc, Yates, Britt etc) could drastically change the dynamic of the OL. I think with eveyone healthy we have a top 5 OL, but with many injuries, we will struggle to be consistent, especially against top Ds.