The most obvious upgrades are the returning players who were on injured last year: Brady, Thomas and Maroney. Let's also look at ADDITIONAL upgrades to the various units. ================================================================= OFFENSE BOTTOM LINE Major improvements with the return of Brady and Maroney, and the additions of Taylor, Baker and Matthews. Backup QB not much change from O'Connell to Hoyer, although an upgrade should be coming in next week. RUNNING BACK Taylor is again, but we have no fullback. WIDE RECEIVER Galloway and Edleman for Gaffney should be a wash TIGHT END upgrade at starter with Baker upgrade at #3 blocking back with Matthews OFFENSIVE LINE BACKUPS This should be an upgrade when LeVoir is back with the additions of Simmons and Vollmer. ============================================================== DEFENSE The defense has changed. The question is whether we will better overall, and especially on 3rd down and in the red zone. DEFENSIVE LINE The base unit has had a significant downgrade. Wright or Green will start in place of Seymour. The passing unit should be improved with addition of Burgess and Banta-Cain, but that doesn't make up for the loss of Seymour. LINEBACKERS This is a downgrade from last year. Guyton/Alexander 2009 may or may be equal to Bruschi/Guyton of 2008. Woods (with help from Banta-Cain) 2009 may or may not be an upgrade over Vrabel 2008. Obviously, the return of Thomas will offset some of the loss. SAFETIES I believe that McGowan and Chung will upgrade the contribution from this position as backups and special teamers. CORNER This is the critical upgrade that must make up from the losses of Seymour and Vrabel. And it certainly could do so. Bodden and Springs major, major upgrades over Hobbs and O'Neal. Wilhite has learned a lot and is better than any nickel we had last year. And we could get some contributions from Butler and Wheatley, or not. SPECIALISTS Ingram should be an adequate replacement for our snow angel. SPECIAL TEAMS The defensive units should be as good as last year. There will be some downgrade at kick returner. I like Maroney, but he isn't as good a returner as Hobbs.