I can think of no more appropriate day than this one, on which to resurrect this Thread. On The Brink I think we are on the verge of something special, Gentlemen. In fact, I believe that our Defense's stunning domination of the high-powered Planet Hoosten Offense on Monday Night will prove to be only the beginning ~ a glorious Harbinger of Great Things Yet To Come. I believe that the vast majority of my Fellow Fans ~ respectfully submitted, and with the obvious exception of Brother Mayo ~ have no idea what is about to transpire with our Secondary...and our Defense. Of course, that statement might appear hideously presumptuous. But I presume nothing, Gentlemen!! It is merely a Prediction. The Quickening ~ An Harbinger of Great Things Yet To Come The Impact of Confidence ~ and Monday's astonishing Rout can only infuse an Ocean of Confidence into our Defender's veins ~ can be colossal. ...especially if it's supported by months of relentless Work and a great deal of Talent. These are the very same guys ~ except for Aqib Talib replacing Ras I Dowling, of course ~ that were flailing around madly, the first 6 weeks of the season... Yet with the flat out brilliant structural Reconfiguration of Responsibilities & Roles, since then...and several weeks, now, to acclimate themselves to the Roles and to playing with each other within those roles...things have really started to click. And when things start to click ~ when Instinct takes over ~ phenomenal things can start to happen. Indeed, I believe that they have already begun. Consider, if you will: 8 Weeks Ago 1 ~ Devin McCourty ~ Mired in inconsistency. A talented Player, but at the wrong Position. 2 ~ Kyle Arrington ~ Last year's Great Story was this year's Epic Disaster. 3 ~ Steve Gregory ~ A smart Player, but toiling through occasionally hideous Growing Pains. 4 ~ Pat Chung ~ Not allowed to travel outside FoxBoro without an Armed Escort. The Reconfiguration of Roles & Other Changes 1 ~ Alfonzo Dennard ~ the 2nd Round Talent we stole in the 7th explodes onto the scene. 2 ~ Devin McCourty ~ this allows Mad Bill's Master Stroke: Move McCourty to Free Safety. This instantly improves four Positions: 3 ~ Dennard's a better Corner than McCourty, but ~ far more importantly ~ McCourty has the potential to be an outstanding Free Safety, and we've all watched'm rapidly grow into the position, since Week 6. 4 ~ This in turn allows us to boot Chung to the bench, and allow the wily but only marginally talented Steve Gregory to focus on more of an hybrid "Strong Safety/2nd Free Safety" role, which is far better suited to'is skillset than the pure Cover 2 Role that he previously sucked at. 5 ~ And all those changes ~ The Ripple Effect that I wrote about ~ in turn freed up Brandon Spikes and the other MidFielders to play to their strengths: Spikes averaged a measly 4.33 Tackles per Game through Week #6, but has exploded for 7.86 Tackles per Game, since then...but his Impact since The McCourty Move has been far more intimidating than mere Tackles. 6 ~ To top it all off, The Aqib Talib Trade allowed us to boot Kyle Arrington down to Slot Corner...and Arrington has caught fire since that move, tearing up the field, making Plays, and holding his Targets to an astonishing 5 for 19 over the last 4 weeks!! 7 ~ Talib himself has worked through the expected Growing Pains, but he, too, has improved by leaps and bounds, and his exquisitely tenacious coverage of Andre Johnson, Monday Night, was an essential part of the phenomenal Night our Defense put out there, as this much-maligned Defense demoted Planet Hoosten from the #2 Offense to the #4 Offense in a single Night!! Our Secondary ~ Present Day!! 1 ~ Aqib Talib ~ Rapidly becoming our best CornerBack since Ty Law. Say no more. 2 ~ Alfonzo Dennard ~ Rapidly becoming our best #2 Corner since...Well, you tell me. 3 ~ Kyle Arrington ~ Already a phenomenal Slot Corner. 4 ~ Devin McCourty ~ Born to play Free Safety. We could really have something special, here. 5 ~ Steve Gregory ~ No superstar, by any means, but a smart, scrappy, and athletic Safety who has Flipped The Switch and transformed from a scary Weakness to a definite Strength, over the last few weeks. What I See Through The Looking Glass There's no denying it: What was a nightmarish weakness, a mere 8 weeks ago, has evolved ~ precisely as foretold, Brothers!! ~ into a decided Strength. But what really fills me with a sense of anticipatory awe...is that these guys have only just begun to realize how good they can be. I'm not being funny, Gents: I believe that Monday Night will prove to be an eye opener for every one of the guys on this Defense on a dramatic scale: Only now, I think, do they realize how very, very Good they can be. I mean: They shut Planet Hoosten down. I presume nothing, Ladies & Laddies...But I believe that ~ come MidNight ~ the Defense that most people will be talking about won't be San Fransisco's... It'll be ours. A Few Fresh Predictions!! 1 ~ The Patriots ~ not the Miners ~ will bring the Dominant Defense, tonight. 2 ~ Brandon Spikes ~ with only 5 Tackles, ere the last 2 weeks ~ will pile up 10, tonight...or will in any case wield a comparably dominant effect on the outcome of this Game. 3 ~ The Patriots Defense will hold the Miners to 13 Points...or less. 4 ~ It will be cool.