Defense. I see only more of the same plus imporvement from the SECOND HALF of last year, and we were one of the best defenses in the NFL then. DL. Better. The starting 3 remains the same solid, excellent group. Sullivan is an UPGRADE to depth. He has tools and after watching the Washington game, Isee a guy hustling and working hard on the field, contrary to what we have heard showed up in NO. Green returns, Wright will be improved in his second year. We have the best starting DL in the NFL, and we may also have the best depth. LB. It looks like we will go from:to ILB Bruschi all the snaps, plus Vrable half the snaps: Bruschi all the snaps, Seau half the snaps OLB Colvin most of the snaps, McGinest most of the snaps, Vrabel the rest: Colvin most of the snaps, Vrabel most of the snaps, TBC the rest (with the rest being fewer than Vrabel played) I dont see any significant difference in the depth behind these guys or much opportunity for them last year or this. CB: Improved. Samuel has taken some criticism on this board. I dont know why. I guess when you play in a secondary along with weak players like Starks and Stone and Freeman, you get lumped in. Samuel has looked excellent in pre-season, but that is the same way he has looked to me since coming here. Hobbs was a capable starter in the second half of last year and remains the same. We are much, much deeper if we stay healthy, but also have better reserve depth if we see injuries again. SAFETY: MUCH better. Rodney is back. Sanders is better a year later. From #4 safety through however many make the squad we are better also. Offense: QB: Brady is Brady, but he appears even more focussed than normal, which is remarkable. RB: We are better with Dillon healthy. We are better with Maroney if Dillon isnt healthy. Faulk is Faulk. Maroney looks to me like the typical NFL RB that puts up 1500 yards a season, given the opportunity. Whether its 1500 or 400, he adds a lot to this offense. WR/TE: Watson has arrived. We are replacing Givens with players WE don't have the comfort level with, but the coaching staff appears to. We MAY BE doing the same with Branch. IMO, we are going to find out this year that the production of our WRs has more to do with Brady than with them. However, this is an area that appears to have seen decline. Brady must compensate and make them better than they seem as of today. OL: MUCH improved. Trading Gorin says BB feels the next starter in line is better. Whether than is OCallahan or Kaczur, we appear to have improved there. Koppen and Light back at full strength is a major upgrade. Special teams: K. Vinatieri didn't have clutch kicks to make last year. Absent of clutch kicking, I see no difference in this position with Gostkowski in his place. Given the need for clutch kicking, we will see. This would be a downgrade from Vinatieri in 2001-2003, but Vinaitieri of 2005-06 is not Vinaitieri of 01-03. P. Same Return game. Whether its Bethel and Dwight, or Maroney and Andrews, or Faulk, or whoever, we had and have capable returnmen and the production in the return game will hinge on blocking. Compared to the second half of last season, I think our blocking on return units will be imporved because we will be adding faster, younger and stronger players to the back end of the roster than we had after scouring the waiver wire for injury replacements. Overall, I think it is virtually certain this team is better than the 2005 version. Thats all good and well, but the reality is how they will compare to 03-04, because success will be defined by a SB Championship or not. My gut says offensively we are going to be better than those 2 years, and defensively we have the potential to be, but also the potential of not being that good.