Thanks to NFL network I have had the luxury of watching several of the Pats games for a second and sometimes third time and in the words of Stan or Klye, "I've learned something today" For the first half or so of the year, we ran our normal defense. Coverage in the back eight was designed to look one way and then morphed into something different when the ball was snapped. It was difficult for opposing QBs to figure out where the double team was coming from. Then Colvin got hurt and Thomas goes to the outside and Junior steps in full time on the inside. At that point, the defense becomes very vanilla. I lot of the exotic sedondary looks disappear and we start playing teams straight up. Now we have 3 sometimes 4 rushers and the rest of the defense playing very soft zone. Opposing teams start to figure this out. Routes are adjusted to a.) hit the weak underneath spots in the zone and B.) test the deeper levels with longer routes. Opposing QBs growing less fearful of a blitz off the edge or up the gut are holding the ball a little longer. Suddenly opposing QBs are putting up good to great numbers against us and our pass rush is MIA. Even chicken little himslef Eli Manning looks like a stud hurling the ball down our throats. In the Jacksonville game, it looks like BB tried to go back to the exotic defense scheme and unfortunately for BB, the combination of Gay, Junior and Thomas missed the memo because in the first half of that game, we had slow footed Jacksonville WRs running wide open through tons of busted coverage plays. The Jacksonville QB looks like the second coming of Dan Marino. So in the second half of the game we go back to the vanilla defense, but then we blitz off of it to try and break the QB's rythem and we catch a break or two when the Jacksonville Wrs drop a couple of balls they should have caught. What does all this mean? I think when Colvin went down, it moved Thomas into a position he was not and still remains uncomfortable in. I think Thomas is struggling to adjust to the fact that we play a different defense every week. This has had a ripple affect through the entire defense and affected what types of schemes we can and can not run. Botom Line: BB has to create more base defense depth at LB for next season. Calling 38 year old men out of retirement is not the answer. To that end, he must have 3 reliable players for the base defense, not ST, for both the inside and outside. Now whether he does it through FA or through the draft remains to be seen, but at this point I would not be surprised to see us take an OLB in the first round (C Long or Gholston are the only ones I see as potential fits) as well as coming back late day 1 or early day 2 and taking an inside guy. Is this the year BB does what we have all been wanting him to do for the past 3 years? I think it is.