Gotta remember that this is basically an evaluation year... 2 rookie QB's as backups = Let's get what we can out of this team this year and see what there is to work with. There is going to be allot of roster activity next offseason, the lockout killed any chance of evaluating and spending smart money on "playmakers" this season.
Depth in the secondary: Rogers is much better than Clements, and Spencer has his good and bad games, but after that there is a major drop in consistency. Brock is looking like an outstanding nickel CB, he still will make a mistake or two but that is why he is relegated to nickel duty. Culliver I think will start getting into the line up once he adjusts to the game (ie: learning opposing offenses and the route combinations WR's will use based on what coverage he is in). Brown is not starter caliber, and Williams & Smith are backups at best.
Fullback & 3rd TE: Norris needs to go, nuff said. Teams dont even try to cover him coming out of the backfield because they know even if he catches the check down everone on the defense can run him down before he gets 5 yards down the field. Miller looks promising but I imagine behind the scenes Gore is rallying for Norris to be his lead blocker as I can only remember Miller in at FB on a play or two while Hunter was in the backfield. This is where losing Byham has really hurt us. He can line up as the 3rd TE and split time as a FB as well as catch... those abilities alone open up a whole slew of options in a WCO. It may not have been noticable at first but losing Byham has effectively handicapped the deception of our running/play action plays. If Norris goes out on a wheel route... no one cares, Byham goes out on a wheel route and it will force a DE or LB to peel off on him opening up more space.
Youth: With the lockout its pretty obvious that the coaches are going with the more proven vets as they are more consistent and have seen more offenses before. But Hunter, Williams, Miller and Aldon need to get on the field more. With whatever is going on with Gore, VD getting double teamed, Ginn's doublecatching and Edwards & Crabs injured, the coaches need to put speed on the field in Hunter and Williams... along with miller because there is no way Norris is fast enough to get out infront of Hunter on sweeps. And Aldon... even if all he can do right now is rush the passer then why the F isnt he in there in the 4th quarter. He may not get the sack but he always gets good push, and gets his arms up to block the pass.
Basically the holes are similar to last year just not as big(Secondary, Passrush, FB), but the areas we were strong in last year we are way better this year (ILB, DL).
If they can get to 4-4 by week 8 and get Crabs, Edwards, Spencer, Goldson healthy and hopefully replace Norris... This team can easily go 6-2/5-3 to finish out the season and get a playoff birth, providing Alex can keep up his good game managing ways.
[ Edited by 5280High on Sep 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM ]