Dowling is a real X-factor for us next year. By the end of the game, I realized that CB play had actually become a strength of ours with Dennard and Talib playing. Dennard was a huge bright spot for us yesterday. He's become a damn fine player. If Dowling could be healthy, we're talking about the potential of a top 10 CB trio IMO.
Originally Posted by Kucka
Then at safety I think McCourty is a great FS and Tavon Wilson would make a good 3rd safety/sub package specialist (not sure he's comfortable enough covering downfield to be a starting safety - he's more comfortable up near the line covering from there). Gregory is a smart player, but anything that requires too much athleticism and physical talent is a struggle for him. Ideally, he's replaced this offseason (although I think they can live with him at SS if they make the needed improvements in other areas.
Our defensive needs (assuming Talib is resigned becase that's an obvious necessity:
1./2.) Another pass rush threat off the edge/up the middle.
We need two pass rushers this offseason - one that pushes the middle from the DT spot and another Mark Anderson type specialist off the edge. I'm assuming Jones will be much better/more consistent next season, but I still believe we need another premium pass rusher (even if it's just a specialist) to help the nickel D. Rotate those guys and always have fresh pass rusher flying off the edge. And in the middle, they need someone next to Wilfork that gets a push. Love is just a plugger (which is valuable, don't get me wrong) and Deadrick is a solid player, but not good enough. Should be a backup.
3.) Slot CB
Dennard played great and really came on this season. He and Talib are a good starting tandem. The slot CB spot is still a problem though. Arrington is smart and tackles, but he can't cover for ****. He's better in the slot, but he still shouldn't be playing. Dowling is the answer if healthy, but that's a big if. You can't fix everything in one offseason, so I don't see too much turnover here if Talib is resigned. I think they'll go into next year with Talib and Dennard starting, Dowling given the opportunity to earn the slot job and Arrington/Cole waiting in the wings.
4.) Coverage LB
I like all three of our starting LBs, but we need a reserve behind them that can cover. A vet FA signing would be perfect here.
5.) Starting SS
Gregory is smart and instinctive, but he isn't very fast or strong. He can't make plays unless it's out of deceiving the offense. If we fix all the things above, he's fine. But this is probably the easiest position to fill of all the needs I've listed so I'd be wary of I'm Gregory.