mansquatch wrote:Yes, But…
…it really depends on how guys develop.
The fact that they did not draft LB might mean several things: Are they really high on Jasper Brinkley? Maybe they think EG can play mike? This draft class was very weak at LB, that may also have played a role. In that case you cannot fault them for not wasting a late round pick on a guy they may have felt had no shot of making the cut in the NFL?
I think the question at DT are reasonable, but is Guion that much of a drop (or even a drop) from Remi last year? Not sure on that.
Things will change before the season opener, but my guess is these will be the areas of biggest concern:
1.) OL: Does the plan for Charlie Johnson at LG and the competition for RG pan out. What happens with Phil Loadholt? The latter is, I think, the biggest question?
2.) WR: Probably the biggest question of all: Harvin and then who? Ideally Simpson can be a force post suspension and Jenkins can provide steady production, but will it happen? After those two long shots the depth chart gets ugly unless one of our draft picks can be a surprise. Childs could be that guy if his injuries are behind him, but NFL WR typically take a few seasons to emerge. I think this will continue to be a weak position group aside from Harvin. If the TE perform, that could offset to some degree… Harvin really just needs another receiving threat, it doesn’t need to be a WR.
3.) TE: We see where we are going with this position, but does it pan out? Does Carlson stay healthy and does Rudy step up as a full time receiving threat?
4.) LB: Who is in the middle? I think this is bit over blown given that the passing we face in our division will increase the time we spend in nickel and we are solid with EH and CG in that package. As I said above was it a weak class or are the coaches high on JB and/or EG?
5.) DB: Does Cook come back strong, does Smith pan out at Safety, does Winfield have another year in the tank, if not who steps up? Is Allen solid in Nickel? Does Raymond improve at S? Etc. Etc. Etc. I think this group will be improved in 2012 after being over hyped for the 1st half of thes season, assuming they stay healthy.
6.) Of course it is all moot, if Ponder can’t get better. I think he’ll be better, but the question is how much better. The rest of the above means crap if he keeps tossing picks like he did last year.
Good analysis. I'm pretty much on the same page with you. Regarding Ponder, I'm sure we'll still see some growing pains in the form of mental mistakes but if the receiving (including TE) and OL play improves around him, that should help him play better. Ponder finished last season with 13 TDs to go with his 13 INTs. If the talent around him can put him in better positions, he may respond with better play and change that ratio to favor TDs.
Overall, as you said, improved depth is really going to depend on how a lot of players develop. At this point, I don't think we can say with any certainty that the team's depth is significantly better but it should
be and hopefully, the opportunity for the coaching staff to actually work with the players for a full offseason will help everybody's development.