off-season is nothing but conjecture and speculating. If any of us, including the sports writers, were any good at it, we'd all be millionaires.
True. Most mags can't trend particularly well, either: they see who did well last year, pencil them in, and look for a couple teams who had a nice draft or whatever to be the upstarts. Reality is, the really solid teams build long term.
Unfortunately, my gut says we've allowed the defense to slip some over that long term, growing old and injury-prone without loading up playmakers to replace them.
Let's look at potential impact players added over the past 5 years:
2010: Despite some murmuring that rookies will be more involved, the only guy I can see being used this season would be OLB Worilds, and even then only in rotation. Think Ziggy Hood's 2009 season, unless one of the starters gets hurt. Good early reports on Crezdon Butler at CB, but scant opportunities IMO, a few packages at best. Don't expect to see OLB Gibson, ILB Sylvester, or DE Worthington at all.
2009: DE Hood, still probably won't start, but may see more time in rotation, especially since starters are aging. CBs K. Lewis and Burnett are in a big year, and early reports on Lewis (cf.: Ike) are promising; if he and Burnett (cf.: D. Townshend) can step up, secondary may be in better shape than last year's mess would lead us to believe. DE Sunny Harris looks like a backup.
2008: LB Bruce Davis is gone. Fail. LB Mike Humpal is gone, due to injuries; losing a R6 guy isn't as painful as a R3. S Ryan Mundy is still around, and appears to be JAG.
2007: ILB Timmons is a solid player with flaws. OLB LaMarr Woodley is very good. DE Ryan McBean is, I believe, a Bronco now. CB William Gay got beaten like a crack whore last year, and can only be considered a NCB, IMO.
2006: S Anthony Dumbass Smith is now a Packer, IIRC. DT Orien Harris is a lazy assed Bengal backup. Fail, fail.
Not a stunning haul on D, unless meant in the negative. DL has Ziggy Hood, maybe, and no NT; why should it? Nose isn't worth much in the 30 front. LBs are apparently going to be used across the line and in the secondary: I see 3 of 7 or maybe 4 of 7 of that group panning, with OLB looking solid and ILB looking thin and old. Yes, we have some backups in Foote and Fox, none of whom is bathing in the fountain of youth. CB is a big, big question mark, with class of '09 the make or break, IMO. S is a god-forsaken mess in terms of depth and future, and if Troy gets hurt again, the future is now: bleak.
Even with all the OL issues and hopeful Darwin candidate Bruce Arians fucking us at every turn, I still see a brighter future for the offense than the D, by trends.