I'm reposting my predictions from earlier in the season as an illustration of why this team is still the way it is. The fact that we have more talent (I really do think we are better off talent-wise), and the fact that a few pieces still remain the same as they have been throughout this rebuild, basically made it somewhat predictable of how this team would finish this year. When we are still banking on a QB who obviously doesn't have the tools to play at the highest level consistently, we were asking too much of David Lee. When our offense is based solely on whatever comes out of Spiller, because we can't trust our QB to throw over 7 yards, we are predictable. When we have a Head Coach who has never lasted on a team for an extended period of time as a Head Coach, and yet still has Tyler Thigpen on the team, and makes questionable decisions during every game, there is a problem.
I've posted this before in various commments, but Gailey is probably one of the worst "over-raters" of talent that he has. He is always willing to work with what he's got almost to the point of settling for mediocrity, and appreciates his "working relationships" way too much, and Fitzpatrick has become the worst example of it. Quite frankly, this team needs some people who don't always work well with others, because at least there would be a little fire underneath them!
Anyways, here are the predictions from August. The bottom line is, this team is still in rinse/repeat mode until the HC and Fitz-"magic" are gone, that's really all there is to it. We will continue to have zero chance if either of them return, and I mean EVEN IF we get a new QB and Gailey remains as coach. (PS lets all stop giving people cool nicknames before they prove to be truly talented, only gives us more false hope, Amish-Rifle was probably one of the worst since he has anything but a rifle)
And one more thing to remember, we will be the "sleeper" team to make the playoffs, when NOBODY thinks we will make the playoffs. Everyone and their Grandmother was picking us to be the "sleeper" team at the beginning of this season. Not really a "Sleeper" when everyone has you pegged.
I'd say the defense has improved, but it did take a vast majority of the season to do so. I still think they have quite a lot of room for improvement even with their existing personnel, although LB is just rediculously poor. The offense has peaked, and there is no room for improvement with the current players. Get a new QB, and start from there. WR could use some help too.
I hate to be the only one who doesn’t think the playoffs are coming, but also feeling there won’t be much improvement either. All of our chances of being a “sleeper” team went out the window when every broadcaster in America picked us to make the playoffs this year. On top of everything, QB WR and LB remain issues in my mind.
I know many won’t agree with me, but here goes anyways:
1. Fitzpatrick has a repeat performance of 2012 stats, or actually performs worse, giving the team serious doubt about their QB situation. His inconsistency still reigns supreme, tarnishing much of the hope that David Lee brought to the equation.
2. Defensive Line actually lives up to it’s expectations and truly is a menace to the opposing QBs, and may help keep us in games. But the Defensive Line isn’t scoring us any points.
3. Defense overall improves, but not enough to make us win many more games if any. Cornerbacks show burst of potential mixed with letdowns because of their inexperience, but will prove to be solid in coming years.
4. Team finds that it really does need a serious upgrade to the Linebackers and Wide Receiver position. Late Round picks and undrafted players sometimes pan out and make for a great story, but the team realizes it needs some star power and potential there.
5. Another 6 -10 season, or 7 – 9, pushing us far enough away from a solid QB pick in the draft, thus creating the same repeat problem of do we stay where we are and take who falls to us, or do we actually make the ballsy move and trade up for the QB we have scouted and want.
I sincerely hope I’m wrong, because I know we have gone through a lot to improve the team. But in my mind, that is just how big a difference the QB position can make, especially when the team is historically slow starters in games.