Even Walterfootball.com seem to be jumping on to the bandwagon that this will be the year that we finally remove the albatross of not having made the playoffs this millenium. Walter is predicting a 11-5 record and his pre-season assessment makes for an interesting read.
Some issues that have not been mentioned are as follows and I wonder what fellow fans think?
1: Backup QB - I'm not completely convinced by either Thigpen or Young as the No2 behind Fitzpatrick. With the departure of Brown (?) we don't have a developmental QB in the system and I definitely think this will be addressed in the 2013 draft, likely on the first two days
2: the No2 WR position and Tight End - no mention of Marcus Easley or TJ Graham as lining up opposite Steve. I do hope Easley steps up as we will have one of the deepest corps in the league. Chandler has been a serviceable TE, but with the increasingly prominence of this position, and Chan's increasing use of it, I don't think he is one of the best. If we are drafting in the 20s next April, I would like Tyler Eifert to be the first name out of the hat, as I think he could be our Gronkowski (incidently the guy I wanted us to take instead of Troup)
3: the move to the 4-3 alignment. I hope we go all the way rather than some sort of hybrid 4-3/3-4 defense. Lets make a full commitment to the one defensive alignment and if necessary, use the camp to pack the roster with guys who can definitely make the full transition, rather than keep players based on contract size and past reputation. I am never convinced when teams attempt to switch between the two.
4: the Defensive End opposite Mario. At the moment we have Mark Anderson and Shawn Merriman contesting. Anderson has always been a boom or bust player, whilst Merriman has never played the pro-game with his hand on the ground. Other possibilities include the maligned Kelsay and youngsters Danny Batten and Art Moats. I've always been a fan of Batten's and hope that size of contract does not prevent us giving a proper look at everyone in camp.
Aside from these issues, I think it will come down to remaining healthy. I think we will carry an equal split of players on the roster (aside from the 3 specialists) and think this will be 10 DL, 6 LB and 9 DB of the defense, and 9 OL, 3 QB, 6 WR, 3 TE/FB, and 4 RB for the offense. But considering the overall ability on the roster, I would like to think that entering the 2013 draft and picking in the 20s, we will genuinely be looking at BPA rather than picking for perceived need as would seem to have been the case over the last decade.