With all of the talk of 2011, I figured I'd add my take.Head Coach: I'm not sold on Garrett. I certainly don't think he's the only solid offensively-minded candidate available. I do agree that whomever we get we should be looking at fresh faces. I don't really worry about a new coach being overwhelmed by Jerry's presence given that if he's the right man for the job, he'll be tough enough to stand up to him. I certainly would like to see one of the young turk defensive guys like Rob Ryan and Perry Fewell looked at.
Coordinators/Assistants: All of them need to be discussed after we know who the HC is. We cannot match assistants until we know how to fit the new system and talking about it now is even less productive than our normal speculation :)
Offense: First, we're doing better than we generally perceive. We're middle of the pack at 23.3ppg. With Romo coming back and some improvements on the OLine, we'll be fine.
Item 1: Roy Williams. So why does seemingly everyone want to cut him? Cutting him won't make a big difference to the cap, if there is one. It certainly won't get any picks back. What advantage is there to cut him? Just because you don't like him on the team? Is he the worst receiver ever? Not at all, which we can see in a brief comparison.
Receiver A 51 rec/ 94 tar/ 54.3%/ 822 yds/ 16.1 ypc/ 9 td/ 2 fum/ 36 firsts/ 70.6%
Receiver B 59 rec/ 105 tar/ 56.2%/ 806 yds/ 13.7 ypc/ 11 td/ 1 fum/ 41 firsts/ 69.5%
Receiver C 36 rec/ 74 tar/ 48.6%/ 444 yds/ 12.3 ypc/ 2 td/ 2 fum/ 21 firsts/ 58.3%
Receiver D 32 rec/ 53 tar/ 60.4%/ 469 yds/ 14.7 ypc/ 5 td/ 3 fum/ 22 firsts/ 68.8%
Of course, Roy is D, and in that collection of statistics, the only negative stat are the fumbles. Yes, that's a problem, but it seems to be an aberration. 1/3rd of his career fumbles have come this year in 1/11th of his catches. Calvin Johnson, BTW, is worse over his career, and we would never suggest cutting him. Roy's just not getting targeted as much as the other 3, but that's a function of this offense and not really his fault. However, he's doing as well or better in many ways than the other three, who happen to be Greg Jennings, Calvin, and Steve Smith, who I just picked at random. The point here is not that Roy is the best receiver ever, but we have him on the roster now, he's one of the most productive 3rd WRs out there, and to cut him we'd have to spend resources on another 3rd WR, resources we all would like to see focused elsewhere. There's no real reason to cut him except fan anger, which is not necessarily rational, and there are objective reasons to keep him.
Item 2: Offensive Line. We have to see what's there at our 2nd round pick, not our first, given where we're currently at in the first round. We also need to look at free agents. Mankin is definitely someone to look at, but my preference are those second tier guys like, for example, Kyle Kosier when we signed him. There are a number of productive young linemen who are not household names and I would rather get two of those than one Mankin at the same price.I really think that Gurode will be a very useful OG, but his time at C needs to end. We need at least 2, in any case.
Item 3: Running Back. I really love Marion Barber's work ethic and hustle, but it's time. I want to see a Choice/Jones rotation, and I think, as do many of you, we'll appreciate that burst over the next few weeks. In any case, of all the positions out there, RB is the easiest to replace.
Item 4: Quarterback: I really like where we're at, but if, by some miracle Luck falls to us, we should take him in the first round. In the long term, that would really benefit us, like it did the Chargers with Brees/Rivers. There's no reason, however, to replace McGee at this point unless that happens.
Defense: What the hell happened here, anyway? From 2nd to 30th in points per game in one year? Really?
Item 1: Defensive Tackles. Is Ratliff being worn down? Perhaps. Would he be better at DE? Perhaps. I believe the first is more likely than the second. In any case, I like the rotation of him and Price. I think Price will take more snaps next year, and will rejuvenate Ratliff.
Item 2: Defensive Ends. Do we have any good ones left other than Marcus Spears? We definitely need to resign him. Olshansky's gone. Bowen's regressed. Hatcher is, at best, a backup at this point. Lissamore might fit in here, though he's not proven anything, or perhaps one could move Ratliff here, which opens a hole at DT. In short, we need 2 DL, of which 1 could be DT. I really like the idea of one of those monster DLs in the 1st here.
Item 3: Inside Backer. Here's hoping Lee is the man, because Brooking's gone and Bradie's fading. We still need two more.
Item 4: Outside Backer. Finally, a positive spot. I suspect that if we seriously review Spencer's work we'll see he's done better than we think, though he hasn't played well. I suspect he's been pressing. Still, he's solid, and with Ware, Butler, and Williams, we have a defensive position we don't need to look at.
Item 5: Cornerbacks. I also suspect our biggest problems here have been wretched safety play and a lack of pass rush. Another CB is not a bad thing, especially given TNew's age, and perhaps we get a Prince Amukamura here, but I think we're better off than we perceive here.
Item 6: Safety. I like AoA and McCray and Church. I think they're fine backups and special teams players and one may turn into a starter someday, but I don't know about that in 2011. Sensabaugh's regressed, Ball's gone, and so we need 2 starting-level players.
So, by my count, we need to get, for the starting lineup, 2 OLinemen, 2 DLinemen, and 2-3 DBacks. We're only going to get 2, maybe 3, in the Draft, meaning we're looking at 4-6 free agents, meaning we're looking at solid contributors, not stars. So maybe we get Mankin, maybe we get a different big name, but I would not expect us to get much of the top tier. If, however, we get average-level starters to fill these holes then we'll be doing well, I think.
Also, I suppose we need to replace Buehler too, though I'd like to see what happens in camp next year. I'm sure they bring in a viable competitor, and we'll see if he improves, which he might.