Schaub and Kubiak are not going anywhere. They will lead the charge in 2013. End of story. That being said, what are our top 5 realistic offseason needs moving forward, ranking from most to least and what to expect this offseason.
- Cushing comes back, but will he be the same player as before? We must improve depth at the ILB position. Adding Cush and another playmaker next to him would have a big time impact on the D in 2013. The fastest way to getting this D back to 2012 level imo is with this unit. We also will need to obtain a legit pass rushing OLB after we are at risk at losing Barwin. Solution - draft draft draft. I do not see us being able to sign anyone above the level of player we already have behind Cush, Reed, and Mercilus.
Free agents: Connor Barwin, Tim Dobbins, Kayaron Fox, Bradie James, Jesse Nading, Barrett Ruud.
2). Offensive line
- Specifically the right side. We invested 3rd and 4th round picks here in 2012 to help with the losses of Breisel and Winston. How can we improve? Looks like we will have to stick with status quo at Guard, and hopefully Brooks or Jones emerge as the man at RG, thus leaving RT to be desired. We may do nothing and hope we continue to improve, but would not doubt if we go after a RT in the draft. We need a dominant running game again in the worst way to open up everything else again circa 2011 season. Big key in 2012 is how this unit evolves.
Free agents: ir-Rashad Butler, Antoine Caldwell, Ryan Harris.
- This team is somewhere between the Bengals and the Pats in the AFC hierarchy. When facing the elite teams we were absolutely shredded in the passing game. Getting the ILB back in line will help tremendously in coverage and in blitz packages, but we definitely need help in our nickle and dime packages to get over that hump, and force more turnovers. Relying on Harris (while he is still a work in progress), Ball, and McCain does not bode well in 2013 imo. Was McCain really coming on enough for us to be fine in 13? Imo, we must upgrade our 3rd CB option. FA may be the quickest solution here. Will it be that expensive to upgrade talent here? We have too many needs now imo to try and upgrade the safety position, so expect Quin to return and go with current safety crop.
Free agents: Alan Ball, Roc Carmichael, Quintin Demps, Glover Quin, Brice McCain, Stanford Routt.
3b). Wide Reciever
- We have needed to find a true #2 WR for years now. Now the #1 WR is something we will have to start thinking about as AJ is not getting any younger. Now with Posey a huge question mark, we will have to find a FA #2 for immediate impact (most drafted WRs take time to become an impact in this league) and use another top 3 pick on WR.
Free agents: None. Side note: POSEY on IR.
5). Nose Tackle
- DE will have to be addressed next offseason with the aging Smith in the fold. But for this year, Cody is most likely gone. The Texans loved Hunter at NT before he went down with injury. We need to find a NT to spell Mitchell who will be moving into starter/full time role. We will hope to land a sleeper later in draft, unless Phillips sees a cant miss prospect avail in the early rounds.
Free agent: Shaun Cody.
- We found out this year how important Dreesseen was to this team and why depth here is so important. Dont be surprised if we draft another TE or two this year.
- Casey is a free agent and maybe its time we committed to a true FB to lead the way for Foster again in 2013. Again, this team needs a dominant running game in the worst way. A bulldozer talent first, with a pass catching ability not a priority.
- If a cant miss prospect falls to us, we take him. We all know why.
Thoughts? What would you prioritize as our needs this offseason.