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Excitement....And Trepidation


See that picture above?  I'll take a moment to let you look.  Done?

So, I've got a question for ya: Is our season riding on that picture?  Or this one?



That's Frank Bush, our new defensive coordinator, in case you didn't know.

See, I've had kind of a crazy but super stressful week this week.  Two good friends of mine are hurting, one was in the hospital, and my streak of avoiding a relative's funeral will be broken next weekend.  Fudge.  Basically, this has led to a lot of sleepless nights with thoughts often wandering around to the Texans.  More specifically, what am I going to write about?

But I'm worried.  As I mentally map out the team, I keep falling back into the trap that our defense is going to suck.  I've read and analyzed the Football Outsiders 2009 Almanac, and there's no way around the fact that our defense was last year and has been historically horrific every year .

I'm not going to go into much detail yet, but when you look at our defense, there are only two personnel changes: Brian Cushing in for Zac Diles, and Antonio Smith replacing the corpses that played at LDE last year.  Obviously, the latter will be a tremendous upgrade, and the former will be an upgrade, but how much?

Otherwise, we are going to need to put a bu a fu a boat-load of faith in Frank Bush and what appears to be our new base defense, the 4-3 under. Is this enough to take us from the 29th best defense (out of 32) to 20th?  Or 15th?  And how much do we need to improve defensively to turn us into a legitimate playoff contender?

I'm worried, I admit.  Theoretically, with a fairly young squad and a change in coaching philosophy, our defense should improve.  But with the notable exception of the BE-SFs, each team expects to improve year after year.  It helps considerably that we all know and understand Richard Smith is dysfunctionally moronic, but we still need to improve substantially this year.

I'd like to hear from y'all and what you think about the defense.  What are the coaching and scheme changes worth?  Are we going to rely too heavily on Vigo Steven Seagal Brian Cushing to make an immediate impact under this new system?  Smith most certainly seems like a good piece in this scenario.

Am I stressing for no particular reason?

Oh, and I just noticed that we signed Jeff Zgonina, last year's league leader in being an ineffectual speed bump.  And you wonder why I stress.