Every year I like to stop and take stock of the departures measured against the arrivals. This year was harder than any other I have ever done because so many of our players are not true arrivals, but returns from IR. Still I want to take a look at who has taken a departing flight out of town, and who had an arriving flight. No change at QB, so let's start with RBs. Felix Jones left, Joseph Randle arrives. The jury remains out on this move and whether we have improved or not. If Randle has to fill in as the starter we may learn whether it is an improvement or not. To me Randle looks like Murray Lite, and by that I mean that he has very similar skills, but not quite as much pop. At WR Kevin Ogletree departed, Terrance Williams arrived. For my money this is a potentially huge improvement, because I actually think this kid has the tools to be a #2 WR, and to me O-tree was questionable as even a 3. I like O-tree a lot, I think he's a good person, and a decent football player. But standing side by side and I'm a captain picking my team to play your team, I am going to take Williams and leave you stuck with O-tree every time if I have the chance, and you know what, if you had the pick and I had to wait for you to choose, you'd stick me the same exact way. At TE and FB we saw the departures of Lawrence Vickers and John Phillips. We also see the arrivals of Andre Smith, and Gavin Escobar. Phillips rookie year had me hopeful. I won't lie. Loved the kid. I don't think he ever recovered from that leg injury, and I'm not talking physically, I'm talking mentally. He just didn't seem to be going as hard. On his best day he doesn't have Escobar's hands. Hard to compare a TE to a FB, but I was excited about the arrival of Vickers last year, and disappointed with the results. I'll call it a push for now, but I think Escobar alone is better than both of those guys if I am being truthful. The O-line sees the departures of Livings, Cook, Kowalski, and Dockery, and the arrivals of Frederick and the return of Phil Costa. Every other O-lineman on the 2013 team spent time here in 2012 as well. Let's start with the obvious. I'll take what I have seen from Travis Frederick and Ron Leary over what I saw from Nate Livings and Ryan Cook any day of the week, and twice on game days. I'll take Costa over Kowalski any day of the week too. That leaves someone trying to convince me that the addition of Derrick Dockery makes 2012 better than 2013. Yeah, good freaking luck with that. Moving on to the Defense. Going to be hard to judge until we see this 4-3 in actual action. But I will do my best to give it a try. As of right now the departures from the DL are Marcus Spears, Sean Lissemore, and Kenyon Coleman. Not going to lie, I'd feel a lot better with Ratliff in there healthy, and Crawford here too. I do think Ware in particular will benefit from not having to play coverage. Just send him hell bent for leather for the QB. So far, I like Hayden a lot. Selvie has impressed me, and so has Cohen. The key to this is does having Spencer and Ware here in a 4-3 with their hand on the ground improve us over the 3-4 and standing up? For my money, yes it does. That brings us to the LBs which was a MASH unit last year. I'm talking patients, not surgeons here. On an outbound flight we had Brady Poppinga, Orie Lemon, Alex Albright, and Dan Connor. Albright would still be here if he weren't hurt, so that one doesn't count. We have the return of Sean Lee and Bruce Carter. That alone is the biggest freaking improvement on this team. Does anyone still not get how instinctive Lee is? Does anyone not see how unreal Carter is? Now let's add Justin Durant, Edgar Jones, Kyle Bosworth, and DeVonte Holloman. Gonna say it right now, I love Holloman. Freaking love the kid. Justin Durant has a proven track record, Sims is now free to play all over the as the primary backup to all 3 starters, and the other 2 guys main jobs are to cover kicks, punts, and block for returns. In other words, the job once held by Albright. I expect huge improvements in this corps this year, and not just the obvious returns of the 2 stars. I think you will see Durant, Sims, and Holloman all playing with fire, energy, and smarts. CB sees the departure of Sterling Moore and Michael Coe, and the arrival of BW Webb and the return of Orlando Scandrick. No contest. I am so glad to have O-scan back, and Webb has some upside that shouldn't be denied. Let's be honest here, the biggest improvement we have seen on this team is taking the ball away and the DBs are the guys who did it in PS. Improvement? I think so. Brings me finally to Safeties. Gerald Sensabaugh opted to retire to his favorite fishing hole, Charlie Peprah is gone. We bring back Barry Church and signed Will Allen. We also see the arrival of Jeff Heath and JJ Wilcox, who by default are my new hopes for Charlie Waters and Cliff Harris. How can you not like these two kids? Improvement at Safety? I'll hold off on a yes, but my expectations are high. So let's break this down shall we? Has the run blocking improved? Everything I have seen so far indicates it has. Ron Leary thrilled me in the games he played huge roles in before needing the clean up surgery. Doug Free is undoubtedly better than he was last year no matter where you line him up, and holy cow is Travis Frederick ever going to make me a fan. The kid is smart, aggressive, and powerful. I'll take it, I'll take it, I'll take it. Improved? My flight schedule says we are on time. Has the pass blocking improved? Due to all the injuries the jury is still out on that to me, but other than one play I haven't seen the 1st unit trying to get Tony killed. I think Frederick in particular will be a huge upgrade, and Leary seems like a potential Nate to me. Does anyone disagree with me that Free looks like the Free we all used to trust? I'll take my crow on him. Fried please. Will Bernadeau or Parnell be the 5th guy? I don't know yet. Improved? On time. Last year we scored 376 points. This year I am predicting we're going to score 425 or better. In other words, real improvement. Conversely, last year we gave up 400 points. If this is satisfactory to anyone out there say hello to Nurse Ratchett for me please. I don't drink but I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than to have to have a frontal lobotomy. We couldn't hold leads, we couldn't take the ball away, we couldn't stay healthy to save our lives. I'm going to shock you all by predicting we will hold teams below 325 points this year, will more than double the takeaways, and increase the total sacks and QB pressures from 2012. Improvement? No need to hold that flight. We're on time. That brings me to Special Teams. Losing Albright hurts. If we get anything close to his production from Jones, Bosworth, and Holloman, it can be offset. I noticed that our Kick Returners no longer jog to the 20 yard line to look for a hole. They hit stride and run. Improvement? Someone shout hallelujah for me please. Finally, the intangible, schedule. I think this schedule is weaker, spaced perfectly, and in our favor. 12-4 here we come. Yes, I am serious.