We all know that Ozzie is going to do what has to be done. First he locked up Yanda. He released the vets, which he obviously felt was necessary, and at 2 of the positions, he had already drafted the replacements. At TE, we have Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta, & Davon Drew. On the D-line we have Terrance Cody and young up-and-comers Arthur Jones and Brandon McKinney. A questionable move in many minds was the signing of Chris Carr over Josh Wilson; I think most of us will probably assume that Ozzie had a reason for this move. He preempted the departures of Wilson, Fabian Washington, Houshmanzadeh and Derrick Mason with the drafting of Jimmy Smith, Chykie Brown, Torrey Smith, and Tandon Doss. Then he replaced Leron Mclain, a FB who wants to be a RB, with the best fullback in the league, Vonta Leach. So far so good. Although we still have holes in the lineup potentially, due to the injury to Matt Birk at Center,the youth at WR behind Anquan Boldin, and the uncertainty at RT, most of us have faith in Ozzie.
The RT situation is hard for us as outsiders to know for sure; we are unsure because the uncertainty of the position. We have 3 possibilities right now: Oniel Cousins, Jah Reid, and Ramon Harewood. Cousins and Harewood both worked out this off-season with our former stud RT, Orlando 'Zeus' Brown, and he said they are looking good. And Reid is said to have looked pretty good so far. So I am going to give him a pass on this one for now.
The C situation is new, and Birk may be back before the first game. The only decent C out there was Olin Kreutz, and he has gone to the Saints for 2 million with incentives that top out at 4 million. I assume Ozzie didn't want him for that price, or he would probably be here. Hopefully we will be okay with Birk, our undrafted rookies, and Bryan Mattison.
The WR situation has not fully played its way out. Q is our unquestioned #1 WR. After him, we have a collection of rookies and other unproven players. Tandon Doss and Torrey Smith are locks for the roster. Ideally though, they should only be counted on as the 3rd and 4th receivers for us. The other guys are LaQuan Willaims, Brandon Jones, James Hardy, David Reed, and Marcus Smith. No more than 1 or 2 of these guys will llikely make the roster if we sign a vet. The team is looking into the options, which include Lee Evans via trade, or Jerricho Cotchery via free agency. If we don't sign anyone, we will probably keep at least 2 maybe 3 of them.
On to the purpose of this article. I have heard too many fans saying how Dawan Landry is better than Bernard Pollard, and Willis McGahee is better than Ricky Williams. I am here to debunk these theories. I am not saying that I am going to prove that Ricky and Bernard are BETTER players, but they definitely are not downgrades at all.
When Landry was signed by the Jaguars, most fans had no problems letting him walk. Outside of the contract, which we had no interest in matching at 5 years 27.5 million, we also had 2 solid replacements on the roster in Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski. However, after the market played out, Ozzie brought in a beast to compete with them at Safety: his name is Bernard Pollard and he signed for half the cost of Landry. Now he had been let go by both Kansas City and Houston, which could be a concern, but those seem to be over concerns over his lack of coverage skills and defensive fit. They were drafted in the same year, Pollard in the 2nd round, and Landry in the 5th. However, keep in mind that Landry was the starter from day 1, with a great supporting cast who helps players look better than they are, and Pollard played on weak defenses with little help.
Now let us do a comparison:
Landry- 66 games, 363 tackles, 5 sacks, 9 int, 2 ff, 29 pd, 3 tds.
Pollard- 76 games, 414 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 7 int, 9 ff, 21 pd, 1 sfty, 2 tds
Advantage: Pretty even!
Landry- 69 tackles, 1 sack, 5 int, 0 ff, 11 pd, 1 td (rookie year)
89 tackles, 0 sack, 4 int, 1 ff, 8 pd, 1 td (2009-2010)
Pollard- 112 tackles, 3 sacks, 0 int, 4 ff, 5 pd, 0 tds (2010-2011)
102 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 4 int, 1 ff, 7 pd, 2 tds (2009-2010)
Landry- 5 years 27.5 million
Pollard- 2 years 6 million
Advantage: Pretty even besides the price, although Landry seems a little more adept at getting interceptions, while Pollard is a better blitzer and better at forcing fumbles. The bottom line is that Pollard has gotten better every year. He likely hasn't unleashed his full potential. He is more like an extra linebacker, which should help a team that needs to generate more pressure. I am sure Chuck Pagano was pushing for this guy.
Not going to get to RB for now. But suffice to say I don't think it is a downgrade at all. Ricky has more starting experience, and more experience as change of pace back. The money was most important, and it saved us millions.