But if a team's smart, they'll listen to us. These are the most crucial aspects entering the 2012 offseason.
Here's a rundown for the NFC. (The AFC is here.)
Jose Yau / AP
Dallas cornerback Terence Newman might not be back next season.
2011 record: 8-8
Biggest need: Revamped secondary
Longtime top cornerback Terence Newman will be an offseason salary cap casualty, and free safety Abram Elam has also been a liability in coverage. The Cowboys fielded a bottom-10 pass defense in 2011 despite racking up the seventh most sacks in football. The secondary personnel is obviously a problem. Also, Dallas will be in the market for upgrades at guard and center.
New York Giants
Mark Humphrey / AP
Giants cornerback Aaron Ross tackles Patriots receiver Wes Welker.
2011 record: 9-7
Biggest need: Back-seven reinforcements on defense
Cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas are free agents, and so is nickel back Deon Grant. The Giants are set at both outside linebacker spots, but need a long-term answer inside after playing musical chairs at the position since Antonio Pierce's retirement. On offense, New York could explore upgrading at left tackle and at running back. Brandon Jacobs has tip-toed around the backfield too often in recent years, and is due an unwieldy $4.9 million in salary and bonuses.
Rich Schultz / AP
Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will be in his second season leading Philly's defense.
2011 record: 8-8
Biggest need: Unified team concept
Fast-breaking after the lockout, the Eagles chose the worst possible time to be the league's most active team in terms of scheme and personnel change. They started predictably slow, and were in far too deep a hole by midseason to overcome quarterback Michael Vick's injuries. On defense, Philadelphia attempted to combine up-field pass rushers on the defensive line with linebackers who couldn't tackle. They got smoked by the run. Retaining defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, the Eagles will hope that continuity breeds success. They certainly could use better linebackers.
Rob Carr / Getty Images
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is desperate for a franchise quarterback.
2011 record: 5-11
Biggest need: Franchise quarterback
The Skins quietly put together one of the NFL's premier 2011 draft classes. At least four picks look like 2012 starters, and six more have a legitimate chance to be key long-term contributors. But Mike Shanahan's club will continue to tread water until it acquires a franchise quarterback. The Redskins must also address issues in the secondary, where strong safety LaRon Landry is a free agent, and at receiver, where Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney are both past their primes.
PFT: Tom Brady, who turns 36 in August, says he has "never felt better throwing the football" and his confidence is peaking.
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