In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:
Part of the disagreement on this thread comes down to people confusing two different things: (1) improving the team and (2) building the team. At the end of the season, 18 guys were free agents and possibly leaving. We therefore had to partially rebuild the team just to stay even with what we were last year. Improving the team is another thing altogether. In the offseason you ideally want to rebuild and also improve. So far, our offseason moves have helped us significantly in the rebuilding objective and only marginally in the improving objective. There's still quite a way to go in both rebuilding and improving, but we've made decent progress on the rebuilding front and a little progress on the improving front. Of course, certain positions like OL and WR are still far from rebuilt, never mind improved.
Well honestly probably the biggest improvement should come from three things (or people) Jones, Hightower and Wilson. If these three can improve like they're supposed to, then we'll see improvement. The problem in the past has been that guys in that position before, didn't...Chung, Merriweather, Maroney, Dowling, Butler, Wheatly, McCourty (took a huge step back his second year), Price, Cunningham, Brace...these things hurt the improvement catergory of team building. It makes it so you have to go out and get free agents to fill in for the guys who are draft failures. And when those free agents fail (Haynesworth, Springs, Fred Taylor, Ocho, Stallworth , Gaffney, Gregory, Gallery, Shaun Ellis, Fenene) it really begins to hurt. And when the good ones you DO sign are gone after one season (Carter, Waters, Lloyd), it hurts even more because you have to replace all these guys. What you end up with is a team that relays on their quarterback way too much - and that quarterback relays on the safest bet on the field (Welker) to keep the offense ahaed of it's defense. Now that that is gone??? Who knows?