Good stuff from Pete Dougherty today looking at the secondary and Atari Bigby in particular. Money quote:
Bigby goes into training camp the likely starter again even though he missed all offseason practices recovering from ankle surgery. That projection is based on his performance as a first-year starter in 2007, especially late in the season, when the big-hitter was the best safety on the roster.
The last sentence is key. Bigby was indeed lights out over the course of the last month and a half in 2007. His play down the stretch was Butler-esque (yes, he was playing that well) and the future looked good for the first time starter. As we all know now, 2008 was a wasted season for Bigby and now he essentially needs to start all over again with the installation of Capers' scheme. Also working against him is the fact that he had to sit out all of the OTAs and MiniCamp when the defense was being installed.
It's no forgone conclusion that Bigby will come back and be even half the player he was at the end of 2007. Aaron Rouse looked like he would be a player after flashing in his rookie year, only to completely bomb last year when given ample opportunity to seize the job. Now, Bigby is no Rouse but he's not exactly Troy Polamalu yet either, no matter how badly some fans want to believe that. He's a promising talent that will have to work his butt off to get back to the level of play we witnessed at the end of 2007.
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