Bill Belichick’s boys came up empty again against the New York Giants when it mattered most and must now address some of their concerns to keep them contending for a World Championship. Join my blog for all the latest news on The Pats.
There are those who diminish Tom Terrific’s passing stats by claiming he only throws quick darts and that his yardage is ballooned by six yard passes which resemble thirty yard strikes on the stat sheet because Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski have the field awareness to make it so. Certainly it is a legitimate argument until you hearken back to 2007 when Brady launched bombs to Randy Moss and he in turn set the touchdown reception mark for a single season with twenty three.
Last season, the Patriots boasted no such deep threat as Chad Ochocinco looked dazed and confused throughout the season, clearly overwhelmed by an offensive scheme that eluded him. Surprisingly, he did not blame his lack of productivity on what are normally the usual suspects, quarterback, offensive coordinator, head coach but instead went about his business twittering away and seemingly enjoying his new surroundings. He was actually an affable sort and not the primetime diva most thought he would be if things didn’t go his way. Therefore, it’s not altogether shocking that the Pats are going to give him a shot at redemption at a fraction of the cost.
Thus, Ochocinco will be back at a bargain basement price and part of a team of reclamation projects that Belichick is so fond of at wide receiver. He will join the oft-injured Anthony Gonzalez from Indianapolis, Dante Stallworth who spent 2007 with the team and was suspended from the NFL in ’09 after a vehicular manslaughter plea, Deion Branch who is clearly not the player he was in his previous incarnation with the Pats and finally their prized free agent catch, Brandon Lloyd.
Wes Welker will of course be back as he was slapped with the franchise tag and All-World tight end Rob Gronkowski and his erstwhile understudy Aaron Hernandez will be catching plenty of passes as well. If any of the newcomers can stretch the field, then deep strikes can once again become part of Brady’s impressive arsenal.
Rumors are that the Patriots may be trolling for versatile running back Matt Forte for something along the lines of a 2nd and 4th round draft pick to the Bears. Forte was not a happy camper when Michael Bush signed a four year $14 million payday with the Bears. However, it would seem a bit desperate for Belichick to do something that he is generally unwilling to do and that is trade draft picks.
Though the Law Firm has taken his talents to Cincinnati the Patriots still have two high draft picks from last season’s draft who are hopefully ready to handle the load. Shane Vereen (2ndround) and Stevan Ridley (3rd round) will definitely be joined by a veteran in case they stumble but Belichick will most likely opt for his typical low risk high reward kind of player. The Pats routinely salvage spare parts off the NFL scrap heap who somehow magically experience a career renaissance under the watchful eye of Bill Belichick and company.
We can talk all we want about the offensive side of the ball but unless the Patriots shore up their defense then they may be in for another deep run only to fall short again. The secondary was abysmal as Eli Manning exploited them on 3rd down throughout the Super Bowl. The defensive front can be propped up and the linebacking corps is a mixed bag with Jerod Mayo as the only standout but the secondary is woeful. Ras-I Dowling was plucked from the 2011 draft as the first pick in the 2nd round but an early season hip injury sidelined him from action. Maybe he can help but there is no overstating how much of an overhaul this New England secondary needs.
The Patriots total is currently 11.5 at the best sportsbooks and the NFL odds to win the Super Bowl in 2013 are approximately 7-1. It appears the offense is going to be of the high octane variety yet again but the defense is the big key. If they can improve markedly in that area, twelve wins may not be difficult. We will monitor the Patriots progress throughout the offseason and into the regular season.
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