Monday, February 04, 2008

Blueprints

What do the Patriots need in the offseason? Well, first of all, it's easy to pinpoint the moment when the "FU" blowouts ended and when they started gutting out the victories. It was when Rosie Colvin hurt his foot and went on IR. Not only was he their pass rushing specialist, but he also added valuable depth to the defense, allowing Bruschi and Seau to be role players instead of going all-out. As well as the two of them played, it's obvious that relying on two inside backers that are in their late 30s to go 60 minutes is dangerous. Both could play next year if they wanted to, but they need help. Vrabel is likely to go another season.

The base 3-4 defense is sound with Warren, Wilfork, and a healthy Seymour. The secondary needs more cover support - short passing over the middle was a weakness for them most of the season that was less of an issue in their red zone defense (with the shortened field), but still should be addressed.

Offensively, we hope the two-back set of Morris and Maroney will be showing its potential again. There are some decisions to be made in the receiving corps - Troy Brown will almost certainly retire, with Donté Stallworth probably leaving in free agency and Randy Moss taking a deal to stay. I'm not sure what happened on the O-line last night, but I noticed that Russ Hochstein spent an awful lot of time playing - injuries have been a problem on the line all season. As deep as they are on the line, there have been a lot of issues there and at tight end. Not sure how to fix that.

The likeliest scenario I see is that the Pats package their #7 pick (thank you, Niners), for a mid-1st and one or two later picks to draft a linebacker and a corner as priorities. What happens a month from now in free agency will be key.
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