Re: What is Patriots' Greatest Weakness At This Point?.....
posted at 5/3/2010 9:07 AM EDT
This is a good question, but one that is hard to answer given we really don't know what we have coming out of the draft, who as 2nd year players is going to make the jump up this year, or what the rest of the off-season has in store in terms of player acquisitions.
It would appear that OL and RDE are our biggest concerns right now. I think the OL was exposed more than normal last year because we never really developed a 3rd WR, did not have a solid pass catching/blocking TE and the chemistry / playcalling on offense was terrible. There was no rhythm. When TB is in a groove he is dangerous. I will look for us to establish a nice pace and tempo this year on offense to get TB in the flow early.
Brady now has 5 new weapons to work with...Gronk, Hernandez, Crump, Holt and Price. Couple this with Tate being healthy (hopefully), and Edelman making his 2nd year jump, and I think you take pressure off of TB because he has multiple weapons to either receive or block that don't come from the OL group....ie, Crump. We should see a much more dynamic offense this year and one that provides Brady more options. Lets just hope the playcalling and chemistry come together.
On the RDE spot...I wish like all of you this was better addressed, but the RDE in our 3-4 is not responsible for rushing the QB. As someone stated above, they have gap responsibility, so even in a 3-4 the rush is going to come primarily from the edge position (OLB), and disguise stuff where we will see safety and CB blitzes. not saying the RDE will not have sacks, just not a bunch. Personally I think sack #'s are way overrated. I'm looking for more pressure like everyone else, and feel good about our current roster to deliver it even without a true 3-4 RDE.
The big question for our defense is...what stamp is BB going to put on it this year? He has voiced that he will play a much more front and center role in our defense, but will he be creative and use the athletcism he has on the roster to bring pressure from everywhere? One of the things I liked about the Jets defense last year was all their disguises. I would like to see the Pats do some of this...I don't know if possible given all the young guys who will just need to learn the basics, but I think we have the youth and speed to do some creative things to camoflauge our weaknesses at different spots.
Case in point...Again, assuming everyone is healthy...We have a very dynamic LB corps..imagine using Mayo, Spikes, Cunningham, Crable, McKenzie and Guyton on the field at once...6 LB's standing around the line of scrimmage, Cunningham going from hand in the dirt to standing, Spikes moving around in the middle, and Crable ready to fly off the edge. We have options and I think the players to do things way outside the norm. Lets hope BB uses them.