Is keeping TB12 upright the biggest priority? Is it finding him a weapon to stretch the field and take the top off the defense? Do we need that edge rusher that is going to make Mark Sanchez and other QB’s wet their pants? Should Logan Mankins be resigned to a long term deal and free up some cap space for this season? All of these are valid questions and valid concerns, but it all starts with balance.
We won three Super Bowls in four years, which seems like light years ago. Technically, it has been light years since we won the big game. We have had successful seasons, but haven’t been able to get it done in the postseason for one reason. They have been outmatched physically by tougher teams with more physical defenses. I can remember the days teams would fear walking into Foxboro because of the guys on the defensive side of the ball. Now people come in here just preparing to have TB12 throw the ball all over the field. James Sanders and Rob Ninkovich don’t make opposing teams devise a game plan for them as they did for Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, and Rodney Harrison. When you’ve been beaten by Jake Plummer, yes that Jake Plummer, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco, and Eli Manning in four out of your last 5 playoff losses, something has to give. Defense! It is a weak bend but don’t break defense that people do not fear.
The Patriots have to get back to being a more balanced team with someone looking to rip the head off the quarter back, a safety that will make you think twice about coming across the middle, and tough physical corners at the line. The whole defensive genius BB comparison has lost its luster with me. What has he done in the last seven years to support this comparison? Not much. They still are getting 300 plus yards put up on them a game at times from bums like Chad Henne, Ryan Bleeping Fitzpatrick, and Shaun Hill. Become more balanced and you finish strong at the finish line, rather than limping in. Having said this, I see someone like Roth from Cleveland being someone I’d bring in. He has been in Mangini’s system has been compared to a Logan Mankins on the defensive side of the ball.
Priority #2 is protecting the franchise. You start that by resigning Logan Mankins to a long term deal. This will free up a bunch of cap space for you to sign your other picks, resign guys like Wes Welker next season, and perhaps pick up someone who was cut from another team during the craziest two weeks in NFL history. Not only will the Mankins signing aid in keeping Brady upright, it will help in the development of Nate Solder, open up massive holes in the running game for Woodhead, The Law Firm, and the Smash/Dash rookies we drafted, and help in the screen schemes as well. Brady makes this team go, there is no question about that. If the offensive line can protect him, life in New England will be great for all parties involved. Brady also isn’t a spring chicken anymore, so having some tough hogs in the trenches may swing some more of the play calling into the running game, taking the pressure of TB12 to drop back 500 plus times a season.
The WR argument right now is null and void in my opinion. You won 14 games last year and laid an egg in the playoffs. The Patriots don’t win that game even with a burner on the outside. You are a brutal interception and an Alge Crumpler drop away from that being a completely different ball game. If they can pick up someone on the cheap like a Derek Mason, so be it. Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Roy Williams won’t even sniff the New England air. They don’t fit the mold here, and either does Ochocinco. Yes he is a big BB guy, and BB is a big Ochocinco guy, but they just are two conflicting personalities. Would I take a flyer on bringing number 81 back on a trial run? You bet your ass I would. If you tell me you don’t get excited on a play action fake where Brady hides the ball, and number 81 has his hand up with two steps on his man downfield calling for the ball, you’re lying to yourself.