By: Russ Goldman
Each week I like to mention different subjects that are on my mind regarding the Pats, and last week gave me plenty to think about.
The number one thought of the week has to be the accident to Tom Brady. It looks like he is going to be fine, but it certainly made me think. I also had much to ponder as we get ready for the Bengals and the upcoming season. Finally, I have predictions for the Patriots season along with the Jets.
So below are my “Ten Things I Think About The New England Patriots” for this week.
1. The Tom Brady car accident made me think a great deal about the quarterback. It looks like Brady is going to be fine, but hearing about his car accident I am sure sent shock-waves throughout Patriot Nation. The most important thought I have on this subject is that he was able to walk away from an accident without major injuries.
Brady has given me so many great moments since he became starting quarterback of the Patriots. The accident just made me think about how much he has already accomplished and given to the fans of the team.
If his career ended today I still think he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. I just feel the accident just reminded me how lucky I have been to see his career in New England.
2. Devin McCourty I feel is a player to watch this season. I really have been focusing on McCourty in the pre-season. He had 16 tackles in 4 games, and has had some good moments in proving he’s also going to be good in coverage.
It is too early to predict the future, but I really like what I have seen so far in McCourty. Now he’s being thrown into the fire as a starting cornerback, and it’s going to be interesting to see how he performs. Granted, he is going to go through growing pains, but in the end this should be considered a positive as it could accelerate his growth. I will be following him the entire season, and I really have a good feeling about Devin McCourty as our potential #1 cornerback of the future.
3. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez could be the solutions to the Redzone problems of the past for the Patriots. These tight ends have shown the ability in the pre-season to give them more success this year in the redzone. Gronkowski had 4 touchdown receptions, while Hernandez had one touchdown reception in the pre-season.
More importantly, they have already shown the ability to get open and catch the football. The former tight ends of the Pats I thought did not have both skill sets. I think these two tight ends could cause match up problems for defenses, and I am excited to see what they can offer this season.
Losing Burgess was a blessing in disguise for the Patriots. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)
4. The Derrick Burgess release could be a blessing in disguise. I wrote about Burgess earlier in the week. With him being gone it is now going to force the Patriots to play young linebackers Marques Murrell and Jermaine Cunningham. Their future with the Pats could be much brighter than the Derrick Burgess era.
They will be tested from the beginning of the season. But, I believe that the experience they receive in the beginning of the season could pay off after Thanksgiving. I feel it’s a great time to play the young players, and I’m looking forward to how they perform.
5. I feel Randy Moss is a player I will need to monitor this season. Moss has already come out in an article on CBS Sports.com that he feels unwanted because he does not have a new contract offer.
You would think that he would have motivation to really perform in a contract year. All I am saying is that his actions in the past with his former teams make me a little nervous, so I am hoping he will have a great season.
6. I feel Tom Brady should be the highest paid player in football. Reportedly,Tom Brady has signed a four year deal worth $72 million. and $48.5 million is guaranteed. If this is true, the Patriots have done the right thing and made him the highest paid player in football.
I expect now that Peyton Manning will probably sign now that Brady’s deal is done. Since Jim Irsay promised him as such, we’ll probably see Manning overtake Brady and become the highest paid player in the league by later this season. If it was up to me, I would always make sure Brady made at least a dollar more than Manning. Frankly I believe he’s the better player. No one can change my mind on that, and he should be paid as the best in the league.
7. The Bengals have a real defense now. For years you could count on the Bengals having a bad defense. However, last season they were ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense based on yardage.
They have two excellent linebackers in Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers. They also have two good corners in Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph. This is a team on the rise, and the Pats defense will not have an easy time with them on Sunday.
8. I am predicting a 24 – 21 victory for the Patriots against the Bengals. I don’t see this as an easy game by a long shot for the Pats. The Bengals are going to be tough to score on. However, I still see Tom Brady putting up over 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns on Cincinnati.
On defense, I am predicting a surprise for the Pats. I think their pass defense will be better than expected. The Bengals receivers are older and not as explosive as they once were. I think the young cornerbacks will do a decent job on Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.
In the end, the Pats will survive the opening game of the year with a victory.
9. I am predicting the Jets will be 6 – 10 this season. I have given this much thought and I really believe in this prediction. I have three factors that led to this conclusion.
First, I think the Jets are going to struggle without Thomas Jones running the ball. Everything they do on offense seems to be predicated on running the football, so his loss could be bigger than the Jets think. Shonn Greene has potential, but he is going to have to carry the load a full season.
Second, Mark Sanchez is going into his second season and could struggle once again. He threw for 12 touchdowns and had 20 interceptions last season.
This is a quarterback driven league. If he cannot improve this season I see the Jets really struggling to win games. They can have the best defense in the league, but they still need to score.
Third, the team chemistry of the Jets is suspect. The Jets could have the most talent in the league. However, if we have learned anything from the Patriots, it is about building a team and not acquiring talent.
How will players like Braylon Edwards, Antonio Cromartie, Ladainian Tomlinson function together? This team has many different personalities. How is this team going to come together? I think team chemistry will be their ultimate downfall.
The Jets have the talent to be 14 – 2. The factors that I have mentioned lead me to think they will implode. So these are the reasons I am predicting the Jets to finish 6-10 this season.
10. I am predicting the Patriots will be 10 – 6 this season. I just see the Patriots having too much offense with Tom Brady to have a worse record.
The Pats could struggle with the young defense. However, I think by the second half of the season this unit could be very improved. The division will be won by the Patriots, but it could be a dogfight with the Dolphins. In the end, I am predicting the Patriots will be 10-6 this season.
This week there was certainly plenty going on, and now I’m looking forward to seeing how week one turns out. Hopefully there will be some good news for next week’s edition once this one is in the books.