Pats, B's, Sox
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Sacshe, TX (by way of Salem,NH)
Patriots Off-season review (Pre-Draft Edition) - OFFENSE
Well, this is my 3rd year of doing off-season reviews. Usually I do a pre-combine review, but life got in the way of that. This is my Pre-Draft review. For the purpose of this review, I am going to consider ERFA and RFA as part of the team. There have been several players released.
Here’s a re-cap.
Rosie Colvin – Released
Asante Samuel – signed with the Eagles
Randall Gay – signed with the Saints
Donte’ Stallworth – signed with the Browns.
“BAM” Childress – signed with the Eagles
Kyle Brady - Cut
The Pats have resigned Randy Moss, Kelley Washington, , Lonnie Paxton, Larry Izzo, Tedy Bruschi, and Jabar Gaffney.
Please note: Draft options are ones in GENERAL and not MY picks.
QB - Brady, Cassel, Gutierrez- Tom Brady is the MAN. Named the league MVP, set league records in numerous categories. Led the team to an undefeated regular season and missed the perfect season by one series.
Cassel and Gutierriez have shown that they have real potential. The Pats had re-signed Vinny T, but then let him go before the end of camp last year when Gutierrez showed them so much promise. The Pats went for several weeks last season without a veteran back-up until they brought in Vinny Testaverde. This will be Cassel’s 4th year wth the team and could be his last depending on how he performs in pre-season.
Free Agents: NONE
RB – Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, Sammie Morris– Big question marks here beyond Maroney.
Kevin Faulk is on the wrong side of 30 now and but came through the season unscathed. He was as HUGE part of the offense, particularly when Maroney was out and recovering. When healthy, he’s one of the best 3rd down backs in the league. His problem, in the past, was staying healthy. Lets hope he can do that again this year.
Sammie Morris was signed last year and he played well until he went down with a chest injury against Dallas. In fact, he’d filled in as the starting RB for 3 games before he went down with an injury.
Maroney, after a brief injury that cost him 3 games and led to limited use in several others, came on strong to end the season. He put up over 100 yards in 4 of the last 6 games of the season. The only games he didn’t put up 100 yards were the ones against the Giants.
Free Agents: none
FB – Heath Evans, Kyle Eckel – Evans is what he is. An average FB. He has average running skills and average to above average blocking skills. He has average receiving skills. I still don’t see Evans as being the answer at FB because I don’t like his lead blocking skills.
Eckel was an outstanding special teamer. He also got some snaps running the ball during some of the games that were blow-outs.
Free Agents: NONE
O-Line – Matt Light, Nick Kaczur, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Russ Hochstein, Wesley Britt, Stephen Neal, Billy Yates, Ryan O’Callaghan, Dan Connolly, Jimmy Martin –
Matt Light, Logan Mankins and Dan Koppen were named Pro-Bowlers last year with Matt Light being named as an ALL-PRO as well. This showed during the year with the O-line being dominant early on and keeping Brady upright through much of the season. Stephen Neal missed time at RG and Kaczur was merely adequate.
Ryan O’Callaghan took a step backwards, in my opinion, because he couldn’t beat out Kaczur for the starting position. Also, I am not sure what O’Callaghan’s place is here on the team because he seems to be more of a straight line blocker than a zone blocking tackle.
Billy Yates and Russ Hochstein are the primary back-ups on the interior. They are what they are. Above average JAGS.
Britt hasn’t made any progress that has been noticeable, though he did see some snaps through-out the year in some garbage time situations.
The biggest problem was the O-lines collapse during the SuperBowl. Part of it is tied directly to Neal’s injury. But all the guys seemed to miss the stunts that the Giants were using. In fact, I am fairly certain that many of the sacks and pressures that the Giants got were directly from their players not being picked up on stunts.
The right side, both in Neal and Kaczur, needs to be upgraded. The problem is how. The free agent market is bare. And there are plenty of teams looking for tackles and guards in the draft.
The Pats picked 3 O-linemen in the draft last year, but none of them were able to stick with the club. All 3 have signed with other teams.
Draft possibilities: Ryan Clady, Jeff Otah, Jake Long, Mike Pollak, Branden Albert, Jeremy Zuttah (just to name a few)
Free Agents: Wesley Britt (ERFA)
TE – Ben Watson, David Thomas, Stephen Spach – Kyle Brady was just cut recently. This seems to be a cost cutting move since it will save the Pats about 2 million on the cap. Brady really helped the running game, but he didn’t do much in the SB in slowing down the Giants front 7.
Ben Watson didn’t get used much up the seams, though he did haul in 6 TDs for the Pats. He continues to be enigmatic and not able to stay healthy, missing time for the 4th straight season.
David Thomas, after teasing us his rookie season with his potential, ended up IRed early in the season.
Stephen Spach was signed during the season after Marcellus Rivers proved he wasn’t the answer for the Pats with both Watson out and Thomas on the IR. Spach showed excellent blocking ablility during the times he was used in 2 TE sets. That ability, coupled with Kyle Brady’s injury, probably spelled the end for Kyle.
There have been a lot of speculations thrown about for TE in the draft. They include Brad Cottam (an oft-injured blocking TE with decent hands from Tennessee), John Carlson from Notre Dame and Martellus Bennett from Texas A&M.
Free Agents: Kyle Brady (UFA)
WR- Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Kelley Washington, Jabar Gaffney Chad Jackson, Sam Aiken, C.J. Jones – Well, I was hesitant last year about the Pats acquiring Moss, but it was a low-risk, high reward potential. And it paid off BIG for the Pats offense.
Wes Welker was well worth the 2nd and 7th round pick that the Pats gave up for him. He posted a career high 112 receptions on 145 targets (77% caught) for 1175 yards with 8 TDs and only 4 drops. Welker also led the league in YAC with 5.7. That is a huge total considering that he was only averaging 10.5 yards per reception.
Donte’ Stallworth was somewhat of a disappointment and his option wasn’t retained.
Chad Jackson started last year on the PUP, was activated, but didn’t do much down the stretch as he continued to recover from the ACL injury he suffered in the 2006 AFCCG.
Kelley Washington was well worth the money the Pats paid him last year. He was stellar on special teams as a gunner and made numerous plays there. However, with the depth of Moss, Welker, Gaffney, and Stallworth in front of him, he didn’t get much time on the field, even in garbage time. Hopefully that will change for him
The Pats signed Sam Aiken from the Bills. Aiken is a highly skilled special teamer and will be fighting for a job on this team while pushing others as well.
The draft is pretty good for receivers. And, because this is a copy-cat league, everyone is now looking for the next Wes Welker. One such player whose abilities might intrigue the Pats is Dexter Jackson. Jackson has amazing speed, agility, and quickness. Jackson also has very good route running abilities and hands. What Jackson doesn’t have is good competition that he played against regularly. Other players that could interest the Pats are: James Hardy, Andre Caldwell,
Free Agents:Troy Brown (UFA), “Bam” Childress (UFA- Eagles), Donte’ Stallworth (UFA- Browns)