Patriots 2010 Off-season Preview
The 2009 season is done for the Patriots and it ended on a very sour note. This year definitely didn’t live up to many of the fans’ expectations though it was clear that there were plenty of growing pains.
Dean Pees is gone and Bill O’Brien was worse than mediocre as the QB coach and defacto OC. Shane Waldron has also left the team, leaving the TE position without a coach. There were rumors that both Weis and Crennel could re-join the Patriots, but both went to KC to be the offensive and defensive coordinators there.
The Pats have brought in Corwin Brown to be the new defensive backs coach. This should be a step up from Josh Boyer, who was replaced after one season. Brown is a former 4th round pick of the Pats and he’s also spent time with Belichick as a player and has coached under Weis at ND.
The biggest thing hovering over the league is whether the 2010 season will, indeed, be uncapped. As it stands on January 30, 2010, it will be.
The Pats clearly need to add a DC and Pepper Johnson seems to be the name at the top of the short list. But, then they’d need to add a D-line coach unless Pepper can do both. An OC is also needed since there were clearly issues between O’Brien and Brady this season.
Vince Wilfork: One of the top NTs in the league, Big Vince is due for a good payday. The Patriots could franchise him, though he would consider it a slap in the face since it would supposedly mean that he’s only an OK player. Last I looked, the Franchise tag was used on players that teams felt were amongst the best at a position.
Kevin Faulk: Kevin seems to be like a fine wine and getting better with age. This is a must re-sign IMHO
Leigh Bodden: Bodden came in and gave the Pats something that they haven’t had since Ty Law. A corner who forces the opposing QB to beat him with the near perfect pass.
Derrick Burgess: The Pats were in dire need of a 4-3 DE who could rush the passer and, for the 1st time I can remember, Bill Belichick got taken in a deal. The Pats gave up a 3rd and 5th round pick for Burgess and Burgess was a bust, for the most part.
Tully Banta-Cain: The Pats thought they had TBC locked up to a new contract in mid-November. Then Tully went on a craze and put up a career best sack total and was really the only Pass Rusher the Pats had this season. The deal fell through and now TBC is going to hit the market again.
Jarvis Green: After Seymour was traded to the Raiders, Green was expected to step up and take his place. Green did neither. It’s my belief that Green’s days with the Pats are done.
Chris Hanson: Hanson is just like the Cat from the song “The Cat Came Back.” Every time you think he’s done, he puts on a display of punting that leaves you amazed. Hanson, arguably put up his best season as a Pats punter. I expect he’ll be back on a one year deal, but the Pats will seriously look at other candidates as well.
Stephen Neal: Neal again spent time injured this season and when he did play, it was clear that he wasn’t the stalwart on the right side that he’d been in years past. He’s already talked about retirement. I don’t see him returning.
Ben Watson: Many people had Watson gone going into training camp. Yet, like Hanson, he seemed to outplay the competition, including Cam Baker, whom the Pats spent a chunk of change on this past off-season. I’m not sure that the Pats bring him back.
Junior Seau: Came back for a 20th season. Was pretty much a non-factor. He’s said he’s retiring.
Logan Mankins: Arguably the Pats best O-lineman. Because of the CBA status, Mankins is an RFA. I expect the Pats to sign him to a long term deal, though they could put the top tier RFA tender on him which would pay him in the neighborhood of 3 million for one year.
Stephen Gostkowski: An even better kicker than Adam Vinatieri was. He’s a great cold weather kicker and he actually increased his kick offs by 3 yards this year so that, even with the coverage the way it was, opposing teams were still starting inside the 25 yard line much of the time.
Pierre Woods: This past year was the year that Woods should have broken out if he was going to. Instead, he showed that he’s really just a special teams player, much to my chagrin.
Chris Taylor: Taylor was signed before the end of camp last year and ended up getting hurt. He spent the entire season on the IR. I can’t see the Pats tendering him which will make him a UFA.
Gary Guyton: Guyton made some great strides this year and was put in the unenviable position of having to start when Mayo was down with an MCL injury. I’d love to see the Pats lock him up long term.
Bret Lockett: Lockett is a special teams safety. His injury opened the door for Kyle Arrington to get on the field and show that he can shine on special teams as well. I expect that Lockett will be back to compete in camp.
The Pats current roster breakdown is this: (Please note that I counted the two ERFAs in my numbers)
QBs - 4
RBs - 5
FB: - 0
WRs - 9
TEs - 3
OLs - 9
DLs - 6
LBs - 9
CBs - 5
S - 5
STs - 1
Check out the following threads for my breakdown of the Patriots offense and Defense. (to be updated as soon as they are posted)
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