Body count is mounting
So far we have lost (excluding some minor cuts):
Vinatieri -- K
McGinest -- LB
Chatham -- LB
Brown -- LB
Davis -- WR
Givens -- WR
Dwight -- WR
Fauria -- TE
Poole -- CB
Starks -- CB
On the brink:
Neal -- G
Ashworth -- T
Troy Brown -- WR
If we lose Neal I am going to wretch. The Pats have some PR ground to make up considering all this high-profile erosion.
I don't think there's much of a chance Neal comes back. The pattern this year has been one of NOT retaining free agents (while not singing any either). There's no reason Neal will be any different.
One of the best things about the way the Patriots are run is that they don't listen to us, because they shouldn't. Because we're idiots. We don't have to think for even one second to make a post here. And we'll never be accountable for anything we say. Contrast that with what people like Belichick and Pioli have to live with. Why would, or should, the Patriots listen to anything we say?
All I want from them is to stick with their plan. Stick with what they believe in. That has served them well in the past, and I believe it will in the future as well. Only a contrarian would argue otherwise.
I still believe there is a method to the apparent madness emanating from the bunker in Foxboro, but I must confess I am at a loss to guess what it might be.
OK, let's look at the age and injury status of these players:
Chad Brown -- LB -- 36 -- DELCINING
McGinest -- LB -- 35
Fauria -- TE -- 35 -- DECLINING ROLE
Troy Brown -- WR -- 35 -- DECLINING ROLE
Poole -- CB -- 34 -- INJURED
Vinatieri -- K -- 34
Dwight -- WR -- 31
Starks -- CB -- 32 -- INJURED
Neal -- G -- 30
Chatham -- LB -- 29
Ashworth -- T - 29
Davis -- WR -- 27
Givens -- WR -- 26
Why were the Patriots unsuccesful last year? Age. Durability. Cap restraints.
Younger. Cheaper. Faster. Healthier.
The only player who really comes close to fitting that mold is Givens, who has been all along the toughest departure to swallow.
Whoever thinks more championships will come by overpaying for positive clubhouse fixtures, yet aging and expensive in favor of meticulously picked younger and healthier players don't know what they're thinking. By saying such, they don't desire a fourth Lombardi to be hoisted. The Patriots knew they'd have to overachieve in 2005 with the aging players which brought them the 2003 and 2004 wins. Unfortunately, injuries backfired and money was low for replacements.
This year, the prospect is great. All it takes is a look down the list at what this filtering out of past pieces has left as a core. Tom Brady. Deion Branch. Daniel Graham. Ben Watson. Matt Light. Logan Mankins. Dan Koppen. Nick Kaczur. Richard Seymour. Ty Warren. Vince Wilfork. Rosevelt Colvin. Tedy Bruschi. Mike Vrabel. Asante Samuel. Ellis Hobbs. Randall Gay. Eugene Wilson. Rodney Harrison.
Don't lose sight of what matters.
Vinatieri -- K - 16 starts
McGinest -- LB - 16 starts
Chatham -- LB - 0 starts
Brown -- LB - 5 starts
Davis -- WR - 4 starts
Givens -- WR - 13 starts
Dwight -- WR - 1 start
Fauria -- TE - 10 starts
Poole -- CB - 1 start
Starks -- CB - 6 starts
On the brink:
Neal -- G - 16 starts
Ashworth -- T - 11 starts
Troy Brown -- WR - 3 starts
In the 16 game regular season there are 400 possible starts. So far, the Pats have lost 69 starts from the 2005 season and there is a good chance that they could lose 99 starts.
There was no need to mention Dillon as we could be pretty much assured that you'd be along to bring him up. And Beisel and Brown and Starks and....
Fauria had 10 starts (which is a high number) because of the health of Daniel Graham. He was becoming obsoltete with Watson and Graham emerging.
Troy Brown was losing time to Branch, Givens, and Davis.
Ashworth will be replaced by essentially Light, who'll replace Kaczur, who'll replace Gorin.
Neal, if he does leave, will be probably replaced by Hochstein, the draft, or even Murczkowski.
Starks and Poole have already been replaced by Samuel, Hobbs, and Gay.
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