With all the fair weather fans running their mouths fresh from visiting the once every 86 year country clubbers clans, I want to pose a question.
Even with out this team being completed, and no double draft having been conducted, where wil the 2006 edition rate when compared to other Patriots squads.
My take is:
This squad may well be the best Team the Patriots have ever fielded! Why ??Let me list some reasons:
The DL line is the best in football and now is fully blooded.
The DB are very deep and all are vets, no longer rooks fully blooded.
The OL is deeper and better at every position than ever before. Including Hannah lines)
The TE corps is stronger than ever; no rooks or near rooks, are being counted on.
The QB group is as complete as when Bledsoe and Brady were there in 2001
And unlike then now both are healthy.
There is a RB group with a big time RB and the best 3rd down back(s) ever.
The weaknesses are almost mirages and subjects for fan dsicussion threads. More apparent than real.
The LB corps is/will be the quickest we have fielded in the BB era. It will get stronger before September.
The WR corps lost its #2 WR but will have to make do with an aging Probowler instead. BFD.
Az, I'm not quite with you on some of this. QB - we had Brady/Bledsoe but did not know it, until we used Brady. No way we can say we have a Bledsoe-quality backup. TE- one of the strongest units in the NFL, I would say - but still, 1 high-quality TE shorter. DB, OL - being "fully blooded" is an oft-overlooked point. We get these guys playing time by sheer preponderance of injury! But I'd say they can play their positions, hold down the fort, etc. They're not the Chiefs' OL. Let's be real.
But if you want to say "oh my God! How can we field this team??!?!?!?" you're way off base. With 18 mill left to spend, I think we'll have quite a good looking roster going into opening day.
You might be a little more optimistic than me, but way closer to the mark than the chicken littles - good post!
Virgina is for Lovers!
I used to live on Dupont circle till I moved to Falls Church and then Reston before leaving Virginia. Aslo lived in Newport News for a while. Where do you hail from?
Cassell has a 121 QB rating. Unheard of for a rook, and he played a full game against a winning Miami club with all second stringers for help. Flutie is Flutie, an old pro. I'd say the QBs crew are pretty damn good.
Watson was in effect a rookie last year. Fauria went "Over the hill" and he knew it as well as BB. I'm glad that Snyder gave him a retirement check and present. A draftee TE or OL like Russ Hochstein will do fine as a third TE
As for the OL being as good as the Chiefs I agree, but its not an antique line either. Its best years are still ahead,not behind them. Mankins, Koppen and Neal might still vist the probowl before they are done, Light will just be one of the top ten but never a top five OLT. Wesley Britt has the talent for the probowl if he can learn pro pass blocking adequately at ORT...
Well, your post is alright, but way WAY to optimistic.
QB - Agreed, we're the best we've ever been at this position.
RB - with a healhty Dillon, possibly a good rook, and the depth we have, this will atleast be better than last year.
OL - easily the BEST line we've ever fielded in the BB era. But better than the Chiefs? BS! that Chiefs line is AMAZING and kicked our DL's ass all day in last season's meeting with the Chiefs. That comment is way outta line.
TE - We're good, but unknown. Very experienced, but will Watson break out??
WR - I have no idea. We have Branch and Caldwell then what? This is a weakness until durther notice.
DL - What's there to say? As long as we're healthy, we're the best.
LB - The only question I have is this. Are we moving Vrabel outisde and trusting Beisel on the inside? Do we just draft a stud OLB, or trust Claridge or TBC? We're unsure at the OLB position.
CB - FINALLY, we're returning experience to the lineup for the first time since 2003! That, by the way, was when our secondary was at its best. The question I have is, when will Harrison be back, and will our CB potential ever live up and STOP getting hurt?
S - Wilson wont have the same season, I think he'll do much better. If Rodney comes back or not, we atleast know Hawkins or Sanders will be able to step up. Sanders has the technique, but now he knows the system. And Hawkins did a good job last year.
The only questions I have at this team is k and wr. What will we do there? The only other questions I have is depth, which by knowing the Pats, I just know that wont be a problem.
I don't think anyone should be either slitting thier wrists or jumping for joy when it's only March 26th. They could pick up some meaningful FA's and hit gold in the draft or not hit on FA's and not do so well in the draft. All the injured players could come back as good or better than they were or Dillon could really have gotten old, Tedy B decide to retire afterall and how many players who had Rodney's injury came back and played as well thier 1st year back? A lot can happen either way before the opening game. No one could get hurt and IR'd in training camp or Brady could break his neck.
<<Cassell has a 121 QB rating. Unheard of for a rook, and he played a full game against a winning Miami club with all second stringers for help.>>
Cassell showed a ton of promise, but a passer rating from one game is all but meaningless. Ryan Fitzpatrick came in for the Rams and looked amazing, then floundered in the following weeks.
There are many concerns that exist right now but most should be solved by the time season is here.
1. WR core right now it is not good... depends who they pick up.
2. RB - was Dillion last year a fluke or is he as slow as he looked at times.
My hope is they pick up a Dillion replacement in the draft but that is an
3. TE ok with the two but really need a very good TE for depth.
Graham was out too many games last year and is a concern.
3. Oline - if all were healthy then yes it should be better than last year.
How much better? Tough to say. Depends on health of Light and Koppen.
Even if all healthy will run blocking be that much better? I've said before
my hope is this Oline could really improve and that one key pick up here
in the RG position could make the difference. Remember Neal ( and I really
like the guy) couldn't find any one to take him in FA except the PATs.
He is not a the run blocking RG PATs need if they are going to significantly
improve their run game. IMO.
4. LBs are also a guestion mark with Willie no longer here. Yes a youger
guy may be quicker than Willie but he wont have the experience or know
how that Willie had. Depth here is also a question in terms of Veteran
depth. If there was a significant injury to one of their Key LBs it would
have a signficant impact. IMO.
5. Another area of concern is the Coaching for the Defense. Last report
was they still didn't have a LB or Secondary coach. On this side of
the ball they certainly are not AS strong coaching as they once were.
Will the PATs get a break form the injury Bug this year?
Right now the 2006 PATs have the potential to be one of the best
squads the PATs have fielded but it will depend on what happens
between now and September.
But potential doesn't make the playoffs. Without the right player aquisitions
over the next months or some surprises from younger players now on the
team I could easily see this team as an 8-8 team.
These are areas of concern like I said before much will be addressed.
But who they get to address these concerns is a big ?.
FA is almost down to second tier FAs. Rookies are a hit or miss affair.
No matter who they get, I still see Bill having to apply his magic.
What I never said...
First, I never said we had a line equal to KCs. VA did. I said it was the best overall in Pats history going back and including the Hannah, Gray O-lines of the seventies. (That line was big for then and averaged 250-260# per man back then. Tiny, compared today's OLs. Of course, they had to block back then without the legalized semi-holding rules of today's NFL.)
Regarding WR, I said if forced to do so we'd have to field a crew headed by SB MVP Deon Branch, and an aging 2002 Probowl WR Troy Brown; Obviously, a "glaring hole", in the eyes of bulletin board posters, even though Brown played D last year, amd still caught 39 passes. For depth we have Caldwell and BJ both fomer second round picks with some credentials actually created in the NFL.
If forced to play tomorrow, which I said was not yet a complete team, we'd have Miller kick FG's; not optimum and not what will happen but not as if no one could do it. Hell, Flutie could dropkick chippies amd PATs, if needed.
I created this thread because I was tired of newbie Chicken Littles, ding-dong Red Sux bloviators et cetera, thinking a valid Super Bowl contender, was facing a 2-14 seaon, for crying out loud. Believe me, having followed the Pats since the early sixties, I know what a 2-14 team looks like, and this ain't it!
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