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Goal: Be Better in 2006 than 2004

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Teams are improving. We must improve. I think a reasonable goal is for the roster and the team to better than 2004 in all aspects of the game. So it against the 2004-2005 Super Bowl team that I suggest we make comparisons, and assess our needs. Is this a reasonable approach to the off-season?
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  2. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    COACHING - likely down
    We are not improving on one of the best staffs in the history of the game, even better (perhaps) that Belichick's all-star Cleveland staff. Crennel, Weis and Mangini have already gone on to be head coaches. Davidson is an assistant head coach. We can only hope that the staff continues to develop.

    SPECIAL TEAMS - ????
    1. Vinatieri is a wash. He isn't the best any more. But he is healthier than in 2004.
    2. Coverage teams are much, much better.
    ?3. The punt return game needs help. Perhaps Dwight will be better than last year; perhaps he will get better blocking.
    ?4. The kick return team needs help. Is Bethel coming back? Is Hobbs the answer? How about Davis?
    5. Punting is a wash.

    DEFENSE - I think the 2006-2007 defense will be better than 2004-2005
    1. The defensive line is better. Wilfork is already better than Traylor. The combination of Seymour,Wilfork,Warren, Green makes an awesome front.
    ?2. Defensive line depth is better, and could get better. After all, none of the backups had even one tackle in the Super Bowl, except Traylor. We have Hill, Wright, Thomas and Klecko. I see at least one upgrade coming.
    3. Many disagree, but I think that the linebacking is better. Consider the JAX game. Colvin is finally a healthy starter. The starting four are better than last year; with Colvin basically replacing Ted Johnson in the starting lineup. Chad Brown and/or Beisel and/or Claridge will make up for the loss production by Phifer. And we will still have the backup help from sprcial teamers Izzo and Bant-Cain. Upgrade if you wish. I don't see the need.
    4. We had Samuel, Gay, Poteat and Brown at corner. Even with no help, we will be better. Samuel, Hobbs,Poteat and Gay will be better more experienced set of corners that we had for last year's playoffs and SB. I presume the signing of Poteat and Hawkins.. We also have Poole and Starks returning from IR, and perhaps Chad Scott, if we re-sign him. Hawkins could be one of our corners. While I would love to see a chut-down corner added, there is little need. The group, as is, could be much, much better than the SB team, and NOT a team weakness.
    5. Harrison is missing. We expect him back for the last half of 2006. However, we will add Sanders, Guss Scott and Hawkins. Depending on Harrison, this may or may not be a need for this year. We will likely be a bit worse at this position. Recall that Reid was playing.

    OFFENSE - will be better than 2004-2005 if we figure out the situation at WR
    1. Brady is BETTER than 2004. Cassell could be a fine backup, better than Davey. And our 3rd QB will be better than 2004.
    2. The OL is getting better each year, and with one more stud making it our best OL in decades.
    3. Our tight ends will be better, with Watson contributing. This will be so, whether we keep or replace Fauria. We will of course draft a TE; we always do.
    4. Dilllon, Faulk and Pass will be back to 2004 form, given a healthy improved OL. That being said, IMHO we should add TWO more RB/FB's. Or are we fine with Hawkins and Ashworth as our #4 and #5?
    ???5. We MUST improve at WR. In 2004-2005, some here posted that our group was among the best in the league: Branch, Givens, Patten, Brown and Johnson. I didn't believe it then. I didn't believe it of the 2005 receiving corp.
    IMHO, we should focus on extending Branch, signing two veterans (Moulds AND Randel El) and re-sign Davis. I think Davis could be a top contributer. Branch-Moulds-Davis-RandelEl-Childress could be our best receving group in some time. If we sign Givens instead of Randel El; that's fine, but then we need a returner. Of course, if we could just re-sign Givens, Brown, Davis and Dwight, and perhaps keep Johnson, since we had the #7 offense this year, almost all in the passing game. PASS THE KOOL AID.

    BOTTOM LINE - We can be better than the 2004-2005 Super Bowl team with relatively few additions. Of course, much of the improvement will come with the return of those on IR, always a nervous hope.
  3. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    MG -
    How can you say Punting is a wash? Miller was signicantly better this year than in 2004. His avg went from 42 to 45.1 and his NET went from 35.4 to 39.8

    I agree that the punt return and kick return teams need help. Though, Dwight did avg. 8.5 yards a return in comparison to Brown's 6.9 and Faulk's 6.7 the year before. As a team, they improved from 5.8 YPR to 7.9 YPR and were ranked 16th in the league.

    On kick returns, injuries obviously slowed Bethel down. Hobbs started well and tapered off. Davis had some good ones as well. The team BLOCKING needs to be better because they got too many penalties for blocking in the back.

    MG - Brown was decent in the nickel and dime packages. Neither TBC nor Matt Chatham impressed me this year, and both were less than stellar on special teams. I don't see the Pats having a viable back-up OLB wihtout moving Vrabel back there. Also, the Pats need at least one more youngster to at either OLB or ILB to start training for when McGinest is gone. I love Willie, but you have to question how much he has left. Granted, its probably another 2 years, but having someone in line who could possibly even EXTEND that time for Willie would be nice.


    There aren't many shut down corners in the league. While I'd love to get a shut down corner, I just don't think that the salcap situation will allow us to do so. Even with cutting Starks and Poole and restructuring McGinest, you still need money for your draft picks. If Ashton Youboty is a Patriot type player and the Pats lucked out and got him, then I think they would be set in terms of a shutdown corner. Otherwise, we are going to have to be satisfied with the group we have.

    MG - I think that if the Pats bring Michael Stone and Hawkins back that they will help to off-set any loss of Harrison. BB continues to be very high on Guss Scott, though Scott may be running out of chances since he can't seem to stay healthy. Adding someone like Bernard Pollard or D'Qwell Jackson could get the Pats going in the right direction.
  4. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    I am confused here, MG. Do you mean KLECKO and Ashworth as the #4 and #5 TE? Personally, I hope the Pats take Matt Bernstein. Kidd is a FB, BUT, has good hands, can run, can run block and pass block, knows how to pick up blitzes, has good athleticism (watched him hurdle a LB during a game), and is a good route runner. Though he is on the shortish side for a TE (6-3), he's got the bulk (267) to be a bruiser.

    I like the idea of taking Moulds alot. However, I'd rather see the Pats get Todd Watkins or Jonathan Orr in the draft over spending money on Randel-El. I think that Randel-El is going to be a highly sought after commodity. I also wouldn't mind them drafting Stovall if they felt that PK Sam and Bam Childress weren't going to be productive.

    I had been a Bethel Johnson supporter in the past, but I think he's run out of options. Unless, of course, BB knows something we don't about Bethel's injuries and feels Bethel deserves one more shot.

    So true, MG. So True. However, the future is bright. The BIGGEST thing that any of us should be worried about this off-season though, is the CBA extension. Without that, we can all but forget about signing any of our guys who are in the last year of their contract in 2006 to extensions because they will wait for the free for all that will be going on.
  5. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Coaching - A definite need on defense - If BB can find a secondary coach
    of quality - maybe he also needs a LB coach unless Pees is to that job also.

    Secondary - is not OK even with returning players. IMO. PATs need to find
    a physical corner that is Better than Samuel. To get significantly better on
    defense this is an improvement that could make a difference. This is much
    easier said than done.

    Run Game - they need to Commit to doing something about
    it. If PATs assesment is the run blocking will NOT improve much - then the search must go on for the missing element. If PAts go in with a casual
    attitude "we'll do the best we can with what we got" which I sense is the
    attitude -- then PATs may end up with same run game results and they will
    be sitting home angain next year.

    Run Game should, IMO, be highest priority to insure it gets turned around.
    If it just averages 3.4yds a carry again -- PATs will struggle as Teams
    learn how to handle PATs pass offense next year. If it can get back
    to the 2004 level ... that would be decent I beleive it has to be better
    because PATs opponents are getting better defensively. Miami will be
    tough this year defensively and offensively.

    I agree WR is a need but how much will PATs commit to it? I'd like to see
    at least one significant improvement even if Givens stays. If Givens leaves
    .... this could be a problem.

    Will PATs have CAP space to work with?

    If they let Poole and Starks go I think they pick up about 5M in cap space.
    Then they can restucture a player or two - say they could have about 8M
    to work with and they got about 50 players signed to date.

    I could see one or two significant FA pickups.

    A WR or Corner may be a target.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2006
  6. PatsRI

    PatsRI PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  7. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree, but note the comment about Charlie. We lost Charlie's leadership also Davidson's. Dante is a genius but he can't do it alone.

    "Brady can't be put in bubble wrap, but New England is going to have to commit to protecting Brady better in 2006. In years past, Charlie Weis would ream any lineman who failed to take care of the quarterback. No excuses."

  8. Mosi Moose

    Mosi Moose Rookie

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    It would not surprise me at all if we take an OG at #21.
  9. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa Rookie

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    I think the Pats have the talent offensively to be better. There are
    two question marks;

    1. Health - Need Light,Koppen,Graham,Dillon and Faulk on the field.
    None of them had a career threatening injury. So, I
    think they'll be fine.

    2. UFA's - Givens,Neal,Ashworth and Gorin. I'd like to keep 3 out
    of 4. Givens,Neal and one of the T's. Losing Givens
    leaves a big void at wr. I doubt we can draft someone
    to replace his production. Poor year for wr's. Many
    wr's need a year to adjust to more intricate offenses.
    Have to wait until free agency to see who replaces
    Givens if we lose him.

    Defensively, I'm confident our front 7 will be fine. Secondary needs
    work. I think we can plug some holes on defense through
    the draft. I'd like to draft an olb/de to spell Willie. He's
    getting up in age and I'd like to add some speed off of
    the corner. My target is Manny Lawson olb/de - NC st
    in Round 1. Can get depth at ilb and ng in 4th and 5th
    round. I want to add two db's too. Draft them early.
    I think we can get a cb in round 2. May have to move
    up a little. I think we can get a S in round 3. I like
    Pat Watkins from FSU. Big, rangy kid who is a special
    teams demon. Put 20lb's on him and you have a legit
    NFL safety. I would cut Starks and Poole. That leaves
    Hobbs,Samuel,#2,Gay and C.Scott at cb. I think that
    "might" be good enough. Need some improvement from
    Hobbs and a good draft pick. At safety. Obviously,
    we need Rodney back. We won't be able to draft or
    sign anyone who can give us what he can. Let's
    just hope(pray) he can come back by mid-season.
    A.Hawkins and B.Sanders will have to step up until
    Rodney is ready. I think Watkins can help too. Don't
    expect G.Scott to produce. That's why I'd like to
    get Watkins.
  10. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I generally agree with you additions. Specifically
    1. OK, I agree that punting + punt coverage is improved. But then I thought I said that.
    2. I agree tha blocking needs to be improved.
    3. I agree that Dwight is better than Brown.
    4. I agree that we need to bring in a potential OLB starter. I suspect that he is now playing DE in college, perhaps not.
    ------------

    I have no idea what Stone brings other than special teams. I suppose he would compete with Scott for the last spot roster spot, but I think Guss is secure if healthy. Stone can't cover. Hawkins will get better and better as he learns the system and plays more.



  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    :)

    We need a #4 and #5 RB/FB. Klecko should be gone. Ashworth shouldn't be in the backfield. Besides he'll be playing in New York. Evans is useless. A fullback who can't block and can't pick up the blitz is indeed useless.

    I generally don't fill needs with hoped for draftees. BTW, Do you believe that the draft is so good with regard to wideouts that finding a starting #3 wide receiver who will be a top returner is no problem? The draft is a crapshoot. If we want to draft our starting punt return and a contributing receiver, then I suggest that we should draft two receiver on the first day. Randel El may get too much. There may be better choices. Or maybe no affordable backup free agents is significantly better than Dwight and Davis. That certainly may be the case. I like Randel El; but I also like Davis and Dwight.

    The key is Moulds.

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