.....an entire week to speculate and ponder aspects of the season without the pressure of a specific game. That's part of the pleasure and pain of a bye week. The pleasure is your team getting some much needed rest has one less game to have to win for a championship, and will play at home. The pain is like an addict who misses his daily dose. Its the weekend and there is no anticipation, anxiety, or adrenaline rush.....just nothing......just....this column I already did a post on what a unique year this has been, and I've seen it done several times in the general media since in one form or another...some much better, some worse. So I thought I'd pontificate on some things I haven't seen done lately and ask some questions that have been bugging me. In no particular order..... 1. BB's message has been clear this week and in some sense its kind of scary. 14-2 earned you a week off....and THAT'S ALL! Right now we are 0-0 and next week we will face a very good team who has ALREADY won one more playoff game that we have. OUCH! If you catch ALL ACCESS, you will see that this was essentially his message to the team, and he started sending it immediately after the Dolfins game. "Congrats" "Nice Effort"....BUT..... 2. Other scary things I've seen this week to ponder. a. We have 37 players who have never won a playoff game on our 53 man roster. I'm not great at math but that would seem like a vast majority. b, It has 26 who are in their first or 2nd year in the league. c, They will have 9 rookies starting or playing significant roles. (Gronk, Hernandez, McCourty, Spikes, Fletcher, Love, Mesko, Cunningham, and now Deadrick....again) d. We lost 2 of our 3 best Dlinemen (TWarren and Wright AND an improving replacement starter (RBrace). The Pats have had to sign 3 street FAs the the Roster AFTER the 12th game (EMoore, LCohen, AEllison,) That's unheard of for any playoff team let alone the #1 seed. I worry about our DLine depth being compromised. e. All this clearly makes all the "Pats invincibility" crap that is NOW coming out of the media seem as ridiculous as some of the "End of the Era" stuff we heard earlier this season. My 60's conspiracy side smells a plot by the media to set the Pats up to fail. The reality is that if you consider the items above, you should see what an epic accomplishment its been just to get this far, and should they fail to win it all, this season, i should be considered a huge success overall. However next year will be a different story....and I WILL be pissed if they don't win at least one game. f. Here's the REALITY - The Pats are the team that is playing the best football in the league going into the playoffs. They SHOULD be favored. However,any team they are going to face has a reasonable chance to beat them, if THEY don't play their best. 3. BTW- Mike Wright had 5.5 sacks in just 7 games. I saw that and went HMMMMMM. Don't they send guys to Hawaii who get sacks at that rate. Make no mistake, just because we've played well with him on the sidelines, we would be much better if he were out there. Mike Wright has developed into a better than average NFL DLineman. Anyone know his contract situation? 4.That is what brings me to my next observation. Going into this year, I would have bet the house that the first Pats pick in the upcoming draft was going to be the best 3-4 DE available. But now I wonder. What DE prospect could come into this system an have a bigger impact that a healthy Ty Warren will have, at least short term. Also hasn't the progress made by Brace, Love, Pryor, and even the tardy Deadrick made the immediate need for a DLineman less urgent. And don't forget the sold contribution from GWarren this season. b. So then I thought with 6 picks in the first hundred where SHOULD we invest our most expensive assets. OL would seem the next obvious choice. Light and Mankins could be gone, and Neal might have to retire. But what if Light AND Mankins are back (like I think they will). Connolly has proven an excellent fill in, and Kascur is a proven asset at a lot of positions. Do we really need to invest a high pick on an OLman when it is likely he would start his career in a back up role? Plus it seems that there is a lack of "elite" OLmen coming out this draft....I don't think so. c. So OK the next obvious target is RB. Woodhead and BJGE are a start, but Taylor, Faulk, and Morris are ancient, so a running back here seems like a sure thing....but is it? Between the likes of AFoster and BJGE, etc, it would seem that you can find competent RBs all through the draft. PLUS the long list of "failures" of 1st round RBs (Spiller, Matthews most recently); makes one hesitate to draft a RB so high. The risk reward doesn't seem to justify it. d. The next likely spot would seem to be WR. You know we have to replace Randy Moss. But once again we run into the same issues we see with the RB. Lots of failures with high WR picks and many successes in the lower rounds. PLUS we have 6 pretty good WRs currently on the roster and only one of them is over 30. BTW- I know Edelman has disappointed this season after the lofty expectations we had for him after his exceptional rookie year, BUT....after watching his effort in the Fin game, made me think it was more from a lack of opportunities with a healthy Welker and 2 TEs than anything wrong with him, especially when you consider this is STILL only his 2nd year playing the position. I also liked what I saw from Price in his first NFL game. I was most impressed with his quickness and acceleration. Don't forget that he played in an pass offense that was primitive even for the college game. He has a lot to learn. Still I was disappointed that he couldn't get on the field even if it was to cover kicks. e, So where SHOULD that first pick go. A DB? I know Merriweather has replaced Moroney as everyone's favorite whipping boy, but while he isn't an 'all pro'....and does seem to be geometrically challenged sometimes, he has played solidly for most of the season. Between him, the fast improving Chung, the very solid Sanders, the surprising Page, and the 2 S's we already have on IR. I think we are set there. When Boddin Returns we will have 5 CBs - 2 very good starters in Boddin and McCourty and 3 guys in Butler, Wilhite, and Arrington, who have all started and often haven't embarrassed themselves. Do we need the best CB available in the middle of the first round. f. I don't think ILB is a target, especially with the surprising play of Dane Fletcher. His ability to come in an play on the inside after a career as a college DE is as surprising as Edelman contributing in his first year ever playing WR. Believe me I made the move from the DL to OLB in a 4-3 after college and in those rare times we played an "over" D and I lined up over a G it was like entering a foreign country for me.... and I played like the alien I was whenever we did. I DID NOT like it. Even when I made the move from OLB to SS, it too a long time to get comfortable seeing the game from the middle of the field as opposed from one side. Don't forget it took Tedy Bruschi about 6 years to make the transition from college DE to OLB to ILB. This kid is doing it in one and he didn't even play division one ball. Pretty good stuff. In fact its remarkable g. Finally we get to the obvious pick - OLB. Cunningham has been better than expected. Ninkovich has been MUCH better than expected. TCB has been OK, and if Eric Moore make one more impact play, I'm going to personally have his urine checked. This kid has made more "big plays" in the few games he's been here than he's made in his entire very unimpressive 5year pro career. Who woke him up. Now I don't know the players, but Robert Quinn is the first name everyone seems to mention. So here is what I'm proposing. Before the season we had a LOT of holes and question marks. Now....not so much. at least as I see it. We have 6 picks in the first 3 rounds, so we pretty much can go and get anyone we want right up to #1. Think about what BB could do with all the current YOUNG defensive talent and a guy with Lawrence Taylor's physical skills. WOW! Granted the kid hasn't played in a year, and I have no idea about his mental toughness or motor, but on the surface he sound like the PERFECT pick. If you know more about him, feel free to elaborate. So here is what I'm thinking and asking. I don't think we need 6 more players in the first 3 rounds. This issue is no longer quantity. The retooling of the roster has been completed. Now it needs fine tuning. Let me know if you agree. Then consider this hypothetical. BB has decided he agrees with me and is wilingl to move up in this draft and turn his 6 picks into 2 targeted players. Which 2 would you get and how would you do it?