The Upcoming Year..OPTIMISM galore!!

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by supafly, May 6, 2011.

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  1. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    So the schedule is out, the draft has taken place, and the team is quickly taking shape. Instead of looking forward to mini-camps, the early sighting of the rookies, free agent signings, and eventually training camp, we are stuck in this limbo...

    The DL looks pretty solid, in my opinion. There are many injured players returning such as Warren, Brace, Wright, Pryor, and Deaderick. We have also added a veteran presence in Stroud. It certainly is looking more hopeful than the past couple of years--at least since the departure of Seymour.

    The LB core is not nearly as bad as many here think. Ninkovich is the kind of player we love to have, and may even continue to improve. Cunningham showed promise in his first year, and will continue to advance with another season. Spikes is certainly hopeful to be a major contributor. Mayo is coming off of an incredibly solid year, and of course was the NFL's leading tackler. We still have depth and a sub-package coverage guy in Guyton. Fletcher even showed us promise. There is a lot of hope with this core, and we haven't even explored the possibility of added a free agent vet. This could be promising indeed.

    The secondary could be the best since the 2003 days, if not even better. We all know that McCourtey was only the 4th rookie EVER to make the pro bowl, and our major (#1 from last yr) signing in Bodden is returning from injury. There's absolutely zero reason to believe that he won't be up to par, as I remember him saying that he realistically 'could've' played in the SB--had we made it + the overlooking of obvious IR/roster rules. The point is--he claims he's at 100% already, and has been for at least a couple months. We all saw Arrington relish his role, and he is a good team player. He can play in nickle/dimes, and is certainly viable off of the bench if needed. I like the depth. Once again, we've added more youth/depth/speed in a HIGH pick in Dowling. I am looking forward to seeing what this kid has, and by all accounts seems to have the natural talent to be coached up. This is great, and it also pushes back Butler (who seemed to at least play 'better' and could still end up being a factor). Wilhite could at least provide depth, and at least knows the system.

    As far as the safeties go, it seems as though the early bad news re: Meriweather has subsided, and that nothing will come about it. He can provide another year, will cause some turnovers, and may be quite inspired in his contract year. Chung made nice strides last year, and is just another who continues to learn, succeed, and impress. The 2nd-3rd yr players will step up even more. For depth, Belichick obviously thinks Barrett shows promise, and we still don't know if we'll end up keeping McGowan or not--who has shown that he can indeed, contribute. James Sanders is the veteran leader of sorts, and though he may not be as overall talented, he is still an important piece as he often calls the secondary assignments. He plays 'smart,' no doubt. Even Sergio Brown showed us that he is able to step in and make plays, after all he was only a rookie, and should/could improve even more if he sticks around. Overall the CB/S positions are looking GOOD to me!!

    As a gelling defense that is young and still learning, we all saw the potential in the 2nd half of the year. It showed us a lot of promise at times, and we should be able to not only fix the 3rd down dilemma, but also put some added pressure that we all need and crave. I truly am not an optimistic person of sorts, but am feeling as though some of these issues will continue to only get better.

    The all-important special teams unit has only gotten even better IMO. We have very talented (multiple) KR's, PR's, and added more speed and special teams presence through the draft. I am going out on a limb and predicting that the 'ST--ONLY' positions will be at a premium for sure this year. I truly only see one or two, although many will likely disagree. We have gone and made the 53 man even more special teams friendly, there's no doubt. We're getting our pro bowl kicker back (not that the replacement wasn't GREAT minus touchbacks), and the rookie punter Mesko showed us how good he can be (The BAL game took a MAJOR turn of events with that booming punt. I truly believe he won the game for us). I think that special teams could seriously be the best it has been in a while.

    The offense is already extremely powerful, but once again, the addition of youth/depth/speed will only improve.

    At QB we added a potential good backup with obvious raw talent in Mallett, at the very least he provides more depth and could light a fire under Hoyer, who himself should only improve with another added yr. Brady is coming off a yr where he was the only unanimous MVP ever.. Again, it's another position that should be the strongest it has been in a while, and it really can't hurt to carry 3 QB's again.

    The RB core is very strong too, IMO. They don't fumble often, which hopefully will carry over. We already had a 1,000 yd rusher who didn't fumble one time, and we already know what kind of presence Woody brings as a 3rd down back. The additional brusier in Ridley, and HR threat in Vareen will just make this position even deeper and better. This isn't even taking into account the fact that K.Faulk may or may not be done, but BB may end up keeping him for depth and locker room presence (I think it's about 60/40 that he is done, maybe 65/35). Regardless, I hate to even say it--the position really looks stronger and deeper than it has in years. No more relying and 'hoping' on older backs that seem to be past their prime. We are back to a punishing running game that will only help keep TFB upright, and run clock. Their ability to pick up the blitz and block is an even more important factor.

    We all know about the TE infusion. Another added yr for the 2 rookies?? Sign me up... We haven't even begun to taste the kind of variances that Hernandez will bring us, and Crumpler has shown tremendous locker room leadership, the great ability to block and even occasionally catch a pass or 2. On top of that, we went out and added one of the draft's best blocking TE's in the 5th round. Again, it looks as though we are back to a more physical style of play, even more versatility, and added youth and depth.

    The O-line is fine, as Mankins will surely not pass up 10 million to play one more year, and as far as we know Belichick could be planning on making him a better long term deal. We have depth here for sure. One more year out of Koppen, another additional improvement year in Vollmer, and even the possibility of Light moving to a guard position--who knows? (not likely IMO). There may even be a guy who steps up with the addition of another year of knowledge, as I am not going to list every player, just like the D-line. There are about 10-12 options, and this post is long enough. We saw good potential in Connelly, good backup spot playing off the bench at times in Wendall and LeVoir, and my gosh---even added a 6'9" beast with the first round pick in Solder!!! If Cannon ends up even being PUP'ed, and plays even HALF a year, this is just another position that may actually even be improved. If he doesn't play, the position still took a turn for the future, and will only be added again next draft at center (likely IMO). We have seen the Dante school of beastly quick turnouts show us time and again what the coaching can do, and it's really just icing on the cake to think that we added even more depth/competition/youth/talent in this aspect too. Once again, another position that should be more physical, and will likely increase the longevity of Brady, and the influx of the running game.

    So, with the added improvement of another yr for Tate and Edelman, the likelihood of finally getting Price some reps, a fully healthy WELKER, and the chemistry with Branch/Brady, the WR core certainly looks quite good again. Since the RB's and TE's will play an even bigger role again, and we may even ADD a free agent--even this position may actually improve. Especially when you consider that Welker is back to 100% healthy, and Price may come out of nowhere. Tate/Edelman should only improve. It really could end up being better than last yr's WR core.

    So, with the addition of another all-important yr for the 2nd/3rd yr players, another good draft, the improvement in many areas (for a team that did not have many needs as it is already), Brady coming off another record yr literally, the added physicality of TE's and RB's, the youth infusion, the presence of GREAT locker room leadership with no apparent 'bad apples,' the fact that the defense will once again be led by Belichick, the return of injured players, AND even greater special teams presence...WHERE EXACTLY IS THE WEAKNESS?????

    Again, I am not 'optimistic' in much of anything. I am a realist in all aspects of my life, but the more I think about all of these factors + the fact that we haven't even addressed free agency yet, I am extremely happy and hopeful for the upcoming year.

    I truly believe the only thing that could hold us back (besides the unthinkable injury to our QB--where the backup position would still enable us to compete) is this damn labor situation, which I can only hope gets resolved soon.

    Bring on the 2011 season, for this team is loaded currently, and for the future. The fact that we have 2 firsts and 2 seconds next year too, should be making A LOT of people around here pretty positive!!!
  2. DarrylS

    DarrylS Supporter Supporter

    I share your optimism about this team, but as long as the NFL and NFLPA allow the court system to dictate their future the outcome is not good for the fans. Cannot understand why these organizations want to abdicate their responsibility to Court Systems?? Allowing someone else to dictate the outcome is folly and nothing good will come from it.

    This weekend should be the Rookie Camp, and we would have known about the UDFA's by now.. instead we amuse ourselves by optimism and what might be.. in reality everything is pushed back, and unless the principals lock themselves in a room somewhere and hammer out an agreement, the outcome for the fans is not good.

    The good thing for this team is that none of our draftees have to step in on Sept. 12, if they are ready it would be nice.... imagine Carolina and Cam Newton, he will have to get up to speed as a QB in a NFL Office by using cliff notes.. not a good outcome there.
  3. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    All good pts Darryl. I believe that the court stuff is going to dictate who has the 'upper hand' in regards to the final negotiations. That's why both sides see it so importantly, and are going all out. Whoever wins will have one up on the other side, and it will likely cause the losing side to have to come down a bit in their terms. I'm just hoping that we can have the 2010 rules in place, and they can agree to carry on the negotiations. I just don't see either side budging at all. I'm certainly missing Gene Upshaw, and do not care for D.Smith at all. I believe he's trying to make a name for himself, and instead of trying to meet halfway, as per any negotiation, he wants to show everyone that he can 'win.'

    I'm in total agreement about the draft picks' contributions and reliance early, and yes--Cam Newton will be screwed no matter what. I still can't figure out why the Panthers just didn't wait for the QB bidding wars w/ free agents, and take a beastly defensive player--but I am no GM either.

    As far as the optimism goes, I am really feeling it for the first time since 06-08, when we all seemed to be taking it for granted a bit. I think this labor situation is just about the only thing that can keep this team and fanbase down this year. I think we are absolutely guaranteed to compete heavily.
  4. captain insano

    captain insano In the Starting Line-Up

    #11 Jersey

    so basically what your saying is every thing looks good.
  5. borg

    borg In the Starting Line-Up

    This roster has a ton of depth. Just looking at 2 groupings:
    Going into last year, RB was a concern. Many had BJGE on the bubble, Morris and Taylor were injury prone and old, and Faulk was the dependable seasoned vet. How things change. Seems like the average age of this grouping dropped by ten years.
    Last year DB seemed complete...until Bodden hit the IR and Butler regressed. With Bodden back, Dowling drafted, Arrington with a strong year under his belt, this grouping appears to be deep with quality.
  6. Synovia

    Synovia In the Starting Line-Up

    Why do people think Guyton is depth, and Spikes is a starter? Guyton was playing about 3 times as many snaps before Spikes got suspended.

    Spikes is depth.
  7. Shelterdog

    Shelterdog Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    That's not even close to true. By pro football focus's count it was Guyton 385, Spikes 355 before the suspension. It was clearly matchup dependent; Spikes was in against bigger running threats, Guyton in passing situations.

    The assumpion is that as a second year player Spikes will improve more than Guyton, particuarly in the passing game and in sussing out play action so he'll play more downs int he base package even if the other team is more of a passing team.

    Anyhow, I think the team is going to be very good this year if they don't have too many injuries, but even if they're much better than last year it will be hard for them to have the luck,etc. to go 14-2 again.
  8. BlueThunder

    BlueThunder Supporter Supporter

    #91 Jersey

    Nice post Supa....but with all those good players, the numbers probably don't add up.....If Pats keep the extra TE....they probably keep one less RB ( Bye by Faulk,Morris and Taylor).. keep an extra QB...(where do they cut a position?) Possibly move/count Hernandez as a WR...then who gets cut (Slater?)...

    Some names we thought would be safe probably get cut....haven't sorted thru all the possibilities but it should be a new look offense this year with some minor D changes with Warren,Bodden and Dowling figured in....:singing:
  9. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Overlooked in all the optimism, is news about the most criticized of the Patriots draft picks, Stevan Ridley.

    Many Pats fans said they wanted an OLB, but liked the Varene selection, but Ridley was a "reach".

    The All-SEC team has been chosen by the SEC Coaches. There is an interesting item of news. Mark Ingram was beaten out for ALL-SEC RB by..ta da... Steven Ridley. Ridely was the starting RB on the All-SEC Team, and Mark Ingram fell to Second Team All-SEC.

    Maybe we critics might have been a bit hasty. Ridely has platooned at RB as is LSU custom, but in the past year broke out as a 1200 yard/year, power RB. He shares the distinction and has never fumbled in his career, just like draft pick Verene and BJGE. I like the fact that his college carries have been relatively few, so he is a fresh, low mileage, power back. Had he stayed for his senior year he would have accumulated more headlines and might have been a high draft pick in 2012.

    Do we have another Belichick draft coup?
  10. Brettlax3434

    Brettlax3434 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    I agree, people overlook Ridly because Kiper and others didn't have him rated high. Who cares. Watching his highlight tapes he looks like a strong runner who can hit the hole, cut, break tackles, and be productive. BB likes what he has seen. I could see him having just as big an impact as Vereen.
  11. DarrylS

    DarrylS Supporter Supporter

    I think overall we have, this is a draft with the labor strife in mind.. most seem to have the ability to contribute.. and all seem to have a very high upside... 6 of the nine are captains, and I believe that all spent at least 4 years in college..

    None of these guys have to start on 9/12 or whenever the seaon starts, but can become starters as the season progresses.. compare to those teams who picked "high" and anticipate that those draftees can immediately contribute, without Rookie Camp, OTA's, Training with the team and probably an abbreviated TC.
    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  12. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    No, what I'm saying is everything looks improved in all aspects..maybe for the first time in a few yrs we have positional improvement, youth, speed, and depth just about everywhere you look.

    If you didn't like the positional breakdown that's on you--then so be it, but when you look at the entire picture position by position, there's definitely something to get awfully excited about.

    I'm saying everything looks GREAT ;)
  13. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    As another pointed out, the snaps are awfully close.

    Either way, Spikes/Guyton or Guyton/Spikes--it's looking good.
  14. Buchanty

    Buchanty Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #51 Jersey

    Link for those interested - All-SEC Football 2011 - slight correction as both Ridley and Ingram were selected for the second team but Ridley was positioned as the lead RB.
  15. Buchanty

    Buchanty Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #51 Jersey

    What it does point out, however, is how far Ingram's production and reputation had dropped since winning the Heisman. I originally was hoping that he would fall to us at 28, but seems we got a far better deal with Vereen and Ridley. How can you not feel optimistic about the offense for the season ahead.
  16. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #22 Jersey

    IMO I think people overlook Ridly more because he was the second player we chose at the position naturally we are going to be more excited about the guy who was selected earlier in the draft.

    What I really like is that the two seem to be a nice fit in the group with each of Woodhead, Vareen, and Ridley having differing skill sets BJGE and Ridley overlap as similar skilled players but as whole the group seems to compliment itself great.
  17. Gwedd

    Gwedd Supporter Supporter

    #11 Jersey

    What I can see at this point is Faulk, Morris & Taylor all being released, and potentially Faulk returning as an assistant RB coach.

    Faulk, I believe, would thrive in such a job, and his insights, especially regarding tendencies of other AFCE RB's would be invaluable to the new guys.
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