....and it was exactly as I expected. 1. After much harranguing and complaint, the Pats FINALLY threw some sucessful Play Action Passes (PAPs) HALLA-F*CKING-LOOYA. The Patriots finally caught up with the concept that a good running attack can be futher enhanced with PAPs off those runs. Maybe NEXT time the Pats play the Colts, Bob Sanders won't be playing most of his time IN the PAT's Backfield. Ya Think!!!! 2. Clearly the Pats should spend a big hunk of that Cap room this year to extend Ty Warren. We have all commented of how much this has been a breakout year for the young Mr. Warren. But over the last couple of games, the comparison of this DL with and without Ty was glaring. I'm pretty sure that he is locked up until at least2008, but I would hope that the Pats would make an exception in his case and raise his pay and extend him until at least 2010. In the long run it would probably be a lot less expensive to do it now than wait until his contract year. He has EARNED IT. 3. It hurts me to think that the Seahawks could just as easily be 4-6 as 6-4 at this point of the season, and the Pats could have been looking at pick in the early teens as opposed to the late 20's. Its possible that this scenerio might still come to be, since its the Seahawk DEFENSE that is crapping the bed, as much as the losses of Hasselbeck and Alexander. Still its hard to picture Seattle NOT winning their division. However there is room to hope for a 9-7 record which will give a choice in the early 20's. 4. Speaking of Draft Choices and next year, it perfectly clear to me that the Patriots have only 3 areas where I would like to improvement. a. The one area that I think needs the most critical improvement is in the secondary. While the current edition is decent, it is still the weeklink on the team. IMHO the key area that this lacking is SIZE. I can only think that THIS lack, is why the Pats secondary is constantly in a state of decimation. I would REALLY, REALLY like the Pats to draft the best available DB when their first pick comes up. Ideally this will be a S or CB with some size, and could become and immediate starter on this team. Secondly I'd like the Pats to sign the best available DB FA this off season. Again someone with some size. Bottom Line- a shut down secondary would make this defense almost impenetrable. b. The next area of concern, would be to add talent and youth to the LB corps. Right now the LB play this season has been excellent, but with Jr, Tedy, and Mike all WELL over 30, it is time to bring in some new blood....and anymore of those 5th-7th round development choices. We need to add one blue chip LB athlete from the draft, and one from FA. I think there are several FA possibilities this coming off season, including Lance Briggs. c. While I think the WR corp has adequate talent, and Chad Jackson is a special talent as an athlete, it wouldn't hurt to go out on the FA market and find a guy who could come in here and be an immediate #1 type talent. I don't know if there will be a guy out there who can fill that role. I just think it would be nice. I don't think we should waste one of the first round picks on a WR UNLESS there is someone so outstanding that for some reason they dropped to early 20's where the Pats should be using the Seattle pick. Clearly picking WRs isn't easily predictable. Just ask the Lions and Saints. The Lions have had 3 shots at the BEST WR on the board, and have only hit on ONE. (BTW- Don't blame Millen for the misses, while many would have picked other positions, very few thought that the WRs chosen weren't worth their place on draft board) And the Saints got the best rookie WR in the league some where in the 3rd or 4th round, so who can tell about drafting WRs. It is one of those very UNPREDICTABLE positions. That's why I'd RATHER spend the $ on a proven veteran. This is also a definite THIRD priority. If it didn't happen, I'd be OK to go with our current group into next year. What we don't need are more QB's, DL, OL, TE's, & RB's In those areas we have enough talent, depth & youth to last a couple of years (well maybe we can pick up a younger RB to replace Pass and develop behind Faulk and Dillon, who are aging) I really hope we trade MANY of draft picks we have next April to move up for quality or out to future years. If we make only 7 picks next year, it would be fine with me, 5 would be better. IMO you could leverage the 11+ picks the Pats are due to get into 5 first day picks - 3 DB's, 2LB/DE's and 2WRs would be perfect IMHO. The key for the Pats is Quality not Quantity 5. I wonder about the lack of playing time that Gabriell has gotten the last 2 weeks. It CAN'T just be that he made a key fumble. Many have committed that mistake. As an observation, I haven't found him to be an explosive WR. It seems to take him a couple of steps to get to full speed. He has run 4.3 40's so it is not a matter of raw speed. He has that. His production was fairly good up until his benching (especially given his late arrival), and Brady has gone out of his way to mention him a couple of times. Every Raider fan I spoke with only spoke glowingly about his character as a team guy, So why is Doug Gabriel on the bench??? I can only hope that the other 4 WRs are simply just better at this point. Any ideas??? 6. This will be a very interesting team to watch as the season closes. It will be tough to get a read on how this team will fare in the post season. Not even a win against the Bears will offer a real picture, since the NFC is SOOOOO bad, a win over them won't have the same value as a win over the Bronco's, Colts, or SD, who are clearly the cream of the crop....league wide, right now. Hopefully the defensive secondary will be healthier and Rodney will be back. Hopefully the WRs and QB will be more in synch, but of all the teams we have watched over the last 5 years, this is the hardest to figure out, since this is the first year, they've had such an easy schedule and have played so few games against the elite teams in the league. INTERESTING. 7. Watch out for Miami. The game down there is going to be much more difficult that most will think. They finally have gotten their act together and have run off 3 straight wins. Winning in Miami has ALWAYS been a difficult task for the Pats. I don't think Saban and his group will do us any favors and roll over. Like the Jets, a victory over the Pats will MAKE THEIR SEASON. So beware the Phish 8. For some reason the Baltimore Ravens are the team I hate the most recently. My dislike for them equals my hate for the Broncos and Colts (teams we actually play). Maybe its their coach. Maybe its the Ray Lewis Hype machine. Maye its their thug image. I don't know, but for a team that we have played only once during this 5 year run, emotions have run high. I would love to play them in the playoffs. They are a perfect fit for us....IMHO 9. Is the NFC SO BAD that makes a victory over the 9-1 Bears relatively meaningless. I think the answer to that is YES. The Bears have eked by with wins over the Packers and Vikes, and have lost to the resurgent Dolphins. It is hard to take them THAT seriously. From what I have read we WILL see their offense at its best, with Berrian back at WR, but Grossman is s hit or miss kind of QB, so how good their offense will be is subject to conjecture. It will be interesting to see how the Pats will attack "the best defense in the league". One thought would be to spread them out like we did the Vikes and Steelers. Another would be to run right at them and wear them down, then hit them deep with (dare I say it) Play Action Passes. They are weaker in at the safeties with Mike Brown out for the year (though the same could be said of our safety position.) The Bears play an aggressive brand of defense, we should use that agression against them. The would mean the following. ON THE RUN - Quick hitting traps and draws. We should run NO running plays that take time developing. That would be suicide against this kind of defense. Between our TEs and FB, we can attacks all allong the line with good angle blocks that will make the Bears pay for their agressive one gap techniques. ON THE PASS - Again PAP's are my favorite but that would assume that we are running the ball effectively. I hope we have seen a little bit of the future when we saw Moroney catch the swing pass for the last TD. I would like to see more of that kind of simple pass play. I would also love to see the spread-no huddle formation for a series of plays and then without warning or reason 2 TEs and a single back, also from a no-huddle. This kind of personell moves will cause the Bears to use a time out or better, not use a TO and be caught in some bad mismatches.