New England Patriots Links 2/15/10 - Offseason Evaluations

CB Leigh Bodden is waiting to hear from the Patriots and would love to return with the team.

SportsXchange (Fox Sports) AFC East offseason preview.

1. Defensive end/outside linebacker: Whether it's in the four-man fronts that the team ran a bit more often in 2009 or in New England's traditional 3-4 sets, the Patriots must find a legitimate pass rusher. An inability to get to the quarterback, save for Tully Banta-Cain's overachieving and misleading 10 sacks, has been the major flaw in the New England defense for the last two seasons.

2. Wide receiver: Randy Moss isn't getting any younger or more productive. Wes Welker is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery and is likely to open 2010 on the unable-to-perform list. And New England never found a No. 3 option behind those productive vets last fall. The Patriots must find at least two legitimate receiving options to work with Moss and developing youngster Julian Edelman.

3. Inside linebacker: Jerod Mayo battled a knee injury for a somewhat disappointing sophomore season. Former undrafted second-year player Gary Guyton was miscast on the inside in 3-4 fronts. And beyond those two young players, New England has little talent or depth at inside linebacker. That's a problem, even playing behind one of the best nose tackles in the game in Wilfork.

Mark Gaughan (Buffalo News) It's getting tough to find players for 3-4.

The stud nose tackle who dominates the middle of the line — the first prerequisite of the 3-4 — is hard to find. Patriots coach Bill Belichick voiced this concern on a conference call with Buffalo media [back in December].

"Absolutely — I think that's one thing that's really come to note for us," Belichick said. "When I came here in 2000, it was basically us and the Steelers (playing the 3-4). And the competition for players — the nose tackles, the outside linebackers, some of the two-gap defensive linemen — it wasn't very much. Players like Mike Vrabel, who didn't get a chance to play very much in Pittsburgh because of the players that were ahead of him, signed here in a big part because of the opportunity that he had to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense."

TEAM TALK

LOCAL LINKS

NATIONAL NEWS

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Pats Pulpit

You must be a member of Pats Pulpit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pats Pulpit. You should read them.

Join Pats Pulpit

You must be a member of Pats Pulpit to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pats Pulpit. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker