New England Patriots Links 7/12/10 - Leigh Bodden Gambled On Himself, And Won

How much you love to be in New England, Leigh? That much, huh?

Shalise Manza Young notes Leigh Bodden backed a winner - himself, and had a standout season with the Patriots.

"I’ve been taking a gamble on myself for a long time now, and I just believe in myself, no matter who believes in me,’’ Bodden said after a recent session of organized team activities. "[Taking the one-year deal] was the thing that I felt I needed to do and would put my faith in God and let him handle it.

"Everybody talked about, ‘What if you get hurt?’ I don’t worry about that. I just try to go out there and perform the way I perform and let everything else play out.’’

"It feels good that the team wanted me and felt like I was part of the team, and that’s pretty much what I strive for,’’ Bodden said. "It’s not about the money, but the commitment of the team wanting me to be here. So that was really good to see that the Patriots stepped up and wanted me to be here.’’

"When I was in Cleveland I was the oldest DB at one point, and that’s hard to believe [because] I think that was my fifth year. So I embrace it,’’ he said. "My coaches told me the young guys will look up to me regardless . . . I’m really not a vocal guy as far as telling guys what to do, but I try to lead by example and when they need help they can come to me or when I see something they need help on I’ll go to them.’’

Bodden is all about offering help these days. This spring, he fulfilled a goal of establishing a foundation, and awarded scholarships to student-athletes from his area in Prince George’s County, Md. He was on hand in May to award the top male and female graduating athletes at Northwestern (Bodden’s alma mater), Largo, and Suitland high schools $1,000 scholarships.

Albert Breer questions if the Pats offense will move away from the spread.

Is the spread dead? Not completely, of course. This coaching staff has always schemed to its personnel, and there are too many guys on this offense suited to wide-open looks and playing in space (Welker, Julian Edelman, Kevin Faulk) to stray too far. But it’s not far-fetched to think that Brady will be under center more, and tight ends will be utilized in different ways than they have been in the past.

Whether the Patriots can develop the running game, with a backfield rife with questions, and prepare rookies Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to contribute right away will be pivotal in that regard. Being able to run it consistently will set up play-action, and being stocked at tight end will bring that flexibility.

But all the competition and uncertainty at receiver is why at least having the ability to be more of a bloody-your-lip style of offense could be most important. If Welker can’t play right away, or some of the new additions don’t work out, or the young players hit stumbling blocks in their development, it’ll be harder for the team to go into ‘11’ and ‘10’ personnel groupings, so they’ll need to make up for it elsewhere.

It’s just as clear, though, that the flaws in that philosophy have cropped up, and so it would hardly be shocking to see camp used to give the offense a physical edge and prepare the group to play the game a little differently.

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