Road to the Super Bowl: How the Patriots fill roles

Tom already has you beat before the ball is ever snapped. - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2012 season officially in the books, we are looking ahead to next season. The Patriots will need to fill some key roles if they expect to make their way down the road to the Super Bowl.

With the 2012 season officially in the books, we are looking ahead to next season. The Patriots will need to fill 7 key roles if they expect to make their way down the road to the Super Bowl. Here's a look at our role-players.

  • Brain - Tom Brady: Before the ball is ever snapped, he has analyzed the defense, shifted the offense and determined the optimum match-ups - often times before the D-line even sets its hands in the dirt.
  • Enforcer - Logan Mankins: Logan always plays with a bit of a mean streak and takes it personally when somebody spends a second too long beating on Brady. There's a reason we like to run to the left.
  • Loose Cannon - Brandon Spikes: This guy is loaded and ready to go off wherever the runner happens to be. He brings attitude to the defense through bone-jarring, fumble-forcing hits. He's always willing to give a runner his best shot.
  • Technician - Jerod Mayo: Jerod brings the front seven together. He allows other guys to make plays by covering for their aggressive behavior. If Spikes shoots the wrong gap, Mayo's got his back. If Nink gets locked inside on a run, Mayo minimizes the losses. He's also the guy that called the nice little play that baited the Ninkovich pick.
  • Motivator - Rob Gronkowski: With Suggs-crushing blocks, jaw-dropping catches, and earth-shaking spikes, Gronk moves the offense to a whole new level. He raises everybody's game when he's on the field.
  • Prankster - Wes Welker: With Matt Light gone, Wes has really put his best foot forward to keep the team on its toes.
  • Muscle - Vince Wilfork: Holding up a quarter to half of humanity each and every snap has got to take its toll right? I mean there's no way Big Vince could possibly play more snaps than any other defensive tackle in the game. Right? That right there is an athlete.

Those are my choices. Who do you think fills these 7 roles for the Patriots? Let us know in the comments below.

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