FanPost

Winning the AFC Championship Starts in the Off-Season

Hello Pats fans, another day another loss in the big title game. Although I'm never happy we lose, I can't be angry with how this team closed the season. We played a very good Denver team at home and lost handily. We were banged up all season, lost a lot of key pieces, and for the 2nd year in a row Talib b*tched out and was useless in the biggest game of the season. We defied expectations, this team had the worst offseason combined with multiple key injuries over the course of the season. We should have finished 11-5 a best yet we overachieved, and went 12-4 beating the AFC's best team in process. Next year just by being a normal year for the Pats we will start a lot better. Our biggest foes will be Denver, Indy, and Baltimore in 2014. We have beaten all of them this year and we can damn sure beat them next year, AND IT STARTS WITH THE OFF-SEASON PLAN.

Step 1.

Get Healthy. This is the easiest step. Gronk's rehab should go as planned. Wilfork, Kelly and Mayo should all be back next year bolster the run defense. And we will get to see what guys like Armstead and Grissom have to add. Dola can finally get surgery on his clearly torn groin, and be 100% next season. And Talib should well...I don't know. He was perfectly healthy the past 2 AFC Title games, but he didn't finish the big game. He didn't finish the Saints or Panthers game either. Didn't finish the MNF Texans game last year either. Half the big games we play he doesn't finish. So getting healthy isn't an issue for Talib. I'm in favor of the tag btw which brings me to my next step

Step 2.

Take Care of Our Guys. Talib, Edelman, DMC are the biggest names to re-sign. We already invested money in Onthemendola, so it might not be wise to give another young injury prone slot receiver good money. However you can't deny he had an incredible year and has very good chemistry with Brady. DMC is a no brainer, he is among the best at his position, and he provides much stability in the secondary, and shouldn't cost a fortune to resign. Talib is the biggest mystery. Despite him not being very accountable in big games this entire defense is built around HIM. It's a man scheme built around lock down WRs in man to man coverage and having a guy that can do that vs a team's #1 is essential. I am NOT for giving Talib a big contract, but I am in favor of tagging him.

Step 3.

Recognize Your Needs. This is VERY IMPORTANT. If you never recognize what your team needs in the playoffs you'll never address those needs. Right now the team desperately needs more offensive fire power in the big game. 16 points, 13 points, 17 points in 3 of our last playoff losses. We have not done a good enough job of equipping Tom Brady with enough weapons to win these big games. In all of those 3 games our #1 receiver was either Wes Welker or Julian Edelman. You know which QBs have better #1 WRs. Every other one he was going up against. Manning had Thomas (along with others), Flacco had Boldin and Smith, Eli had Nicks and Cruz. Brady's been outgunned and outplayed in these big games, and I for one am sick of it. We need to get him a legit #1 guy. Either trade for him or sign him, but get him HERE. Other needs include interior O-line/D-line, pass rush, safety, and TE.

Step 4.

Go Out and Sign a Difference Maker. Time is running out, Brady doesn't have much time left. His play has already clearly declined, and it's only going to get more noticeable as time goes on. In 2006 he was able to muster 27+ points, on what was pretty good playoff D on the road with little to work with. Now that just isn't the case we only score 16 vs a weak defense. We need guys to help him out on both sides of the ball. A proven pass rusher, a veteran DB, an experienced smart WR (all acquisitions the AFC Champ Broncos made last offseason) just anyone that has clearly made a difference on his team. Bargain bin under the radar signings are nice but they aren't enough. We need to make at least a mild splash in FA. This is mostly where we will most likely get someone who can come in his 1st year with the team and be that guy that played a key part in you winning the SB or not. A rookie just isn't going to do that.

Step 5

Draft for Depth and Need. This part is pretty simple. We are close to having what it takes to win a SB. We just need to continue building depth and lessening our weaknesses. Getting a DT, a Guard/Center, a TE, a SS, guys that could come in, provide more talent at the position when our starting guys are hurt, and give this team some leeway for injuries.

Step 6.

Develop Our Guys. This is VERY IMPORTANT as well. Shane Veeren, Stevan Ridley, Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, Jamie Collins, Chris Jones, Duron Harmon, Alfonso Dennard, Logan Ryan, Devin McCourty, Dane Fletcher, we absolutely need these guys to raise their level of play next year for us to be a Super bowl team. This is a very young football team and these guys' development is crucial, as they are the core of the team.

It's gonna be a long offseason, but if we approach it the right way there is no way will we end the season getting our asses handed to us even if Gronk and Talib aren't playing. What move do you want to see the pats make this offseason

The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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