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The New England Patriots Want You!!

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Well, not you specifically.  Unless, of course, you're built like a brick house, hit like a freight train, can take being pounded to the ground on a regular basis, and don't mind moving to Foxboro.  Me?  I'm just a tired old geezer who watches a lot of football and often times makes a laughable attempt at writing about my favorite team.  But enough about me.  Moving on...

As every good NFL fan knows, the NFL Combine is taking place as I type this.  The incredible emphasis placed on the Combine is a bit troublesome to me.  On the one hand, you get to see potential NFL caliber players strut their stuff.  On the other hand, it's a single slice of time that, if executed poorly, can drastically change an athletes career and earnings potential.  The emphasis on the performance numbers generated is maddening, IMO.  If a team is foolish enough to use the combine as their only decision point, they'll get what's coming to them.  If they overlook a player because of a lackluster showing (Brady anyone), shame on them.

This is where the magic that is Bill Belichick comes into play.  He's got his coaching staff with him and recently crowned Director of Player Personnel, Nick Caserio, eying the talent.  Sure, he's crossed paths with Scott Pioli, now GM of the KC Chiefs.  And I'm sure he's shaking his hand or given him a friendly old bear hug.  But inside, friendships mean little when you're building a winning franchise.  They mean squat, as a matter of fact.  Belichick will work whatever magic he can to get the players he needs and apparently, the word of the day is Defense.

As we're all aware, Belichick almost never lets us know what he's thinking.  He's miles ahead and keeps information under tight control.  Boston-based writers, as well as ourselves, are forced into a "put the pieces together" mode and we struggle to make sense of it all.  I think it's hilarious, this dance Hoodie plays with everyone.  Like a mad professor with his hands on the secret formula, he won't even crack a smile.  But, every once in a while, his wording can nudge us in a certain direction.

Take, for instance, all of the comments he's been making about the defensive backfield, especially safeties.  Maybe even 15 minutes with the defensive coordinator, Dan Pees (props to NESilver)?

Delmas, who measured in at 5-11 1/4, 202 pounds, said today that he spoke with Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees on Saturday.

“I talked to the D-coordinator for a good 15 minutes,” Delmas said. “We got along well. He let me know out front that I’d be able to fit into the defense, but he told me that it’s going to require a lot of film work, a lot of time in the playbook. I’m willing to do that. That’s the type of person I am. I love to watch film. I can find the little things about the opposing teams. I’d think I’d be able to fit into there.”

Oh, and let's not forget this one:

So maybe some of those hybrid guys who played corner and played safety – like Jenkins, for example, is a guy who played both, what his best fit would be for a team, where he’s most valuable, is certainly an interesting discussion for all teams.

Yeah, let's get some of them young, smart safeties.  Sure, all of us could've predicted this, but at least when Bill hints (or doesn't hint) at it by mentioning certain things, you feel somewhat reinforced.  But, another aspect of the Combine that you may not hear anyone talk about is the beginnings of trade goings on.  I don't have first hand knowledge of this, but you have to imagine, with that amount of coaching and front office personnel representing every NFL team in one place, there's a little closed door chattin' going on.  If I were Bill, I'd be chattin' about Cassel and what I could get for him.  All the defensive potentials mentioned above will be gone by the time the Patriots can exercise their number 23 pick.  Wouldn't you be working a trade up?

More D!  More D!  That's what I'm talking about.