Kerry J. Byrne (Cold Hard Football Facts) CHFF-style health care reform: AFC East. ( excerpt below:)
Strength: Bill Belichick’s defensive mind. Yeah, we’ve hammered him over the past two years – and not for the popular and meaningless methods of personal attack preferred by the "pundits." No, we’ve attacked him because of the defensive collapses that have come to define his teams in recent years. However, the problem seems to be a lack of talent, not his system. New England’s 2009 defense was held together with pixie dust and Scotch tape. It had zero playmakers. Yet it still managed to field a fairly productive unit: they actually ranked better on defense (fifth in scoring) than they did on offense (sixth). They continued to field a classic bend-but-don’t-break defense, fourth in the NFL in Bendability in 2009. The Belichick system, then, still works. What it needs are stronger cogs and sprockets to make it work better.
Weakness: Drafting. OK, here’s where you can legitimately rip Belichick. New England’s drafts since 2004 have been nothing short of a disaster, especially on defense. Bill Belichick and company have whiffed on one pick after another, especially in the secondary, since finding Asante Samuel in 2003. One or two rock-solid drafts, much like those that produced their championship teams early last decade, can make the Patriots contenders again. Otherwise, they’re just meandering without a defensive leader.
Mike Reiss reports the Patriots have traditionally done a good job at not overlooking their own backyard.
There are solid, under-the-radar football players right here in New England, such as University of New Hampshire tight end Scott Sicko.
The Patriots ran Sicko's Pro Day on campus March 10, and he performed well enough in the 40-yard dash that it caught the attention of some other clubs who weren't in attendance. The Colts came in to work him out last Monday, and Sicko is scheduled to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on April 12.
Sicko was 6-foot-4, 251 pounds at his Pro Day. He was up to 254 pounds for the Colts private workout last week, and still ran well.
- Patriots Today - Sights and sounds from Mayo Bowl. (2.20 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Meriweather, Bodden and the Globetrotters. (3.53 min. video)
- Ian Rapoport notes Wes Welker has been 'rehabbing' at the Playboy Mansion. I'm sure that's a workout robe he's wearing.
- Christopher Price offers a few assorted notes about workouts, prospects and which players may or may not be on New England's radar screen.
- Tom E. Curran provides an updated Patriots Draft workout list.
- Adam Kilgore details Matt Patricia's journey from rocket scientist to being perhaps Belichick's most trusted assistant coach.
- Albert Breer puts Pro Days in perspective. What fans think they see isn't always what they get.
- Albert Breer reports the Patriots are scheduled to host DT Cam Thomas (North Carolina) at Gillette Stadium. It's one of the 30 in-house pre-draft visits allowed by the league, with RB Montario Hardesty (Tennessee), DE Jerry Hughes (TCU), and DT Dan Williams( Tennessee) coming to town as well.
- Mike Reiss reports the Patriots put DL Aleric Mullins (North Carolina) through a private workout in Chapel Hill last week.
- Albert Breer notes Brandon Meriweather wanted to play with the Harlem Globetrotters when he was a kid, and got a chance to appear with them in Providence on Saturday.
- Albert Breer notes the Cowboys and Patriots have operated with similar strategies so far this offseason.
- Greg Doyle of Patriots Daily offers a Q & A with Scott Sicko, a pass-catching tight end from UNH who caught 160 passes for the Wildcats during his career, including 22 touchdowns.
- Albert Breer talks about the potential similarities between Josh McDaniels' year without the Offensive Coordinator title in 2005 and Bill O'Brien, who will begin his second year in the same position.
- Ian Rapoport notes fans of Leigh Bodden will soon be able to buy his jersey at the Patriots Pro Shop.
- Christopher Price spoke with two players from the 2005 Patriots and neither said they knew about the 3-week rift between Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady that year.
- Jeff Howe has a nice piece on Stephen Neal's determination, resilience and humility that forged his pathway into the NFL.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Scouts Inc.: Pats pass-rush problems.
- Doug Farrar (Yahoo! Sports) McDaniels' mercurial nature goes back to Brady days.
- Wes Bunting (Nat'l Football Post) Tight end fight night: Sizing up Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham and Arizoona's Rob Gronkowski.
- Jack Bechta (Nat'l Football Post) Landing an internship in sports: Seven steps that can help you get your foot in the door.
- Brian Heyman (NY Times) The next Belichick takes up coaching, determined to make her own name.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) League green lights return of video noise messages.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Steelers' Santonio Holmes sued for assault, battery.
- Gary Mihoces (USA Today) Big doubts about Ben: Support for Roethlisberger is wavering.
- Andy Hutchins (Sporting News) Joey Porter introduces himself to Arizona fans by having run-in with California Cop.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFL players would be wise not to clam up for TV.