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New England Patriots Links 3/30/10 - What Injuries? Welker's Brutal Rehab Schedule

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<em>Look!  No crutches!</em>
Look! No crutches!

Kerry J. Byrne (Cold Hard Football Facts) CHFF-style health care reform: AFC East. (Patriots 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.