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New England Patriots Links 5/27/11 - Wilfork To Goodell: Forget Future 18-Game Season, Right Now We Have None

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Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) Breakout players: Stafford leads class of 20, including Sebastian Vollmer.

He has emerged as the best tackle on the New England roster -- passing Matt Light -- and one of the better right tackles in the league. Now entrenched as a starter, he should be pushing for a Pro Bowl berth this season.

Liz Mullen (Sporting News) Players, coaches adjust to 'culture shock' of lockout.  Julian Edelman was one of a dozen NFL players from different teams working out at a private training facility near LA.

"Of course you miss your coaches," Edelman said. "This is the time where you put in a lot of film study and that kind of stuff with coaches. And they ultimately know what is best for you and the team, so it’s going to be good when (players) get back."

Kevin Fishbain (Pro Football Weekly) Lockout limbo: Patriots report. Top storylines and more.

1. Can the defense improve without any significant offseason additions?

An opportunistic defense that compiled a ridiculous plus-28 turnover margin helped New England post a league-best 14-2 record, and that overshadowed the league's 30th-ranked pass defense and the worst "D" on third down. Part of the problem was a lack of a pass rush, but the team didn't address it in the draft. The Pats' sixth-round pick, OLB Markell Carter, is a developmental project, and they're not expected to address the need via free agency. That puts the spotlight on second-year OLB Jermaine Cunningham and DE Ty Warren, who missed all of 2010 with a hip injury. Bill Belichick's schemes are still some of the best in the game, and they helped overcome the injuries and youth on the defense. But the problems came back in the playoff loss to the Jets, and will need to improve if the Patriots want to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2007.

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