Mike Reiss notes Greg Cosell, the executive producer of NFL Matchup and a senior producer at NFL Films for 31 years, calls the 2011 season some of Bill Belichick's finest work.
"It can easily be argued that Belichick did one of the best coaching jobs of his career this season," Cosell writes. "I broke down every game on tape, ending of course with the Super Bowl. It struck me as I finished reviewing all my notes that New England was not an overly talented team in 2011. What they achieved was remarkable given their overall deficiencies."
Cosell goes on to note one of the big deficiencies in the team's offensive attack -- the lack of a vertical threat.
"I understand that a more fortuitous bounce of the ball on 2 occasions could have given the Patriots another championship, but that only validates the point," Cosell writes. "This team won 15 games, and was in position to win the Super Bowl without a critical offensive component, one that every team covets and is necessary for a complete and multi-dimensional offense. The ability to overcome that deficiency was the result of outstanding coaching and elite quarterback play."
Then Cosell touches on the defense.
"Belichick made it clear just how poor his team was in the back end with his use of personnel. Matthew Slater? Julian Edelman? I know he’s utilized offensive players in the past (Troy Brown) with some success, but this year’s version was not genius, it was desperation," he writes. "My guess is Belichick felt the same way. ... The simple truth was the Patriots had a poor defense in 2011. We can blame personnel decisions but that’s a different conversation. They still had to line up and play with what they had, and the fact that Belichick was able to get this team to the Super Bowl was extraordinary."
Rob Gronkowski returns to the Twitter-sphere to thank his fans.
"Thanks for all the support too throughout my surgery! Grinding everyday to get back & already excited for what next season brings! Love ya!"
"Shout out to all #Patsnation and #Gronknation fans! Thanks for all the support throughout the year! All of you are amazing!"
- Paul Perillo's Ask PFW: Turning the page.
- Patriots Mock Draft tracker.
- PFW in Progress - Brian Lowe and Lyndsay Petruny join Fred Kirsch and Erik Scalavino to kick-off the start of the off-season with NFL Draft and free agency talk. (2 hour program)
- Christopher Price reports that the Patriots have begun contract talks with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and wonders whether he lands with NE or possibly Kansas City.
- Karen Guregian hears from Willie McGinest, who talks up Brandon Spikes and sees even more impact from the dynamic, aggressive LB in 2012.
- Jim Donaldson takes one last look at 2011 before moving on to next season.
- Mike Reiss notes the dramatic increase in playing time this year for Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love.
- Tom E. Curran reports Tom Brady aggravated his left shoulder sprain when he was sacked by Justin Tuck in the Super Bowl, but his offseason work should be unaffected.
- Christopher Price profiles free agent WR Reggie Wayne as a possible fit for the Patriots.
- Luke Hughes says WR Brandon Lloyd's agent may keep the Patriots from signing him.
- CSNNE reports DL Andre Carter tweeted a fan Tuesday saying he would like to come back to New England next year.
- Karen Guregian notes the Patriots added RB Eric Kettani to their 80-man offseason roster, even though he hasn't yet been cleared by the Navy to return.
- Shalise Manza Young posts the draft order for the first round of this year's draft (to be held April 26-28).
- Mike Reiss comments on the Mock Draft picks from Wes Bunting of the National Football Post. Both first-round picks have a defensive focus.
- Jeff Howe tries to whittle down the Patriots' 2,552 plays for a top ten best plays of 2011 list.
- Jeff Howe lists the Patriots top ten worst plays of 2011.
- Mike Reiss answers his weekly reader mailbag: Receivers in focus.
- Bob Ryan and Kevin Paul Dupont debate whether the Patriots should risk everything for a title next season. (2 min. video)
- Greg Cosell (NFLFilms.com) 2011 Elevated Belichick's legacy. Excellent read.
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballTalk) Patriots have had contract talks with Green-Ellis.
- Scott Kacsmar (Cold Hard Football Facts) Why Tom Brady's failed connection with Wes Welker in Super Bowl XLVI shouldn't have been a surprise.
- James Walker (ESPN) Top 40 players in the AFC East: Nos. 37-40, Nos. 33-36, Nos. 29-32, and Nos. 25-28.
- Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) Playing 32 offseason questions: Prisco has one for each NFL team.
- John Clayton (ESPN) Plenty of (cap) room to improve.
- Don Banks (SI) Sizing up the Moss market; Which teams make the most sense?
- Mike Freeman (CBS Sports) Ten-point stance: Must-see Moss TV could kill an NFL comeback.
- Tim Yotter (Fox Sports) Moss, Carter trade criticisms.
- First Take (ESPN) Holley, Smith talk Moss, T.O. (7.44 min. video)
- Wes Bunting (Nat'l Football Post) Mock Draft 3.0.
- Wes Bunting (Nat'l Football Post) Draft talk 17.0.
- Russ Lande (Sporting News) NFL Draft top 50 prospects.
- Wes Bunting (Nat'l Football Post) NFL Combine snubs: Defense.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) "Poison pill" for offer sheets removed from CBA.