What do you think the patriots learned about themselves from their recent playoff loses going back to the first Super Bowl loss that they haven't addressed or fixed correctly
Anonymous

Very good question. I think the place I would start is their pickiness about their edge players whether you want to call them defensive ends or outside linebackers. Last year it seemed like it was a log jam at defensive end heading into camp and before you know it, they have no depth there. 

I think they need to embrace designated pass rushers a little more, even if they can’t drop into coverage or maybe aren’t the best edge setter.

I also think they didn’t do enough at defensive tackle in the draft especially. They tried in free agency but they never replaced Mike Wright and Jarvis Green and I think that really hurt them, not only in the pass rush department, but by also forcing them to overuse Wilfork.

Of course, if Albert Haynesworth, Ron Brace, Kyle Love or Brandon Deaderick somehow worked out we might not be saying the same thing.

They might’ve shown a little more patience with some of the wide receivers as well. Felt like they might’ve been a little quick to give up on guys like Brandon Tate and some others. They did see a lot more of those guys in practice so they were probably justified in moving on, but the receiver situation never should’ve gotten to where it was last offseason.

Finally, I think this is the issue now, they need for reinforce the middle of the line. They need to find at least one more impact interior OL whether it’s at guard or center, or preferably both.

They’re trying to become a team that is not so reliant and tentative and accepting defensively as opposed to attacking," Curran said. "In 2007 and 2011 the Giants won Super Bowls because they were an attacking front. This past year, Seattle won the Super Bowl because they attack at the wide receiver position and disrupted timing. You have more players coming out of college who are quick release, grown up on seven-on-seven schemes, you have to be able to get up field and disrupt. You can’t disrupt Peyton Manning with a pass rush because he gets it out too quick, you have to disrupt his receivers. The Patriots didn’t do it in the AFC Championship, Seattle did in the Super Bowl- and there’s your result.

Willie McGinest, Christian Fauria, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley talk New England’s dynasty (by Cathy Bridges)

I would have loved to start and finish my career with the Patriots. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. But if I had to do it all over again, I would have made more effort to stay a Patriot.

Expanded thoughts on the Patriots taking a wide receiver in this years draft over at Sportsblog.

The way he practices, by playing with him for the year that I did, to be so talented but to practice so hard, you don’t see a lot of young guys that have so much talent take the job that seriously because they’re so talented. That’s what I think separates Darrelle. He’s not taking his talent and his abilities for granted. He still wants to go out there and prove that he’s the absolute best week in and week out. He’s not taking that for granted. He wants to be the best for a long time, and I have never seen anyone as competitive as Darrelle Revis, and that’s the honest to God truth. He made me as a veteran pick my game up in practice. … He motivated me at the end of my career.
Which do you think is more important for a defense that is aggressive: sound coverage or great pressure (obviously they work together)
Anonymous

It’s an interesting question because yes, they do work together, but against quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, who get the ball out quick, it’s hard for pass rush to get to them in time, at least from the edges.

So in today’s NFL, where the receivers have great size and all the advantages once they get past the five-yard contact window, you definitely need to have multiple cornerbacks who can be physical and press at the line of scrimmage.

But I also think that interior pass rush is vital as well. The guys on the inside can make a difference against quarterbacks who get the ball out quick. I’ve been beating this drum for a while now and I think the Pats have some promising pieces in place with Chris Jones (in a sub-package rotational role), Armond Armstead, and even Chandler Jones sliding inside.

I still dream of what a guy like Dominique Easley could do as well. He explodes off the ball and would really provide instant chaos in the quarterback’s face.

Those are the elements you need and you need them consistently. Especially in the playoffs against the best quarterbacks.

What I continue to hear from team officials is that despite the Patriots working out a number of quarterbacks, they truly feel like that Tom Brady only has a few years left. So what the Patriots really want is a major receiving threat for him so they can take that last shot or two at the Super Bowl.

Mike Freeman/Bleacher Report (h/t @DougKyedNESN) 

Mike Freeman’s 10-Point Stance: Attacks on Clowney Stink of Draft Propaganda | Bleacher Report

I’m not ruling out the Patriots taking a wide receiver in the first couple rounds of this draft, but I find it hard to believe they’ll be trading up to get one, regardless of how badly BB wants a top receiver for Brady. This is, by quite a few accounts, one of the deepest drafts in years, and the Patriots have a number of holes at important spots, both short-term and long-term.

You want to get Brady a shot at a last Super Bowl? How about solidifying the interior of his line, the weak spot in most of the recent playoff exits. There’s no linebacker or defensive end depth either. And there are many questions around the defensive tackle spot as well.

So to say the Pats will mortgage multiple picks to move up to take a receiver, a position they’ve whiffed on far more than they’ve hit on in both the draft and free agency, seems extremely risky.

Maybe they’ve met with a high-ranked WR who they really believe can “get it” but I am skeptical that unless they think he has Moss-like football intelligence that they’ll spend a first round pick on a WR, much less trade up for him.

Happy Birthday, Coach Belichick!

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