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Patriots Super Bowl Championship Memories

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20 random thoughts about the Patriots’ 2014 offseason

Put together my offseason depth chart and from there determined what the needs are going to be. From that comes these 20 questions that are kicking around in my mind.

  1. Will another team jump at Edelman or does the fact that he played in the Patriots’ system scare some teams off? As James Christensen pointed out, Houston would make a lot of sense. Edelman between Johnson and Hopkins would make a tough receiving corps. Pats have Amendola and TJ Moe if they have to replace Edelman. Not ideal, but not dead in the water either.
  2. What will become of the Tampa Two - Talib & Blount. They’ve been headline players this season, will they want to stick around? Likely Blount is the easier to re-sign and Talib’s injuries had to drop his price a bit.
  3. There’s some depth built up at defensive tackle with Vellano, Siliga and Chris Jones getting a good amount of experience this season. Add them to Wilfork/Kelly/Armstead and that’s not a bad group, but I still think they’d go after a top defensive tackle in the draft if one fell.
  4. What can we count on Wilfork, Tommy Kelly and Gronk for? Both are coming off major surgeries. So hard to plan the offseason with major players doing major rehab.
  5. Now might be a good time to draft another quarterback to start grooming, especially if you’re not sold on Mallett like I am not sold on him. But do they go with a pocket passer like Brady/Mallet? Or take a look at more of an athlete to develop under Brady’s final years?
  6. How much of  a jump can Amendola make in Year Two with the Pats? Enough to make Edelman expendable? They didn’t pay Amendola that much dough to back up Edelman, but he’s more expensive to cut this year that to keep. In a do over the Pats would likely just give Edelman the Amendola deal, but it’s too late for that now. But it’s not crazy to think he’ll progress with healthy (however temporary) and more time with Brady. 
  7. Could Logan Ryan take over for Talib? It would likely put the Pats back into a zone team, and that is a step back as I see it.
  8. Has Wendell shown enough to merit a long-term commitment this offseason? Or do they try to upgrade him? His pass protection deficiencies were clear for a second year in a row. 
  9. What about Connolly? He’s slated to make $4 million this year in the final year of his contract. I think you restructure him and keep him with the expectation to make him the interior backup. If he has to start at center or guard so be it. 
  10. Are Dobson/Thompkins answers at the X-receiver spot? Or could they take some more shots on other potential guys? Not saying a high-priced free agent or high-round pick. Maybe Mark Harrison gets in the mix there. The rookies need to make a jump for this offense to take strides.
  11. What about the F-TE spot? They never had a Hernandez replacement this season, they should target a move tight end this offseason. Though technically I think this is more of a luxury position and to think you need a multi-tool like Hernandez in this role is a little unrealistic. If they can find a move tight end, great. If not, they can manage.
  12. A lot of good pieces in place on defense. They could do nothing outside of figuring out the middle linebacker spot and they’d be okay. I do think Hightower goes to MLB now. Him, Mayo and Collins are an athletic group that should really shine in 2014.
  13. Can Michael Buchanan take over the backup defensive end/designated pass rusher role he held early in the season but lost to Andre Carter later? He needs to make a jump.
  14. Is it even worth wondering about Jake Bequette anymore?
  15. If the Pats can’t keep Blount how do they look for a lead back over Ridley? Mid-round draft pick sounds about right. But I think they’ll keep Blount.
  16. Anyone else wondering what happened to Shane Vereen down the stretch? Were our expectations too high? Or were teams focusing on him? He and Amendola didn’t play like we needed them to for a Super Bowl run.
  17. Pats should look at extending McCourty and Solder this offseason. Maybe even Gostkowski too.
  18. Wilfork’s due to make $11.6 million this season. If he’s not his same old self all options will be on the table (unfortunately).
  19. Same thing with Tommy Kelly ($3 million).
  20. It will be a tough offseason to plan and project. A lot of guys coming back from injuries and a lot of interesting internal free agents. Should be fascinating to see how BB attacks it.

It was a great season, the Pats and their fans should keep their heads high. This team fought down to the wire and ultimately just didn’t have enough to pull off the upset in Denver.

The Broncos played a perfect game and the Patriots did not. That can’t take the luster off of an inspiring season and one of the most fun I’ve experienced.

The 2013 Pats will always have a special place in my heart. For now, here are the takeaways after the season-ending loss.

In case you missed it, here’s my B/R-ticle from Thursday. 24 hours to go!!!

Here are my takeaways! Lots of great stuff, what an impressive team win despite some shakiness at times.

Really good preview from Bill Barnwell. It’s rare that national guys know the Patriots as well as Barnwell clearly does (is he a Pats fan?). Below he hits on what I’ve been saying about this Patriots defense for two years now…

Belichick might be the greatest defensive mind of his generation, but even he needs a few players to piece together some sort of competent defense. New England’s defense has fallen apart as the season has gone along, and there’s little reason to think it will get better. The Patriots ranked 10th in defensive DVOA during the first half of the season, but after their Week 10 bye, they had the league’s fifth-worst defensive DVOA. Their run defense was already bad and stayed that way, but their pass defense really fell off, dropping from eighth in the first half to 24th in the second half. The reasons why are staring you in the face within that table above, but one of the manifestations of this subpar defense was a lack of turnovers. The Patriots forced a takeaway in each of their games before the bye, eventually accruing 19 in nine games, an average of 2.1 per contest. After the bye, they struggled to force turnovers at the same rate. Although they finished with 10 in seven contests, that included two games with four takeaways each against the Broncos and Ravens. They had three games without forcing a single turnover, games that resulted in a loss to Carolina, a miraculous comeback victory over Cleveland, and a Week 17 win over Buffalo. The Patriots finished 13th in takeaway rate after finishing in the top three each of the last three seasons. The Patriots were 24th in forcing three-and-outs and were a league-average defense in the red zone; if they don’t force takeaways, they struggle to get off the field.