I expect the Patriots to be trying to hammer out deals with WR Wes Welker, CB Aqib Talib, RT Sebastian Vollmer, CB Kyle Arrington and WR Julian Edelman before free agency starts a week from today; Welker stands the best chance to get done, and I’d be fairly surprised if it’s not done by the start of free agency or very early in the period.
As I wrote in today’s B/R piece I’d view the Pats willingness to let Vollmer go as a sign they’re okay taking a risk at right tackle (Marcus Cannon?) to improve at WR and in the secondary. Same thing goes for Woodhead, and in reading the tea leaves it seems he could walk as well.
When the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, not a single New England receiver caught a pass more than 20 yards downfield. The thought was that if New York could take away Brady’s intermediate options, the pass rush would get to him before Randy Moss came open deep. The plan worked. Moss caught only five passes for 62 yards, and Brady was sacked five times. Against Baltimore, no Patriot other than Welker caught a pass for more than 20 yards, but it had nothing to do with a pass rush. With Moss, it was a matter of figuring out ways to take him away. With these Patriots, there’s no one to take away. Even with a healthy Rob Gronkowski, New England has a glaring need for someone, anyone, to stretch the field, and that’s where the Welker situation becomes interesting.
It was a great combination because of what we were able to do to benefit from one another,” Moss said. “He’s the wide receiver that you need for your dirty work. I can honestly say, and I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, he does the dirty work up there. He takes the hits across the middle. He takes the short routes and takes them 20, 30, 40 yards for the first down or maybe the touchdown. You can really appreciate the guy’s work.
PatsPropaganda is written and edited by Mike Dussault. He is an unapologetic homer and a card-carrying Belichickian. He has a soft spot for hard core X's and O's, and believes in "throw to score, run to win", low pad level, and touchdown celebrations that last two weeks.
He is a Patriots Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report, and his work has been featured on FoxSports.com, Yahoo Sports, and SI.com. He also co-hosts the weekly PatsPropaganda & Frenz Podcast with Bleacher Report's AFC East Editor Erik Frenz.
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