During the Brady-Belichick era, New England will go down as one of the best teams of all time. However, regardless of the Super Bowls won, the Patriots have flaws that prevented them from a perfect season and an NFL high five Championships. Where do the Patriots go from here?
Use your picks wisely
When the 2012 NFL Draft comes around, New England needs to focus on defense.
Let's face it, people pointed out all of Green Bay's problems against the pass and New Orleans'
problems as a one sided offensive oriented team but the Patriots were seldomly mentioned, possibly because they played in the AFC
which was a much weaker conference. The first thing that happened when the Patriots met some real competition (which they managed to avoid all season), Justin Tuck and the Giants defense were able to defend and penetrate.
Certain teams have other team's numbers. It doesn't matter if the losing team is better. In baseball
, the Los Angeles Angels are a problem for the New York Yankees. Evidently, the New York Giants are a problem for New England. You know there's a problem when a 13-3 New England Patriots team enter into the Super Bowl as anywhere from a 2.5 to 3 point betting odds
favorite against the 9-7 New York Giants and most people are picking the Giants not to mention that people expect them to win.Throw it to Manningham!
I've heard this several times in where coach Bill Belichick told the defense to blanket Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and force Eli Manning to throw the football to Mario Manningham. We all know how that worked out as the Giants celebrated a ticker tape parade down the canyon of heroes.
In the past, a Belichick team wouldn't fear any offensive player. Defense is needed.
The Patriots were ranked 31st against the pass while they weren't even average, ranking 17th against the run. The Pats gave up 411.1 yards and 21.4 points per game.Can always use another set of hands
Look for New England to look for an experienced wide receiver with some size. Obviously Randy Moss won't be picked up by New England even though he would love to rejoin his former team and Chad Ochocinco wasn't the answer.
Where Ochocinco is concerned, I always wondered why Brady didn't look for him more. This is at least an 800 yard receiver per season and he was the last option. It became public that Ochocinco didn't know the playbook and that's why he wasn't seeing the ball and playing time. He has a good attitude but he'll be gone.
The Patriots will also draft a receiver in the late rounds as they're a team of depth.Immaturity
The Patriots have a set of killer targets in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Brady was in sync with both all season. Gronk has the ability to be the greatest tight end in NFL history and break many records. He's already set the record for most touchdown catches in a season by a tight end. At his best Tony Gonzalez couldn't hold a candle to this young stud.
New England possibly could've won the Super Bowl if not for Gronk's high ankle sprain (or Wes Welker's dropped pass). Gronk will have many more opportunities but he need's to use better judgment next time.
After the Super Bowl, Gronkowski was seen in a nightclub (shirtless) and dancing. How could he be dancing with his high ankle sprain? Gronkowski has a lot to learn and maybe wasn't ready to win like Eli Manning was.Drafting an early to mid round running back
As Dan Marino can attest to, the passing game can't win it all. Without a solid running game, the predictability of the play that's setup is taken away. Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis is an average running back at best. Look for New England to look for a bargain in anywhere from the 3rd round or later to find a way to support the passing attack with a solid running game. The Patriots were 20th in the NFL in rushing and they don't need to necessarily upgrade but they need a better second option at running back.The Brady Bunch
Tom Brady is 34 years old and doesn't know how many more chances he'll have for the Lombardi Trophy
. You can tell by Brady's outward showing of emotion on the field and in the lockeroom that he wants that fourth title to join Montana and Bradshaw desperately. He now has the added burden of trying to avenge at least one of the two losses to the Giants.
Brady has nothing to prove to anyone. He was overlooked in college and he was overlooked by the scouts in the NFL Draft (New England got the deal of the century). Like Giselle (his wife) said, he can't throw and catch the ball. Brady has another few years in him and look for owner Robert Kraft to surround Brady with more talent next season, whether it be via a trade, draft, or free agency. For now, the Patriots have Ryan Mallett of Arkansas waiting to get his turn at QB. Don't doubt, if Kraft and Belichick see an opportunity, plan's can change.What to expect?
Look for New England to focus on defense throughout the draft and will also pickup a legitimate "go to" wide receiver. The AFC is a weak conference. I do expect the Jets to be back to their old form but the Patriots will have a legitimate shot to get right back to the Super Bowl. The must find a way to regain their confidence because if they lose in the Super Bowl again (especially to the Giants), their legacy will be tarnished.