The Biggest Media Misconceptions About the New England Patriots
Not that it comes as much of a surprise to anyone, but the Patriots are a team that receives a lot of national attention, and rightfully so. The team is coming off its fifth appearance in the Super Bowl since the 2001 season and once again looks to be in the thick of the race for another Lombardi Trophy in 2012.
A team that is so heavily covered and scrutinized receives gets nearly every angle of every story covered by one media outlet or another. This being the case, not everything said about the team is actually so. There are plenty of misconceptions that are strewn about in the media, and here are a few of the biggest.
Andre Carter Is a Sure Thing to Re-Sign
This offseason, many, myself included, penciled in Andre Carter to return to the Patriots despite his age and the fact that he was coming off a devastating torn quad suffered last December.
However, there is one major factor that nobody knew of until Jeff Howe of Boston Herald reported it recently. Carter is looking to be paid as the Pro Bowl defensive end that he was a year ago. If Carter is truly holding out to strike a multi-year deal that pays him at a Pro Bowl level, he is going to have to start looking at options outside of New England.
The veteran presence he could bring to the defensive line alongside rookies Chandler Jones and Jake Bequette would be benefit the team greatly, but at that asking price, the media's assumption that he would be back at some point may have been way off the mark.
Still, no one should be ruling out a return for Carter, but he needs to be realistic about what his value is at age 33.
Joseph Addai Will Have a Role in RB Committee
Some reporters such as Jonathan Gault of NESN have speculated that Joseph Addai will play a key role in the Patriots' stable of running backs this season. Despite his résumé, I do not believe this to be the case.
With second-year running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen looking to emerge, and Danny Woodhead, who has served as the team’s third-down back each of the last two seasons, still around, it is hard to see where Addai’s place on the team could be.
That is not to say he will not make the team. I actually give him a better shot than Woodhead to stick if it were to come down to the two of them. However, unless there is an injury or some problem like Ridley's fumbles that comes up, I look for the former Pro Bowler to ride the bench mostly this season in Foxboro.
I look for him to strictly bring a veteran presence to the team, something they may no longer have with their backs with Kevin Faulk unlikely to return.
This being my opinion, he will now probably rush for 1,400 yards this season.
The Receiving Corps Is Well-Set
Yes—the Patriots are loaded at wideout...for this year.
Deion Branch, one-year deal. Wes Welker, one-year deal. Julian Edelman, final year of his rookie contract. Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd seem to be the only locks to return to the 2013 team.
The Patriots lack a sure-fire receiver to develop long-term. Youngsters Britt Davis, Jeremy Ebert or Matt Roark could emerge as a threat for them, but it is not expected of any of the three of them.
The Patriots need to make an aggressive push to acquire a young gun at receiver sometime over the next year to give Tom Brady a chance to have an added weapon to finish his career off with, something I talked about in my look at the 2013 draft.
So, yes the media may have overblown what the Patriots could do with all these receivers, but they are not as set moving forward as one would think at first glance.
Either Mallett or Hoyer Should Be Traded
Many pieces have been written on the potential trades of each on New England’s backup quarterbacks. My feeling on the issue is that unless a team blows them away with an offer, the Patriots have no desire to move either Mallett or Hoyer.
Hoyer, not to mention, could have been had by any team for a second-round pick while he was a restricted free agent. There is no reason to believe the Patriots would be content losing him for less than that, especially considering the next issue.
Ryan Mallett has had some struggles as of late, as Andy Hart of Patriots Football Weekly has observed, so there is no reason to believe the Patriots would want to leave themselves with Mallett as Brady’s primary backup.
Additionally, there no reason anyone would want to trade for Mallett after his fall in last year’s draft he has shown nothing that would make a team overly anxious to swing a deal for him. A Mallett trade would be far more likely in a year or two if he displays a high-level of play in the next couple of preseasons.
Tavon Wilson Was a Reach
Bill Belichick has blown draft picks before, I know.
There was a huge uproar from draft pundits everywhere when the Patriots selected safety Tavon Wilson in the second round of this year's draft. Everyone said he is a player that could have been available later in the draft, and he is not a second-round talent.
However, the only opinions that matter in this case are those of the 32 personnel executives around the league. If one of those 32 has a second-round grade on a player, guess what? He is a second-round talent.
It is kind of like saying a player was paid above market value; that is impossible. If a player brings in a certain contract, that by definition is his market value.
Wilson may not be a great player in New England, and maybe the Patriots could have gotten him later in the draft, but until he steps onto the field and simply can't play, Belichick deserves a little slack.