After a devastating end to the 2008 NFL season, the Patriots seem to be looking for redemption by signing some high-profile players for 2009.
We have seen this before in New England.
Recall the 2006 season. The Patriots suffered a painful loss to the Indianapolis Colts after leading by 18 points at one point in the AFC Championship game.
During that offseason, the Patriots acquired outstanding talent by the names of Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth, Adalius Thomas, and drafted Brandon Meriweather.
Of course, that season, the Patriots went on to complete the regular season undefeated and rolled into Super Bowl XLII with 18 wins before losing a thriller to the New York Giants.
Recently, the Patriots have acquired names like Fred Taylor, Shawn Springs, Leigh Bodden, Joey Galloway, Greg Lewis, Tully Banta-Cain, and may still acquire Julius Peppers. Is this a sign of good things to come in 2009?
Keep in mind the Patriots did suffer key losses this offseason. Losing quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel, Jabar Gaffney, and LaMont Jordan this offseason may hurt the team.
McDaniels and Vrabel have provided the Patriots with outstanding production and will certainly be missed.
However, the 2009 offseason acquisitions will fill the void. Although aged and experienced, Taylor will make a great addition to the running back core. As seen last season, the Patriots running backs consisted of Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris, and LaMont Jordan.
In 2009, Fred Taylor will provide his talent to contribute to the success of the Patriots’ “four-headed” running game.
And with the loss of talented third receiver Jabar Gaffney, Tom Brady will need another target to throw to. Galloway has been a four-time Pro Bowler and has provided 13 years of NFL experience.
Lewis will be another target for Brady. Lewis has played seven seasons in the NFL and has played in Philadelphia, another high-pressure football environment.
Defense, defense, defense.
The Patriots suffered in the secondary in 2008. 2009 brings in experienced Pro Bowl cornerback Springs and Bodden who has six years of NFL experience. Banta-Cain is returning to the Patriots where he was a part of the Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX teams.
Remember, the Patriots’ Super Bowl winning teams were based around outstanding defense and consistent offense. In recent years, offense has been their main asset and the defense has struggled. Look for beefed-up defense in 2009.
Peppers is still a possibility. Although experts say Peppers will not go to New England, the Patriots could offer the Panthers their second round draft pick from the Cassel trade.
However, the Panthers will be looking for more than a second round pick for their franchised player. But what an addition would Peppers be to the Patriots’ dominant defensive line.
So Patriots fans, look forward to the 2009 season. Even before the NFL Draft, the Patriots are setting themselves up for another Super Bowl run. You have to like the defensive acquisitions, particularly the cornerbacks.
Springs and Bodden will certainly shut down many receivers, but also contribute to the development of young cornerbacks Jonathan Wilhite, Mike Richardson, and Terrence Wheatley.
The Patriots will be back on track in 2009.