Yesterday I was sitting around with my dad watching the replay of Paul Pierce draining four straight jumpers from the foul line over John Salmons. My dad who is an avid Boston sports fan frequently asks me sports questions like I'm the human equivalent of the latest sports encyclopedia. Yesterday was different, yesterday he opened up my eyes to something.
The conversation went from the Celtics to the Patriots. We were talking about how Brady would rebound when gold came out my father's mouth.
He said that the New England Patriots defense isn't old anymore. Actually its the complete opposite.
Gone are the days of having multiple linebackers being over 30 years old. Gone is the safety that is older than the stone ages. It seems like after this draft Bill Belichick has loaded up his roster with nothing but young players.
For starters the Patriots traded away one of the oldest players on the roster, Mike Vrabel. Even though he was one of our best players he was on the decline in terms of his pass rushing abilities.
Two other players whom the Patriots let go are Safety Rodney Harrison, and Deltha O'neal. Harrison is over 30 years old and is rendered ineffective due to the multiple knee injuries he has had over the years.
O'neal was horrible in the season that he was here. Some college corners could have played better than he did last year. I was glad that the Pats let him go.
To counter those moves the Patriots acquired free agent Linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, drafted Patrick Chung (Oregon) and Darius Butler (UConn) in the second round. Banta-Cain is a good pass rusher who had played for them from 2003-07.
Chung is a hard hitter and can play well enough in pass coverage to contribute immediately next year. Butler is a near perfect fit for the Patriots because his skills are very similar to Asante Samuel who was a Pro Bowler while he was here.
The Patriots dont have many guys over the age of 30 on the roster any more. It seems like they are trying to weed out the older guys on the roster.
Guys over the age of 30 left on the defensive roster are Adalius Thomas, Teddy Bruschi, Rosey Colvin, Junior Seau, and Shawn Springs.
With all that said the Patriots are considerably younger than they were a year ago. The young players aren't as flashy as the other younger defensive players in the league, but with how Belichick likes to coach, stars will come sooner or later.