For the New England Patriots, It's Business as Usual in 2009

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For the New England Patriots, It's Business as Usual in 2009
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The most obvious change to the Patriots’ coaching staff has been the loss of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was hired as the head coach of the Denver Broncos this offseason.

While McDaniels has dealt with change of his own, most notably the ugly divorce between the Broncos and their former quarterback Jay Cutler, it is comforting to know the Patriots appear to have no such issues.

The loss of McDaniels will undoubtedly have an effect on the Patriots. He was a key player in the development of both Tom Brady and Matt Cassel.

While Cassel has since been traded to the Kansas City and Brady is coming off a devastating knee injury, it is safe to assume that there will be minimal change, if any, to the Patriots’ offensive philosophy in the upcoming season, despite the loss of McDaniels.

Much like Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, Brady may receive play calls from the offensive coordinator but he appears to have free reign to change the called play on the field based on what he sees from the opposing defense.

Based on that belief, I am confident the Patriots will conduct their offense in 2009 like they have the last couple seasons.

I expect Randy Moss and Wes Welker to be split on either side of the offensive line. I expect new arrivals Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis to make the occasional appearance in the slot, and I expect Brady to take the majority of the snaps from the shotgun.

I expect the Patriots to throw, throw, and throw it some more in 2009. Adding Galloway and Lewis to the mix shows the Patriots' continued commitment to the passing game.

While they also signed running back Fred Taylor as a free agent, I’m sure no one in Foxborough has any visions of Taylor pounding the rock 30 times a game.

But the possibility exists for an appearance of the Wildcat formation in New England, with Taylor and starting running back Laurence Maroney adopting the formation popularized by the Patriots’ division foes, the Miami Dolphins.

The Patriots also lost Dom Capers, who was named Green Bay’s defensive coordinator.

But I also expect business as usual on the defensive side of the ball for the Patriots, with players like Richard Seymour and Tedy Bruschi playing smart football and providing leadership and veteran savvy while young players like Jerod Mayo and Brandon Meriweather continue to develop into dynamic playmakers.

So in an era in our country where the word “change” has become a popular buzzword, it is safe to assume the Patriots will embrace a different cliché that is no less popular by not fixing what is not broken.

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