2008 Season Recap
The 2008 New England Patriots finished the season with a 11-5 record and surprisingly missed the playoffs because of how bad the New York Jets played against the Miami Dolphins in the last game of the season.
With Tom Brady gone for the season thanks to Bernard Pollard of the Kansas City Chiefs, Matt Cassel pulled the team through with trial and error. His first few games were aggravating to watch because of how many mistakes he made, but he eventually progressed throughout the season.
Now with Brady's knee injury healing and he is running again, Vegas has the Patriots as the favorite to win the Super Bowl in 2009. And why shouldn't they be the favorite?
Brady will be throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker again, the first year that Brady got to throw to Moss and Welker the trio beat NFL records of most points scored in a season and Brady threw the most touchdowns in a single season. Moss scored the most receiving touchdowns in a season and Welker had over 100 catches.
Now lets look at the both sides of the ball and see why the other 31 teams should fear the New England Patriots in 2009.
Last year's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Jerod Mayo has only left once since the offseason to see his family and has been spending all of his time at Gillette Stadium watching film and studying the playbook.
In a interview Mayo said that last year was good, but he wants to capitalize more on making "big plays" like sacks, interceptions, and forced fumbles. He is also the coaches' favorite right now to wear the helmet with green dot, signifying that he is the only defensive player that the coaches can talk to in his helmet.
Adalius Thomas is coming back of a season ending injury and should be a force on the outside to bring back the Patriots' much needed pass rush. Tully Banta-Cain didn't have to wait long into free agency as he was signed quickly by the Patriots. Banta-Cain will most likely win the job in training camp to start opposite Thomas.
This should be Tedy Bruschi's last year in the NFL and will play behind Mayo. Gary Guyton did well last year even though he was an undrafted rookie free agent, but I'm unsure whether he will be playing on the outside or inside in 2009.
Eric Alexander, Shawn Crable, and Pierre Woods are all returning from season ending injuries and will most likely be playing special teams again unless Crable can prove to be a starter.
Second round pick safety Patrick Chung is a hard hitting safety with good speed and coverage skills, but it a question mark whether he will be able to take the starting job from either Brandon Meriweather or James Sanders who both proved to be starters in the NFL.
The secondary is probably the scariest for opposing teams with Leigh Bodden, Shawn Springs, Jonathan Wilhite, Terrence Wheatley, and Darius Butler.
Bodden will win the starting job in training camp and is not like the normal Patriot corner. Bodden is 6'1" 193 punds, while the usual starting corners are around 5'9" to 5'10".
With Bodden and Springs the Patriots can play zone coverage more effectively. Butler, Wheatley, and Wilhite all provide good cover skills and should add more interceptions that the team lacked last season.
The defensive line is bringing back all it's starters and most of the depth from last season.
Vince Wilfork is a force to be reckoned with in the middle, Richard Seymour and Ty Warren are no joke at defensive end and plug up holes quickly. Jarvis Green and Mike Wright add depth and versatility to the defensive line.
Second round pick Ron Brace should spell Wilfork and adds more depth to the defensive line. There are some questions though about Brace's durability.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
The electrifying Randy Moss and the "little engine who could" Wes Welker are one of the best tandems in the NFL as they proved in 2007. Add Joey Galloway, Greg Lewis, and Brandon Tate into the mix and defenses will have a very hard time defending the spread offense.
Tight Ends Chris Baker and Alex Smith should heat up the training camp battles and hopefully put the inconsistent Benjamin Watson on the bench. David Thomas has not been productive either so one of these tight ends will most likely be released at some point before the season starts.
Quarterback and Running Backs
Brady is returning from knee injury and has a lot of new weapons to throw to, he should be more dangerous than in 2007.
During the offseason the Patriots added veteran Fred Taylor who will take snaps with Sammy Morris, Lawrence Maroney, Benjarvis Green-Ellis, and Kevin Faulk.
Taylor, Morris, and Green-Ellis are all power backs. Maroney is more of a home run hitter when he wants to be and Faulk is perhaps one of the best receiving running backs and third down back in the NFL.
The offensive line is still pretty solid with Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Matt Light, and Stephen Neal. Ross Hochstein can play all positions on the line and adds valuable depth.
The Patriots took a chance on drafting Jermail Porter. Porter has never played football in his life, but was an All-American Wrestler at Kent State. Wrestler's are experts at pushing people around and at 6'5" 310 pounds, Porter should be a dominant guard if he catches on quickly to the new sport.
Nick Kazcur should be released for his drug problems and for being the Achilles heal on the offensive line—he gives up too many sacks. He is going to get Brady killed next season, but other than that the line is solid.
Thanks for reading the article, and all you Patriots haters out there are just adding fuel to the fire for 2009 so keep the insults coming and don't cry when we beat your team 54-0.