The 2009 New England Patriots: It All Starts With The Shotgun

Michael PinaContributor IMay 28, 2009

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 28:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots walks toward the field before the game against the Buffalo Bills on December 28, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

            No team in the NFL has opposing defensive coordinators actively seeking Lunesta prescriptions from their family doctor more than the New England Patriots. Forget about the current roster, which includes Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker and a stable of running backs that refuse to shy away from would be tacklers. 

It’s the intricate passing system crafted by Bill Belichick that allows this team to move up and down the field with an unprecedented ease. 

            The Patriots offensive strategy over the past few seasons has been based around the shotgun formation, with either four or five wide receivers slicing and darting up the field.  With the precision of an orthopedic surgeon, the quarterback in this situation, whether it be Tom Brady, Matt Cassel or whomever, must quickly find which option is the best; hit them quickly and with accuracy. 

            Heading into 2009, New England looks to be going back to this strategy with the addition of two veteran receivers that should grasp the complicated offense quickly. 

Joey Galloway, who only started four games last year for Tampa Bay, is 37 years old but reports have him still running a 4.4. Lining that speed across from the superhuman Randy Moss would stretch the field even more than in the record breaking 2007 campaign. 

            In the slot will be newly acquired Greg Lewis from Philadelphia, a receiver who has a Super Bowl touchdown on his resume.

            Since Charlie Weis was the offensive coordinator, the screen pass has been an extremely effective weapon in this offense and Lewis comes from an Eagle team that utilizes the screen just as much as the Patriots. 

            While everyone wants to talk about their vaunted aerial attack, New England still manages to effectively run the ball.  In 2008 they finished first in the league in rushing first downs, fourth in touchdowns, and fourth in attempts.

This was without their starting running back Laurence Maroney, who should return to a healthy form after breaking his shoulder last year.  Additionally, the signing of Fred Taylor will only improve a well-balanced offense that often runs a two tight end set when it needs to get crucial yards or keep the defense honest. 

            As the old adage goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. New England’s playbook in 2009 should be very similar to what they’ve been running for the past few seasons with little to no hindrance.