2008 was a down season for the New England Patriots. 2007 NFL MVP Tom Brady played half a quarter before being tackled low by Bernard Pollard of the Kansas City Chiefs, tearing his ACL and MCL, and missing the rest of the season.
The Patriots bounced back to finish 11-5, but missed the playoffs. I assure you, Bill Belichick is not happy.
Heading into 2009, Patriots fans, management and players must all be expecting the same thing: a return to 2007 form not only from Brady, but the whole roster.
The sting of the last minute loss to the Giants in Super Bowl 42 lingers because last year presented the Pats with no real opportunity for redemption.
Look for a highly motivated team to be firing on all cylinders early in the season, as the preseason will be spent getting Brady re-acclimated to the speed of the NFL game.
This slide show presents five players or groups of players who enter the season with higher expectations or scrutiny, and four groups or players entering the season with lower expectations or scrutiny.
Given the team’s success in 2007 and the 2008 injury to Brady, many expect this season to be filled with the same offensive fireworks and run at glory as 2007, so expectations are high for all players.
I’ll try to point out those who will be most or least under the microscope if they fall short.