Misconceptions, Allegations, Tragedies, and Heroism: The 2010 Patriots
Lately here on B/R, it seems as though fans of other teams know the Patriots better than Patriot fans themselves. Apparently the window for the Patriots is closed and all I have to do push the window open because it is not locked.
The window may seemed closed to the untrained eyes of fans of other teams that don't keep a close tab on the Patriots, but to the loyal Patriot Nation we are not taking sh*t from nobody this season.
We are flying under the radar this season, which is great for us because the Jets will crumble with all the hype and I got my DVR ready for when they do.
In this series of slides, I will be discussing all the misconceptions, allegations, tragedies, heroism, and any other preconceived notions regarding the 2010 season. Hope you enjoy.
Wes Welker's knee injury and status, Depth of the team, and life without Welker if he is unable to go in Week 1.
Wes Welker's knee and his status
Last season, Wes Welker tore his ACL and many thought during the off-season that Welker would not be able to play in the beginning of the season.
Welker proved everyone wrong and is ahead of schedule for a player that tore his ACL.
Welker has been running routes and making cuts with his knee, he also played in a preseason game against the Falcons to see what how his knee would hold up with contact.
The Patriots staff are being careful with time they are giving to Welker in the preseason games and all is looking well for the little guy after he took some big hits in that game.
Enough Weapons For The Next Cold War? I Think So
The Patriots have a stockpile of weapons to last them the next cold war and these weapons are very explosive.
Brandon Tate really has the speed to be a deep threat, Tate also has good hands and is in his second year.
Taylor Price was a late round pick in the draft this year and is another deep threat with good hands.
Julian Edelman has been called a Wes Welker clone and has proved to be just as capable a receiver as Welker, Edelman scored the only two touchdowns in the Ravens playoff game that ended in a blowout.
Edelman can return kicks and punts, played QB in college, currently taking snaps at RB in camp, and is a defensive coordinator nightmare in the slot.
Aaron Hernandez slipped to the Patriots in the fourth round of this year's draft because of marajuana use in college.
Hernandez was the Mackey award winner in 2009 and looks to be just as effective in the NFL as he was college.
Hernandez as been a favorite target of Brady's and has already made some touchdowns. Hernandez looks to be lining up all over the field in the Patriots' system.
Rob Gronkowski slipped to us in the second round because of a back injury that kept him out of football last year, but he is healthy now and has been as good as advertised.
Gronkowski can block and has deceptive speed for a TE that stands at 6'6 and 265 pounds.
Life Without Welker? Unlikely, But Needs Clarification
As I previously stated in another slide, Julian Edelman has been called a Wes Welker clone and is capable of producing in his absence if need be.
There is so much depth at WR that if there was an injury, it would not be an area of concern.
The defense and the window apparently being closed.
Long and gone is the Patriots "retirement home" defense. The Patriots have had a major influx of youth over the past couple of years in the draft.
Let's break the defense down into three categories and evaluate the defense.
Secondary: Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung, Leigh Bodden, Darius Butler, Devin McCourty, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite, and Kyle Arrington.
Analysis: Meriweather made his first Pro Bowl last season and should have another strong season this year, but he needs to work on his open field tackling and not just go for the knock out hit.
Chung is having a strong training camp and preseason. Chung is a speedy and physical safety that is real hungry to show what he can do, he was faired well with the first string thus far.
Bodden proved to be a sold free agent acquisition and received a new contract. Bodden was a reliable corner last year and has been plagued so far in camp with injuries, but was seen on the field today.
Bodden should have a strong sophmore season with the Pats after having one year of experience in BB's complex defense.
Butler has a strong rookie year making interceptions and plays on the ball, Butler is a speedy corner who can cover WRs, but he has been trying to prove that he can do more than just that by trying to help in run support.
Was not so high on McCourty when BB moved back twice in the first round and selected McCourty.
McCourty has made me think twice though because he has had a strong training camp and has let receivers get next to nothing in the preseason.
Wheatley has been playing physical in camp and providing good coverage, but Wheatley needs to do this on the field to secure a roster spot.
Wilhite is fast like Wheatley, but Wilhite is not physical enough. Wilhite is often burnt down the field by receivers and makes plays when not conveinant like in the pre season game against the Falcons.
Arrington was a special teams player last season and probably will be again this year unless injuries occur in the secondary.
Arrington has been showing that he could also be a contributor on defense by getting some playing time, he has shown that he has decent coverage skills, can be physical, and can hit like hell.
Linebacker: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Tully Banta-Cain, Marques Murrell, Gary Guyton, Derrick Burgess, Tyrone McKenzie, Jermaine Cunningham, and Rob Ninkovich.
Analysis: Mayo made 100+ tackles in his sophmore year after only starting 12 games and being injured for 3 games.
Mayo made his first sacks of his career and did it against Manning and the Colts. Mayo will be pushing to become a playmaker this season by making more game changing plays.
Spikes is a very interesting rookie and had one of the worst forty yard dash times probably in history or at least this decade, but then again speed isn't everything ask Jerry Rice.
Spikes has been a tackling machine so far and is very instinctive, Spikes has also been getting reps with the first string.
Banta-Cain has been injured for most of the offseason and after returning from a failed few years in San Fran produced double digit sacks, TO ALL PATRIOTS HATERS; THAT WAS PROOF OF BB'S GENIUS.
Banta-Cain is the sack master for now until someone else can get after the QB.
Murrell had a good game against the Saints in the first pre season game sacking QB Drew Brees on their first series and he could be a rotational or pass rushing specialist.
Guyton will most likely see playing time in sub packages to utilize his athleticism and coverage skills. Guyton is not strong enough against the run like Spikes is and has a tackling issue.
Burgess had a decent season last year and recorded a few sacks for us. Burgess is up in the air though and I question his commitment to the team since he was about to retire.
Burgess might not be able to play OLB all season at his age and might see some time at DE in different formations.
McKenzie has shown decent instinctive skills and can really hit people when he wants to.
Cunningham played as a 4-3 DE in college and BB has previously stated that Cunningham has made the transition to 3-4 OLB with no problems except for nagging injuries.
Cunningham has shown in camp that he can rush the QB and play physically.
Ninkovich is a young rotational player that should have another good year.
Defensive Line: Vince Wilfork, Gerard Warren, Damione Lewis, Mike Wright, and Ron Brace.
Analysis: Wilfork always receives double blocks because he is too much for one offensive line to handle.
Wilfork can get after the QB and collapse the pocket, but he can also hold down the gaps and free up the linebackers to make plays.
Gerard Warren is a sneaky veteran who despite his age can still be productive on the field with QB hurries and hopefully make some sacks this year.
Damione Lewis should be playing some DE this season and is another sneaky veteran.
Wright is more of a 4-3 defensive lineman (295 pounds), but is capable of producing in the 3-4 system. Wright is a versatile player that can play DE or DT.
Brace was one of four second-round picks in 2009 and did not see much time his rookie season.
Brace hasn't been seen much in the offseason with nagging injuries, but recently returned to the field in time for the game against the Falcons in which he forced a fumble.
With the lack of DE's with experience in the 3-4 system there is a possibility that BB switches to 4-3 or just uses it more. Brace and Wilfork would be unstoppable in the middle.
The Window Is Closed?
With Tom Brady, the window is never closed, and the same could be said for Peyton Manning, as much as it pains me to say.
The window is closed, but yet the Patriots make the playoffs year in and year out.
The Baltimore playoff blowout was embarrassing for sure, but I want to see Ray Rice run through the middle now with Spikes and Mayo paired together as each linebacker comprimises the other.
The window is not closed; it is being repaired.
Ty Warren out for the season and Nick Kaczur's injury.
Nick Kaczur's Back Injury
There was little to no word that Nick Kacur would need surgery and it seems like he went out on his own to do so.
He told teammates that he had a back injury, and now he might be out for the entire season.
Ty Warren out for 2010 season
Ty Warren had a hip injury and he was ruled out for the season by the Patriots and placed on season-ending injured reserve list.
Players need to step up and try and fill Warren's shoes for the season.
Damione Lewis, Gerrard Warren, Myron Pryor, and Mike Wright need to have a impact because Wilfork can hold his own, but to ask Wilfork to hold down the entire defensive front is a bit much to ask.
Nuff said about this slide, if you can't figure it out, you are helpless and need to go on to the next slide.
Brady Knocks Down The Door Of The HBO Series "Hard Knocks"
"I hate the Jets and refuse to support that show" were words that came out of the Patriots star quarterback's mouth today when he was interviewed and asked about the HBO series featuring the New York Jets.
Rex Ryan countered today stating that "Hell, he knows we hate the Patriots, so what's the difference?", which is a typical response from the big-bellied and -mouthed coach.
Brady was even nice enough to say "I'd love to say mean things, but I'm not going to."