Even in a lockout, the 2011 NFL season looms large.
Obviously, all teams have playoff aspirations in May. But few teams are in the New England Patriots' position, a team that came close to doing postseason damage a year ago and should be improved this year.
In other words, as good as the 14-2 season of a year ago was, the Patriots should have their sights set on being better.
To improve as a team and spend more than 60 minutes in the playoffs, the Patriots are going to need some players to contribute the way they have been, some to contribute more, and some to contribute at all. Here's a look at a few of those players.