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The 2007 New England Patriots’ offense was a historical season. That has been stated, analyzed, debated and reported about time-and-time-again.
Brady threw 50 touchdown passes, and Moss caught 23, both single-season NFL records. Although the team seemed unstoppable, their offense was halted in the Super Bowl thanks to a perfect New York Giants scheme: hit Brady early and often, and prevent him from connecting with Randy Moss.
The offense became too predictable by the end of the year, as defenses realized that the most prolific offense in NFL history was also fairly one-dimensional.
Laurence Maroney led all Patriots rushers with 835 yards, and his indecisive running style prevented him from ever being a legitimate threat to defenses.
The 2007 Patriots offense could be summed up with the following three players: Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker.
This season, however, the Patriots benefit from having legitimate options throughout their offense.
Starting with the wide receivers, the 2011 Patriots include Deion Branch, Wes Welker, and of course, Chad Ochocinco. Welker is the game’s best slot receiver, impossible to defend due to the impeccable timing of his route-running.
Deion Branch has consistent hands and enough NFL experience to regularly find openings in coverage. He doesn’t drop many passes and although he has lost a step, is still quick enough to out-maneuver less agile defensive backs.
Chad Ochocinco has been a premier wide receiver for the better part of the decade, totaling six 1000 yard seasons in 10 seasons. He does drop the occasional pass, but his speed, quickness and size make him a threat after receiving the ball.
He has a knack for getting open on 15-20 yard passing routes, and has the size and leaping-ability to win jump-balls.
Not to mention a potential emergence of a young receiver such as Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman or Taylor Price, which could prove invaluable in keeping defenses guessing.
This group of receivers can certainly hold a candle to the 2007 squad, but Randy Moss and Wes Welker’s unbelievable seasons may be hard to replicate under any circumstances.
While the receiving core may not be as dangerous as it was in 2007, the 2011 Patriots have two new weapons: Tight Ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
Both players are mismatch nightmares. Hernandez has the speed of a wide receiver, while Gronk has the strength to run over would-be tacklers. Enhancing their physical attributes is their ability to catch the ball. Both showed impressive hands last season, highlighting the major difference with 2007 tight end Benjamin Watson.
Brady now has four premier red zone options (Ochocinco, Hernandez, Gronkowski, Welker), after having just two in 2007 (Moss, Welker).
For full article and more, visit New England Sports Online - Patriots Preview