Friday, January 20, 2006

Patriots Off Season

The Patriots are going to have a busy offseason in order to return to full strength. Here are some of the bright and not so bright spots they'll need to cover.

QB is solid with Brady in charge and Cassell backing up. I expect they'll pick up another veteran like Flutie to keep a third man as backup for next year.

RB is funny in that, in one of those weird cap things, it would cost more to cut Dillon than it does to keep him. So, hope Corey comes back healthy and strong for next year, since he'll be your starting RB next year. Faulk and Pass are also signed for next year, but backup Evans is not (as of yet).

Of the 8 wide receivers they had signed for this year, only 2 are signed for next year (Branch and Johnson). Everyone's consensus is their number two starter, Givens, will be signing for more money elsewhere, so look for big changes in the offensive wideouts next year.

At tight end, Watson and Graham are both signed and a great tandem for Brad to work with. Fauria will be heading out the door.

The offensive line and defensive line should return fairly intact. Mankins, Gorin, Hochstein, Light, Kaczur, Koppen, Wilfork, Warren, Seymour, Green, Hill, Klecko and Wright are all signed for next year. That's good news, since as we all know, games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage. The best way to win that battle is to keep your lines together.

At linebacker, Vrabel, Colvin, Bruschi, McGinest, Claridge, Beisel, Brown, Banta-Cain, and Izzo are all signed for next year, but age is a definite factor here. I expect the Patriots to look for some younger players to fill in the holes here.

DB, as we all know, was a soft spot for the Pats this year. But, they had some serious injury problems to contend with at the beginning and they really came on strong at the end of the year. Hobbs, Wilson, Samuel, Harrison, Sanders, Poole and Starks are all signed for next year. If they get healthy, that's a strong backfield to contend with.

Miller is signed through 2008, but Vinatieri does not have a contract for next year. I wonder if they'll hit him with the franchise tag again? I'm not sure on the rules for the franchise tag, but I expect Vin will be back again next season.

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