YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- New England Patriots
It’s been a while since the New England Patriots headed into an NFL season as an underdog to win the AFC East. The 2009 season ended in a disaster due to a 33-14 drubbing by the Ravens in the AFC Wild Card. It’s going to be an interesting season because the offense is so good, and the defense is so bad. With such a bad defense, it’s going to be very important for New England to put up 7’s and not 3’s on the scoreboard on each possession. And then there’s Tom Brady. It seems like everyone forgot how good the guy is.
Tom Brady- 371/565 65.7% 28 td 13 int 96.2 rat
They say that it takes 2 years to fully recover from an ACL knee injury. Well, this is Brady’s 2nd year back from his knee injury suffered in week 1 of the 2008 season against Kansas City. That damn Bernard Pollard.
Brady can still throw it around, and has one of the best deep balls in the NFL. uncharacteristically, Brady made some bonehead decisions and mistakes late in some contests last year. He’s usually the most clutch quarterback in the NFL. With a chip on his shoulder and fully recovered from the knee injury, I expect a huge season from Brady.
Others- Brian Hoyer, Zac Robinson
Hoyer is a smart quarterback who has picked up the Patriots complex offense quite well.
Laurence Maroney- 194 car 757 yds 3.9 avg 9 td 14 rec 99 yds
The Patriots use a plethora of backs, and Maroney is the number 1 guy. He is at his best near the goal line. Maroney downfalls are his fumbling and his inability to hit the hole.
Fred Taylor- 63 car 269 yds 4.3 avg 4 td 2 rec 17 yds
Taylor missed a lot of the season due to an ankle injury. He is in the twilight of his career at this point.
Others- Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk
Morris does a bit of everything, and Faulk is a fantastic receiver out of the backfield on 3rd downs.
Randy Moss- 83 rec 1,264 yds 15.2 avg 13 td
Moss can be the most dangerous receiver in the NFL when he wants to be. Unless you’re Darrelle Revis, you have to double cover this guy. Even at this point of his career, he’s still one of the best deep threats in the league.
Wes Welker- 123 rec 1,348 yds 11.0 avg 4 td
Welker, in my opinion, is the best slot receiver in the game. If he can come back from the ACL tear, he will be Brady’s go to guy in clutch spots. Welker knows how to get open and read a defense. He’s quick and slippery and great after the catch.
Julian Edelman- 37 rec 359 yds 9.7 avg 1 td
Edelman is a former quarterback in college and a Wes Welker clone. He had a fantastic game in the Wild Card Game against Baltimore scoring 2 touchdowns.
TE- Alge Crumpler- 27 rec 222 yds 8.2 avg 1 td
Crumpler is strictly a blocking tight end at this point of his career.
Others- Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Tate, Taylor Price
Gronkowski and Hernandez are both rookie tight ends who should see playing time.
Tate can be solid receiver if he can stay healthy.
LT- Matt Light
Light is a solid left tackle, but he struggles against speed rushers.
LG- Logan Mankins
Mankins is a mauler. He plays with a mean streak and sets the tone up front. He is very good at setting the seal.
C- Dan Koppen
Koppen isn’t dominant, but he’s a great match for Brady.
RG- Stephen Neal
Neal is another mauler who excels in the run game.
RT- Sebastian Vollmer
Vollmer was very impressive as a rookie, starting 12 games at both tackle spots. He’s a good run blocker and can get to the 2nd level effectively.
LDE- Gerard Warren- 35 tck 2 sck 1 p def
Losing Ty Warren is huge. Warren, Myron Pryor and Ron Brace will all fight for playing time.
NT- Vince Wilfork- 43 tck 2 p def 1 ff
Wilfork is the unsung hero on the defense. He’s a 2 gap plugger, opens up space for others and collapses the pocket.
RDE- Mike Wright- 35 tck 5 sck 2 p def 1 ff
Wright is a smart football player, and can play anywhere on the line.
Others- Myron Pryor, Ron Brace
Besides Wilfork, the starting lineups may change weekly. The Ty Warren injury is a huge blow.
LOLB- Tully Banta-Cain- 54 tck 9.5 sck 2 p def 2 ff
Banta-Cain is a solid pass rusher, good run stuffer and solid in pass coverage.
LILB- Jerod Mayo- 103 tck 1.5 sck 1 p def 1 ff
Mayo is smart, instinctive and a good tackler. He does everything well.
RILB- Gary Guyton- 85 tck 2 sck 4 p def
In my opinion, I think Guyton is more suited to play of the outside. I question his ability to take on blockers.
ROLB- Marques Murrell- 12 tck 1 ff
The Pats can go with a couple options at this spot.
Others- Brandon Spikes, Bruce Davis, Shawn Crable
Spikes is a guy I love. By the end of the season I can see New England inserting Spikes in Guyton’s spot and moving Guyton outside.
LCB- Darius Butler- 35 tck 3 int 8 p def
The Leigh Bodden injury is huge, because he was really the only really experienced starter in the secondary. Butler had some growing pains as a rookie with penalties and mistakes.
RCB- Devin McCourty- ROOKIE
McCourty is a 1st round pick from Rutgers. McCourty is good at flipping his hips and keeping up with faster receivers.
CB- Terrence Wheatley- 2 tck
Wheatley hasn’t really developed into anything as of yet, but there is so little depth at the position.
FS- James Sanders- 48 tck 3 p def
Sanders is a solid tackler, and with the youngster Patrick Chung on his tail, Sanders needs to perform.
SS- Brandon Meriweather- 83 tck 5 int 9 p def 2 ff
Meriweather is a playmaker and a hinderance. He makes plays, and then he can also miss a lot of tackles.
Others- Jonathan Wilhite, Patrick Chung
Chung will start if Sanders falters.
PK- Stephen Gostowski- 26/31 53 lg
Gostowski is the number 1 ranked fantasy kicker, will that translate on the field?
P- Zoltan Mesko- ROOKIE
When I think of Zoltan, I think of “Dude Where’s My Car.”
KR- Brandon Tate- 4 ret 26.5 avg 34 lg
Tate needs to stay healthy, because he’s a threat.
PR- Wes Welker- 2 ret 22.5 avg 27 lg
Welker is quick and shifty as a returner.
2010 PREDICTION- 10-6
This is a tough team to gauge. Offensively they’re superb, and they’re going to have to dictate how a game is played. If they can put up some points, that may make the opposing offenses one dimensional, which could benefit the Patriots defense. Bill Belichick is the most knowledgable football mind in the game right now. He knows how to adjust. I’m just not going to give up on Brady and Belickick thus yet. Brady has something to prove.
Offensive MVP- Tom Brady
Defensive MVP- Jerod Mayo
Breakthrough- Patrick Chung
Overrated- Randy Moss
Underrated- Tom Brady