The New England Patriots ended their 2011 NFL season one win short of complete superiority over the league. New England lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. This season the two most important personnel on the team are back – Head Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. The team’s offense should be as potent as ever, while he defense is a huge question mark. Even though the Patriots played in the Super Bowl, their defense the entire season was bad, to say the least.
The biggest weakness on the defensive side of the ball was against the pass. Because of that, the Patriots went out and added players through free agency and the draft. They picked up Steven Gregory, Jonathan Fanene and Trevor Scott on the free agent market ,and Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette, Tavon Wilson and Don’t’a Hightower in the draft.
The new veterans on the team will take the preseason to learn the many schemes the team uses on defense; while the rookies will try to convince coaches through their play, they can start or contribute.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Patriots need to find a running game. With Brady behind the ball, the team will be one of the top passing teams in the league, but they need the run to balance things out. They will put up lots of points as they did last season, but before the regular season starts, the team must define the different roles of backfield players, as they probably will run by committee. The Patriots picked up Joseph Addai from the Colts to help in the running game.
Wes Welker is back to be Brady’s biggest threat and hopefully his contract problems will not carry onto the field of play. Last season he caught 122 passes to lead the league, which is the third time in five seasons he has caught the most passes in the league. With their offense a powerhouse in the air and with Belichick being one of the best coaches in the league the Patriots are in almost every game they play. Look for the Patriots to win 11 or 12 games and make it to the AFC Championship or further.
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