Skip to content

Team checklist: New England Patriots

Bill Belichick AP

The Patriots confounded their fans once again during the draft, passing on front seven players until round six.  That provides a starting point for our post-lockout to-do list for the team.

We’ve already looked at the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins.

1. Help the pass rush.

It won’t be easy to do via free agency, especially if we return to 2010 rules.  Matt Roth, who last played in Cleveland, looks like the best fit at outside linebacker.  Mathias Kiwanuka would be another interesting gamble.   Travis LaBoy could be a cheap option.

With Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich, and Tully Banta-Cain the best OLBs on the team, it wouldn’t shock us to see New England pick up a mid-level player at the position if the price is right.  Expect some signing here, at least for depth.

2. Add to defensive line depth.

The team already signed Marcus Stroud, who may replace Gerard Warren in the aging one-year stop-gap role. New England isn’t as thin at DE as you think — Mike Wright, Ty Warren, Ron Brace, and Brandon Deaderick are a solid group — but Bill Belichick seemingly never has enough guys up front.

Cullen Jenkins would probably cost too much. Signing Pat Williams or Jamal Williams for a very limited run-stopping role as Vince Wilfork’s backup would fit what the Patriots do.

3. Decide if Deion Branch, Taylor Price, and Brandon Tate are enough.

New England can work the middle of the field with Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, and two great young tight ends.  But do they have enough team speed out wide?  Branch couldn’t beat one-on-one coverage against the Jets, while Tate has been unreliable.  Price barely played as a rookie.

Branch is set to make $2.2 million this year, but we’re not sure he’s even a lock to make the team.  Considering the deep crop of free agent wideouts, we’d bet on the Patriots going for a reasonably big name at wideout before signing someone you’ve heard of on defense.

Steve Breaston, Santana Moss, and Mike Sims-Walker all sound like better options than signing Chad Ochocinco or bringing back Randy Moss.  A stealth run at Santonio Holmes would piss off the Jets.

4. Patch things up with Logan Mankins.

Mankins is far less likely to hold out into the regular season this year with $10.1 million coming his way as the team’s franchise player.  It wouldn’t surprise us at all if a long-term deal gets worked out.

5. Set a price for Matt Light and don’t go over it.

With Sebastian Vollmer in place and first round pick Nate Solder aboard, we suspect free agent Light will get more money to play elsewhere, ending a terrific run with the team.

6. Set up a “Kevin Faulk Night” as soon as possible if Faulk isn’t in the NFL.

Bill Belichick may give Faulk one last chance to beat the odds and make the team again, but there doesn’t appear to be room on the running back depth chart.  Even if Faulk signs elsewhere, it will be an uphill climb for him at age 35 coming off ACL surgery.

7. Get Belichick to pipe down.

There’s just too much bulletin board material coming from the trash talking head coach.

Permalink 40 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: New England Patriots, Rumor Mill, Sprint Football Live - Rumors, Top Stories
40 Responses to “Team checklist: New England Patriots”
  1. myspaceyourface says: May 19, 2011 11:39 AM

    Patriots = Cheaters

  2. aaron276 says: May 19, 2011 11:41 AM

    kraft has already sent out welker on a foot patrol to make sure BB doesn’t go overboard on the trash talking and put his foot in his mouth

  3. 2mannings1cup says: May 19, 2011 11:45 AM

    Your futile attempt at sarcasm may have worked for the “Jets Bulletin Board Material”, but don’t bring that trash into play again. It was hardly funny the first time.

  4. robzar says: May 19, 2011 11:46 AM

    Team checklist: New England Patriots

    Bill – check
    Brady – check
    Another chance for a Lombardi trophy – check

  5. sj39 says: May 19, 2011 11:49 AM

    8. Get video tapes of player organized practices.

  6. bozosforall says: May 19, 2011 11:58 AM

    8. Invest in the latest videocamera technology.

    Several years removed from the last SB win*, the Pats fans will soon start to get restless and jump off the same bandwagon that they all jumped on 10 years ago.

  7. CKL says: May 19, 2011 12:00 PM

    No Holmes…too much drama…I like the thought of Breaston if they go the FA route.
    I like the thought of Jenkins too.
    I don’t think there’s a single Pats fan who doesn’t love Faulk so I concur.
    If Kraft can stomach re-signing LoLo, that should show that he’s a bigger man. I personally as an emotional fan am still torqued at him for taking personal and uncalled for public shots @ Kraft which is one reason I love BB…NOTHING is personal to him. If LM is best for the team, they will try to get him to stay. If not they won’t. I mean BB kept trying to talk to Ty Law about coming back even though Law called him a liar to the press. That’s the epitome of not taking things personally.
    Light was a very nice player (and has a great personality) for the Pats for years and I wish him well if he leaves.

    As for BB and his trash talking (:D) , I hope he writes a book after his career is over and lets everyone know his true feelings on everything…but I doubt that happens.

  8. commoncents says: May 19, 2011 12:13 PM

    The rain must have stopped, all the Jets fans are peeking their heads out from the bridges they live under.

  9. patssmelllikepoo says: May 19, 2011 12:13 PM

    Patriots team needs= People that can actually play defense.

  10. dbellina says: May 19, 2011 12:15 PM

    Could Ben Leber be of any help to the Pats?

  11. robzar says: May 19, 2011 12:22 PM

    @ bozosforall says:

    Hey bozo (sounds about right) who’s your team and how many SB trophys or appearances they got??? If your a Yets fan, I know the answer.

  12. kindbass says: May 19, 2011 12:58 PM

    As a Pats fan, I’ve seen Brady win us three Super Bowls and get us a 16-0 regular season, the longest win streak in NFL history, and all sorts of records.

    Having said that, I don’t even really care how the Pats do this year. I just want the Jets to be really, really freaking bad.

  13. zoxitic says: May 19, 2011 1:01 PM

    If you sign MSW, better get used to 2 more initials; IR

  14. nyjyi says: May 19, 2011 1:16 PM

    @ robzar

    Bill – check
    Brady – check
    Another dissapointing run in the playoffs? – check
    Another step towards being a once-great, yet fading franchise? – check

  15. pleasantsurpriselefty says: May 19, 2011 1:17 PM

    I have this reoccuring nightmare re Patriots and their wheeling, dealing headcoach. Through endless trading and “moving down” at draft time, they end up with EVERY draft choice in 2017. At which time some scumbag lawyer files suit and abolishes the draft and the Pats never win another game!

  16. zoxitic says: May 19, 2011 1:17 PM

    kindbass says:
    May 19, 2011 12:58 PM
    As a Pats fan, I’ve seen Brady win us three Super Bowls and get us a 16-0 regular season, the longest win streak in NFL history, and all sorts of records.

    Having said that, I don’t even really care how the Pats do this year. I just want the Jets to be really, really freaking bad.

    _______________________________

    The loss in the playoffs last year still hurts, huh.

  17. ampats says: May 19, 2011 1:19 PM

    8) 2012 Lombardi Trophy

  18. ampats says: May 19, 2011 1:22 PM

    Kindbass,

    Your wish will come true this year.

  19. originalsteelcurtain says: May 19, 2011 2:30 PM

    With the exception of Spygate, it’s hard to criticize the Patriots organization. I was surprised at their draft, given multiple premium picks, that the didn’t take a WR or a pass rusher. A Free Agent WR makes sense, but I doubt it’s OchoDrama.

    As long as Brady is healthy, Pats will be a contender once again in 2011.

  20. kindbass says: May 19, 2011 2:31 PM

    zoxitic says:
    May 19, 2011 1:17 PM
    The loss in the playoffs last year still hurts, huh.
    ___________________________________

    No. Not really. Like I said:

    Patriots: 3 SBs, 16-0 season, longest win streak in NFL history, boatloads of records, elite NFL franchise status.

    Jets: ?????

    The Pats can’t win it every year. But at least we can win it sometimes.

  21. bozosforall says: May 19, 2011 3:07 PM

    robzar says:
    May 19, 2011 12:22 PM
    @ bozosforall says:

    Hey bozo (sounds about right) who’s your team and how many SB trophys or appearances they got??? If your a Yets fan, I know the answer.

    _____
    MY team is 5-0 in SBs. Suck on that.

  22. grpatriot says: May 19, 2011 3:10 PM

    BB could’ve had Sheard, Reed etal……He didn’t go that route. I trust his eye better than some “so called draft expert!”
    We’ll see just how effective Sheard and Reed become vs, Rasi Dowling? I don’t think he could pass on Mallette. Great pick if Cannon gets healthy?
    Markell Carter OLB, can turn the corner, maybe even set the edge? As a 5th round selection, he won’t be under the same pressure to produce immediately.
    Solder has great potential and with Scar coaching him…he’ll be one of the best LT’s in the NFL, eventually.
    Revamping the RB corp only helps Brady’s longevity. I expect good things from the back’s this coming shortened season….

  23. bozosforall says: May 19, 2011 3:21 PM

    grpatriot says:
    May 19, 2011 3:10 PM
    BB could’ve had Sheard, Reed etal……He didn’t go that route. I trust his eye better than some “so called draft expert!”
    We’ll see just how effective Sheard and Reed become vs, Rasi Dowling? I don’t think he could pass on Mallette. Great pick if Cannon gets healthy?
    Markell Carter OLB, can turn the corner, maybe even set the edge? As a 5th round selection, he won’t be under the same pressure to produce immediately.
    Solder has great potential and with Scar coaching him…he’ll be one of the best LT’s in the NFL, eventually.
    Revamping the RB corp only helps Brady’s longevity. I expect good things from the back’s this coming shortened season….

    _______
    Most of Belicheck’s later round picks don’t last more than three years, if that long. His first rounders do, which I give him credit for. Try doing your homework first.

  24. kissbillsrings says: May 19, 2011 3:44 PM

    I really enjoy all the bitter & mean comments from fans of other teams….just goes to show you the Pats are STILL relevent & give those other fans panic attacks….funny thing is, I don’t see that changing anytime soon….SWEET!!!!!

    I think the author of this post should have included tissues…Pats definatly need tissues to give to their opponents fan base…..gotta dry all those tears, BWAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

  25. 3yrsnfl says: May 19, 2011 3:46 PM

    Why are some of you even mentioning the New York Jets? Last year the Patriots went with young, inexperienced, inexpensive talent and got burned in the playoffs. In the past they have been able to coach-up the young players and it has gotten them into the playoffs but they couldn’t overcome the gap in talent.

  26. bertilfox says: May 19, 2011 4:07 PM

    Kevin Faulk has been one of my favorite Patriots of all time. If he has played his last game, he can rest assured that his mark on this franchise has been indelible…

    Next Stop: The Hall at Patriot Place!

  27. ampats says: May 19, 2011 4:09 PM

    That now makes sense. Bozosforall trolls all Pats posts because since the 49ers have been irrelevent for years the only news he gets to read about his team is about his prized first round draft pick Alex Smith who his team passed over Aaron Rodgers for. Thanks for the laugh !

  28. descendency says: May 19, 2011 4:18 PM

    The problem on the DL is that none of those guys outside of Wilfork and Ty Warren are good starters. They are solid to very good backups, but for a team with this much talent and this many draft choices, it’s hard to look at some of those names and not think there should be someone in front of them.

    The pass rush will be helped by stopping easy checkdowns that NE was giving up every 3rd down. Teams would be 3rd and 8+ and throw a 2 yard pass that went for 10 yards. Putting Ras-I Dowling in the box to cover those guys should at least give the young pass rushers some time to get to the QB. Also, if you mention OLBs who Belichick should target, you have to mention Manny Lawson. Yes, his pass rush skills are limited, but he’s a stud everywhere else. The coaching staff should be able to give him a better opportunity to get to the QB than he had in SF.

    I really doubt Logan Mankins will be back as a Patriots player long term. I hope they spend the extra money they will save by having two rookie contract OTs on their elite All Pro guard.

  29. grpatriot says: May 19, 2011 4:37 PM

    TBC 7th, Matt Cassel 7th, and a long list of UDFA’s…not to mention pick 199 Tom Brady…
    Maybe you should do some homework 1st?

  30. bozosforall says: May 19, 2011 5:08 PM

    kissbillsrings says:
    May 19, 2011 3:44 PM
    I really enjoy all the bitter & mean comments from fans of other teams….just goes to show you the Pats are STILL relevent & give those other fans panic attacks….funny thing is, I don’t see that changing anytime soon….SWEET!!!!!

    I think the author of this post should have included tissues…Pats definatly need tissues to give to their opponents fan base…..gotta dry all those tears, BWAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

    _________
    Thanks for proving my point about New England sports fans not knowing how to be either good losers or good winners. Your bitterness over all those lean years shines right through, kissbillsarse.

  31. bozosforall says: May 19, 2011 5:14 PM

    grpatriot says:
    May 19, 2011 4:37 PM
    TBC 7th, Matt Cassel 7th, and a long list of UDFA’s…not to mention pick 199 Tom Brady…
    Maybe you should do some homework 1st?

    ___
    THREE late rounders in over 10 years? Is that all you got? As far as Tom Brady, please tell me what happened to the 6 players that were drafted by the Pats BEFORE he was. Yeah, they all busted, which basically shows that it was pure dumb luck that landed Brady in NE (otherwise they would have taken him earlier instead of risking losing him and being stuck with the busts that they took with those earlier picks). Oh yeah, I’ve done MY homework.

  32. sportsreporterusa says: May 19, 2011 5:58 PM

    I am sorry but as a Patriots fan who has lived through the Steve Grogan, Tony Eason, Drew Bledsoe and of course the Tom Brady eras, I am genuinely concerned about the direction of this team.

    The Patriots lack the sufficient play makers on defense needed to stop good playoff teams. Yes, they have a few good players (McCourty, Mayo, Chung, Wilfork), however this team lacks game-changing talent.

    They cannot stop good offenses on short fields like the Steelers can. They could not stop the Jets on a short field who had an “average” offense. Matt Flynn, the backup QB in Green Bay, nearly beat this defense last year.

    This draft was completely disappointing. They had a real opportunity to finish re-loading this defense and decided to draft a developmental LT who is going to face the following OLB/DE’s this year:

    Cameron Wake
    Shaun Phillips
    Shawne Merriman
    Lamarr Houston
    Calvin Pace
    Demarcus Ware
    James Harrison
    Osi Umenyiora
    Glenn Dorsey and Tamba Hali (if he resigns) or Justin Houston and depending on the set for the Chiefs
    Trent Cole
    Dwight Freeney
    Ryan Kerrigan (rookie starter at OLB or 3-4 end for the Redskins) or Brian Orakpo (3-4 OLB on that side)
    Von Miller or Elvis Dumervil

    This is who Nate Solder is going to get face off against if the Pats do not re-sign Matt Light or sign another veteran, or move Vollmer to LT. BB has already said that Solder is going to play LT.

    Does anyone remember what happened to the Dallas Cowboys last year? Many looked at the Cowboys as a Super Bowl favorite last year and in many respects, the Cowboys have better talent at key positions than the Patriots.

    As a Patriots fan, if Solder is the starting LT, you better hope that this “developmental LT” can withstand who he is going to face because if he doesn’t Brady could get hurt and if that does happen, the Pats could be in a for a LONG 2012 season.

  33. pape27 says: Jun 15, 2011 12:48 PM

    bozosforall says:May 19, 2011 5:14 PM
    THREE late rounders in over 10 years? Is that all you got? As far as Tom Brady, please tell me what happened to the 6 players that were drafted by the Pats BEFORE he was. Yeah, they all busted, which basically shows that it was pure dumb luck that landed Brady in NE (otherwise they would have taken him earlier instead of risking losing him and being stuck with the busts that they took with those earlier picks). Oh yeah, I’ve done MY homework.

    ——————————————————–
    iirc, the brain trust in SF took who in 2000? Gino somebody? lolz

    I’d put BB’s drafting record over the past decade up against SF’s and day of the week and twice on sundays.

  34. bcgreg says: Jul 10, 2011 9:07 PM

    @ sportsreporterusa

    Look at NEs OL in 2001. Light was a rookie at LT. The guards were Mike Compton and Joe Andruzzi. The center was Damien Woody. The RT was Greg Robinson-Randall. Two rookie tackles. A street FA. A center who switched with a guard on 3rd down because he couldn’t snap the shotgun. It’s been done with less talent. Solder-Vollmer combo is better than Light-Randall. Koppen’s better than Woody. Mankins is better than ALL of them.

  35. bcgreg says: Jul 10, 2011 9:11 PM

    @ bozosforall and pape27

    I’m a Pats fan, and I agree with bozo (no disrespect–not calling you a bozo). Belichick usually hits it out of the park on 1st rounders. He’s 50-50 on 2nd and 3rd rounders. It’s a crap shoot with late rounders. That’s different than who? Nobody!!! He has done pretty good with undrafted rookie FAs though. Gotta give him that too, bozo. And scrap heap guys from other teams (see Woodhead, Bobby Hamilton, even Rodney Harrison, who everyone thought was done).

    Brady was sheer luck, and Pioli and Belichick have admitted it. They’ve said “if we’re so smart, then why did we wait until the 6th round?” They’ve missed way more late rounders than they’ve hit, but again, that’s different than nobody else.

  36. 1historian says: Jul 16, 2011 8:57 PM

    In the 10 seasons between 2001 and 2010 the Patriots won 3 Super Bowls, a whole lot of football games, went to the playoffs 8 out of those 10 seasons, and with the season coming up are once again in the running for another title.

    Do you really believe they read your silly posts as to what they need to do?

  37. 1historian says: Jul 16, 2011 9:04 PM

    Bozo & Friends:

    Tom Brady was a 6th round draft choice. Everybody knows that.

    John Unitas was a 9th round draft choice and he was CUT.

    Joe Montana was a 3rd round draft choice and he did ok.

    Would Brady have gotten this good without Belichik?

    Would Montana have been as good without Walsh?

    Would Unitas have been as good without
    Ewbank?

    Probably not, probably not and probably not.

    But we’ll NEVER know, and that is as it should be.

  38. patsandsox says: Jul 23, 2011 8:07 PM

    You guys not what bozos problem really is? Envy.

    His team hasnt be relevant in years so he has to go troll on some one elses team that actualy has had success.

    From a jets fan, a steelers fan, a colt fan or some other team that actually has won something since the turn of the century I could understand it a little.

    From the a 49′s fan its like taking flak from a Clippers fan.
    Heres an idea clown boy, let your team win something this century and then come back.

  39. patsandsox says: Jul 23, 2011 8:11 PM

    Opps the dreaded typos from not proof reading. I left myself wide open for clown boy to critise my grammer and punctuation like hes an english teacher, since obvioulsy he cannot refute the actual arguement itself.

    Thats after he crawls out from whatever rock it is trolls live under.

  40. BAMNATION says: Jul 25, 2011 5:05 AM

    sportsreporterusa: I am sorry but as a Patriots fan who has lived through the Steve Grogan, Tony Eason, Drew Bledsoe and of course the Tom Brady eras, I am genuinely concerned about the direction of this team.

    Explains the negativity.

    The roster is not even set yet and you are already doing the ‘whine’

    I am concerned about the Oline too – but move away from the window.

    If Light and Mankins are not back and Kaczur is healthy then maybe he stays w the team (and not cap casualty). then you have your old starting RT and Seabass on the left.

    The bigger concern would be OG. Who steps up w Mankins and Neal gone? Connolly and who? then a possibly FA.

    Still you have Dante that has been managing the OL for decades and minimal droppoff with in-season injury changes even from low picks.

    With the blocking TE formations the Pats can still cover issues at OT by helping on either side anyway.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!