Young Patriots hope to rebound from lockout/sophomore slumps

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Across the league, coaches have hailed the differences they see in their teams this spring, the result of having actual offseasons instead of lockout-inspired radio silence.

How much that absence impacted individual teams depends largely on how they fared (and whether they needed the excuse), but Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald mentions the Patriots draft class of 2010 dropped off en masse early last season.

“Yeah, you just see it’s a difference,” McCourty told Howe. “Last year, you’re on your own, feel like you’re working hard doing different things, but I just think it’s a better feeling when you can be with your teammates working on the things and working with the people that you actually do this sport with the most.

“During the season, you’re with the coaches and the players all the time, so just to be around those guys, be able to get their input on different things is key to any player’s development.”

McCourty might have been the prime example in New England.

After a strong rookie season, coaches asked much more of him last year, giving him less safety help and more man-to-man assignments. He struggled early, and admitted his own confidence (or lack thereof) was part of the problem.

Linebacker Brandon Spikes and defensive end Jermaine Cunningham were both sidelined for much of training camp with injuries, and while Spikes recovered to play well late in the season, Cunningham disappointed.

Would having OTAs and minicamp have made a difference? Impossible to know, but there was also enough anecdotal evidence on that roster to make you wonder.

5 responses to “Young Patriots hope to rebound from lockout/sophomore slumps

  1. gronk and hernandez were both in the draft class of 2010. more accurate if you had said defenders from that class

  2. A lot of us Pats fans feel that BB “simplified” the defense and went more 4-3 (aside from sub packages) because of the lockout, and even besides injuries like Spikes and Chung that hurt them a bunch they still struggled a lot for a good bit of the season, and a chunk of that was communication alone. Not just the Pats D, but a lot of the more complex ones suffered, IMO more than offenses. Much as I hate the NYJ for example, theirs did as well.

    BB has never drafted a Saban player in the first round, but he did this year. Learning curve…shortened (if dude ever signs his contract, :)).

  3. Brandon Spikes is good. McCourty is the big one. If, and that’s a big if, he can get out of his funk and play well (either at corner or safety), we’ll have him, Dowling, Moore, Chung, Arrington, and we’ll see what we have in the rookies Wilson and Dennard, that’s really not a bad group in the secondary. I’m forgetting a few names, too.

    The defense doesn’t have to be terrific for this team to win a title, but it would help if they could cut the yardage way down and get the points down some. Get off the damn field on 3rd down.

  4. What the heck happened to Jermaine Cunnigham? Dudes always hurt or never sees the field


    Bit of both. Pretty ugly DE-OLB transition also. Unless he has a good camp I foresee him being getting cut.

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