Bill Belichick must have done a fine job of completing the rebuild of his defense, because New England Patriots fans aren’t concerned anymore.
Patriots Nation is too busy worrying whether quarterback Tom Brady will have anyone to throw to, because at times in 2013 it seemed like Julian Edelman was the only player who could gain separation on an NFL defensive back. Brady probably won’t throw for 50 touchdowns in 2014, but the team still is built for success.
Read on, Patriots fans, as NESN.com tries to quell your fears about the offensive side of the football in this week’s mailbag.
@DougKyedNESN Are the Patriots gambling by not having addressed their WR group this offseason more than they did?
I think there’s some risk involved, but the Patriots know what the floor of this group looks like, and that’s the 2013 season, when they still made the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots showed confidence in second-year pros Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce by not spending big money on a new “X” receiver to play across from Julian Edelman. The Patriots signed Brandon LaFell as a free agent, but he’s far from guaranteed a starting role.
Dobson, Thompkins and Boyce will improve in 2014, and Tom Brady’s success likely will be decided by how many strides they take during the offseason. Thompkins and Boyce looked improved in OTAs and minicamp, and I was pleasantly surprised when I looked back at Dobson’s improvement as the 2013 season went along when I rechecked the film this week.
The Patriots don’t have a top five receiving corps, but it will be better than last year’s.
I think the bigger gamble (so far) was not addressing the tight end position more heavily. The Patriots still could sign Dustin Keller and Jermichael Finley, but you have to wonder what they’re waiting for at this point.
@DougKyedNESN What’s the over/under on how many times Tony Gonzalez’s phone rang this spring?
From a 508 area code? About a hundred. (I jest.)
Seriously, though, I think Gonzalez still wants to play, but he probably doesn’t want to participate in an entire training camp. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing somewhere in 2014.
Gonzalez still was good in 2013. Just ask Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan, who had a tough time covering him in Week 4 last season.
@DougKyedNESN – would you rather have the current DB’s on the roster, or the 03-04 group (Rodney, law, Samuel, etc.)?
The 2003/2004 secondary was very good, but I think the 2014 version has a chance to be better. Ty Law was at nearly the exact point in his career that Darrelle Revis is in now, and I think Revis is the better player. Law might even say so himself.
Asante Samuel really started coming into his own around 2006 and 2007, but he still was a quality player when he came into the league. I think Brandon Browner, Logan Ryan and Alfonzo Dennard are on par with or better than Samuel in ’03 and ’04, though.
Tyrone Poole was the third cornerback in those days, and I think all of the Patriots’ third cornerback options, including Kyle Arrington, are better.
The combinations of Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon and Rodney Harrison and Eugene Wilson are a wash if Harmon shows his expected improvement going into Year 2.
@DougKyedNESN Who wins MitB?
Thanks for asking! I’m pretty excited about Sunday’s WWE Money in the Bank, even if I’m not attending at TD Garden.
I want Roman Reigns to win the ladder match for the belt, and I want Seth Rollins to win the Money in the Bank match, but I can’t see both happening. I think the WWE sees a bright future for all three members of the Shield, but probably not enough to make them the “face of the company” just yet.
John Cena never loses, so even though the fans would hate it, I could see him winning the match for the belt. If Cena wins the belt, they’ll need a heel to win the briefcase, which could mean Rollins.
Daniel Bryan’s imminent return from neck surgery throws a wrench in the mix, too. I could see him wrestling Cena or Rollins for the belt at SummerSlam, however.
@DougKyedNESN The Goonies, home alone, or might ducks. Pick the best one!
Out of those three, I’m taking “Home Alone”, especially in November and December. But if “D2: The Mighty Ducks” is thrown in, it might be too close to call.
One of the most underrated aspects of D2? The team’s off-the-ice gear.
I’ll take one of those short-sleeve stars and stripes hoodies if anyone has one lying around.