New England Patriots Mediocre in 2009 Hopefully Better in 2010
The New England Patriots finished an uncharacteristically mediocre 10-6 in 2009. That might even have caused Bill Belichick to mumble more than one sentence. Boasting one of the league’s most potent offenses, the off-season moves in the free agent market along with a couple of really good draft picks makes the Pats a Super Bowl contender. Again.
The Patriots offense returns everyone. Tom Brady will be again throwing to Wes Welker and Randy Moss, both of whom had over 1200 yards in receptions. When Brady isn’t throwing, Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk will be running the ball; together they ran nearly 1100 yards in 2009. To strengthen this offense even more, the Patriots picked up tight end Alge Crumpler and wide receiver Torry Holt. Some may think they are too old; some may think they just have a load of experience. To-may-to, to-mah-to. It simply means that Brady has two more legitimate offensive threats.
Gone with the wind: Several big name players have blown out of New England, off for greener pastures. Linebacker Junior Seau was released, after many years of NFL service. Also released were LB Adalius Thomas and CB Shawn Springs. Springs failed the physical during OTAs, so he was let go in mid-May. The Pats brass must have thought that might happen; in the April draft, they selected CB Devin McCourty, a cornerback from Rutgers as their first round pick.
We love Florida: Not just the state…the University of Florida. Three of the top six draft picks by the Patriots were Florida Gators. DE Jermaine Cunningham and LB Brandon Spikes were selected in the second round, and TE Aaron Hernandez was a fourth round pick.
Considering the depth of veterans and All-Pro selections, these players will have adequate time to develop, giving the Patriots a nice, long ride at the top of the AFC for a long time. Look for them to start strong out of the gate, given the initial part of their schedule (Cincinnati and Buffalo at home, at the New York Jets and Miami). They will go deep into the playoffs, at least into the AFC Championship.