NFL Free Agency Frenzy and the Patriots options

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Free Agency is going to begin today and so let’s look at some of the options for the Patriots, in my eyes.

Wide Receiver: Brandon Lloyd is not your savior New England Patriots fans. Can he be productive in the Josh McDaniels offensive system? Yes, because of what he did in Denver during McDaniels’ time there as a Head Coach but do not forget that before that year he was a journeyman. No that doesn’t mean he followed Journey around, he was a fill-in, a role player and not an impact player by any means. He is almost 31 years old and had his career year just a few years ago and I ask 31 is when skills start to decline right? So what happens when your declining skills were limited anyway? Is he a good player? Yeah, he is a great role player and can fit into this system most likely but he is not going to be your savior in my opinion. I do still think that he could end up being a bust signing, much like Ocho. However, I do believe that Chad has a chance of having a good year to rebound his career.

Who’d I’d rather have?: Danny Amendola, has a 2nd round tender on him by the Rams but could be a Wes Welker type of WR. Mike Wallace, Eddie Royal, Donte Stallworth. I also hope that they bring back Deion Branch.

Running Back: The Law Firm needs a new client. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been a good player for the Patriots and considering he was an undrafted rookie when Belichick signed him, it was a steal. He out played the Patriots 1st round pick Laurence Maroney and most likely his play gave Bill the green light to cut ties with Maroney. He has not even fumbled yet, which makes you sit and think… how did every team miss this person in the draft? However, he is not a home run running back and not going to break any records or even really be a running back that will be the premier back.  The Patriots drafted last season Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen in the second and third round and played little last season but showed signs that they are both good running backs and deserve time with the ball. So, right now, you committed two picks to those two, you have Danny Woodhead, and all three of these players will make an impact on the offense so it makes Green-Ellis expendable. Maybe if you can get him cheap but honestly I think that signing him will just impact negatively on the development of Vereen and Ridley, who with consistent time on the field could be better than Green-Ellis. That is the last thing you want, to hinder any development, because I believe that is what happened with Taylor Price. They want Vereen and Ridley to get better? They need to actually see the field, and not just during practice.

Whom would I rather have? Lousaka Polite or pretty much a FB who can help block and in short yardage situations. The Patriots offense can be a little predictable so making a real commitment to run the ball at least more than you have can make some real waves in your offense and open up that playbook.

Offense overall is a low priority to me with really just one position that needs one or two players and that’s Wide Receiver. All of the others are in pretty good condition.

What about on the defensive side of the ball? This is an area that is more important than any other in my opinion. Defensive End: Andre Carter, Mark Anderson, John Abraham, Jonathan Fanene, Kyle Love, Gerard Warren, Aaron Maybin (yes I did mean to type that name) Shaun Rogers, Aaron Smith. Why Maybin? Well, the Jets used him well as a pass rush role player and he did well; he was never going to be an every down guy but can do well if utilized correctly. Rogers, Fanene, Maybin and Warren could be some cheap talent who could make an impact. Abraham could be a little expensive but not Mario Williams money.

Safety: Melvin Bullitt, Bob Sanders, OJ Atogwe, Jim Leonhard, James Sanders. The Patriots could benefit from some guys who were just cut from other teams like Bullitt and Atogwe and should consider looking there way. LaRon Landry could also be a name to add to the interest list here but I don’t like how injury prone he has been. Sanders might never be the same guy he was with the Colts but if he can stay healthy he might be able to make an impact and will be cheap. Leonhard played well in Jets and Ravens defensive systems and will be an upgrade over who we have now.

Corner: Gibril Wilson, Eric Wright, Marcus Trufant, Sean Considine, Sterling Moore. Some of these guys are hybrids, sort of, between safety and corner, that can only help the Patriots since McCourty, and maybe even Dowling could play some snaps at safety. Versatility is a good thing in this system and if a guy can also sub in as a corner can really increase his value, at least in Belichick’s mind.

Linebacker: Manny Lawson, Jarret Johnson, Sergio Kindle, Ernie Sims, Mario Williams, James Farrior, Keith Brooking, Mike Peterson. I know that Farrior and Brooking are Inside Linebackers and that the Patriots have there starters with Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes but Brooking or Farrior can be subbed in and make an impact and can make an impact on a young defense by teaching them off the field. Mario will be too expensive but you have to look his way. I think that the fact that Adalius Thomas burned Belichick doesn’t mean that he won’t spend on defense because in the case of Mario Williams, he is not Thomas. Kindle is still young and might develop into something, Sims is a tackler but has started to disappear since leaving Detriot but might be able to resurrect his career.

The wild card for linebackers? Kamerion Wimbley, who could be cut by the Oakland Radiers because of his big contract even though he was a producer for them.

Whom do the Patriots bring back? Deion Branch, Andre Carter, Mark Anderson, Dan Connolly, Matthew Slater, James Ihedigbo, and Kyle Love.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the big signing by the Patriots because they are most likely going to look for talented players but cheap(ish). They will spend but wisely just like only the Patriots can. I will also say this, I know that Tom Brady is a sure first ballot Hall of Famer and we’re lucky to have him playing for us but he needs to be more patient with new players. The Patriots have a complicated system and to expect everyone to be on board with it 100% right away is crazy. You can’t shut someone down and not look at them just because they made a mistake. Tom… don’t be Dan Marino or Peyton Manning because Marino never won a Super Bowl and Peyton only won because he was going up against the Chicago Bears. You’re better than they are and we all believe in you.

Did Albert Haynesworth need to play more?

Tennessee Titans Albert Haynesworth man the le...

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Albert Haynesworth, who was recently released by the New England Patriots, said in an interview that he wished that he played more, practiced more, implying that he could have and that any physical limitation he had were assumed by Bill Belichick and the coaching staff. So who was right? Could Haynesworth play more and have made a bigger impact? Or he is just late in seeing what Belichick already knew?

Well he was right at least about one thing and that’s his time was limited because of all the personnel that the Patriots have at his position. You have Kyle Love, Ron Brace, Gerard Warren, and Brandon Deaderick who all rotate in and play during games and Haynesworth was once part of that rotation. So why the rotation? Not making use of Haynesworth talent? Well you see that’s just it, Belichick did make the most of Albert I believe. The team had to have and will continue to have a rotation at that position and other weaker positions just because, as said, they are weaker. The only difference being that usually it’s 1-2 areas and the rest has a solid, consistent starter covering that area. The Patriots lack that at more than 2 positions so they will continue to rotate talent in and out since the players that fill that position are average to above average talent who have already reached their ceiling. Bottomline is that Haynesworth was wrong, he was just saying what he was supposed to say to the media and selling himself, which is smart for someone who probably doesn’t have it anymore.
As I said, they will always have a revolving door at weaker positions until they can find someone who can stand in and be a solid contributor and be an actual player with a high ceiling. Players like Love, Brace, Warren, Deaderick, and even others in different positions like Rob Ninkovich, Kyle Arrington, James Ihedigbo, and Sergio Brown have already hit whatever ceiling they had in terms of potential and will be needed if they do not have someone who is a real starter. Belichick has missed in the draft a lot and now has to make the best out of his current situation and he has. Haynesworth had some physical limitations and the Patriots got the most out of him.

Did Albert Haynesworth indeed need more playing time to be effective? No. They couldn’t play him more with his injuries and his size. Did Albert want to play more? Maybe, however I don’t think it would have helped or made him better, if anything it would have led to him getting an injury. Honestly what else did you think he’d say in the interview? “No they played me enough and my 3 tackles states what I have left in the tank?” That’s not being a good salesman and he’d be dumb to paint himself that way, so he painted the picture that he did. He tried to take advantage of the Patriots situation with the lack of potential stars, or at least solid starters, that they have and that’s what he does, he did it when he arrived here and will again next season. I believe Haynesworth could be a force in the NFL and a name that would not be forgotten if he just turned up the energy and tried his hardest on every play but he is what he is until proven otherwise. At this point in his career I think I have a better chance of seeing Patriots finish a season 0-16 with Brady at QB than Haynesworth becoming the player he could have been.