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Saturday, February 23, 2008

New England Patriots Offseason

New England Patriots have certainly had better offseasons recently. After one of the greatest seasons in history, an offseason begun watching the other team celebrate your defeat is difficult. The continuing, evergrowing struggle of spygate isn't helping. New England, in typical fashion, are not allowing that to detour them from the business of getting better.

The season long "what if they go 19-0" session was certainly entertainimg, but New England now faces the truth; they didn't shank a field goal, have a fluke fumble, or suffer catastrophic injuries. They were outplayed on the field, simple football, along with some great scheming by Giants defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnoulo, defeated them.

Which weakness, laid bare in the final game, will the Patriots address through the draft. With definite need at linebacker, Kieth Rivers(LB-USC) would be a likely prospect. Belichick has said in the past, he doesn not like to draft linebackers. Feeling that they can be evaluated much better after a few years in the league. Belichick's evaluation of recently released Dolphin, Zach Thomas, must have been good. Thomas was offered a contract during his visit to New England shortly after the Dolphins cut him loose.

Those two factors make a LB unlikely in the first round. The front line of the Patriots defense needs some attention. A solid group all year long, but they began to show their age as the season progressed, a situation likely to get worse not better. frontline options this earlyin the draft should still be good. Franchise defensive prospects Sedrick Ellis(DT-USC) and Vernon Gholston could still be available for New England. Ellis would be a great fit for Belichick, his motor suits Belichick play 60 minutes mantra. After his performance at the Senior Bowl he may not last until the Patriots pick. Gholston, certanly not be a bad consolation prize, may not be the best fit for the 3-4 the Patriots play. Whichever they choose to address it will be with the Niners #7 pick. The Patriots #31 pick was surredered as a penaty for spygate. The Giants now have the #31 pick.

New England is making all these preperations amidst ongiong spygate drama. Former video Assistant, Matt Walsh, has claimed he video taped the Rams wolk through prior to their Superbowl meeting with the Patriots. Belichick has denied ever filming or seeing film of a walk through. Alongside that back and forth Senator Arlen Specter is pressuring Roger Goodell with a laundry list of accusations; why did he punish Belichick priot to seeing the tapes, why did he destroy the tapes, why if he knew about Matt Walsh hasn't he persued questioning him.

Belichick has flatly denied Walsh's accusations. Along with personell director, Scott Pioli, Belicheck has gone out of his way to minimize Walsh. While Goodell and Belichick would love to see this go away; Specter, and the group of former Rams suing Belichick and the Patriots, seem bound to make sure that doesn't happen.

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