Like many other people in the region of New England i am pissed/sad/relieved-i-can-shave-my-beard and a little distraught in the sense a “what next?” feeling has kind of come over me.
First thoughts after the game are there are some things the Patriots need to take care of next year to make them a legitimate SUPER BOWL (operative word) contender.
1: Draft a dynamic offensive player. I love the Danny Woodheads and the Deion Branch’s of the team, but there are not any match-ups (aside from Gronkowski and Hernandez) that scare you in one on one match-ups. The way i like to think of it is consider if you had a Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin or a Micheal Crabtree and a Vernon Davis on the team. A dominating player makes all the defense.
2: Fix the secondary. The coverage issues in the second half of the championship game were glaring. They need to find some corners they are comfortable with because Flacco picked apart all the zone looks in the second half.
3: One more lineman. The Patriots O-line doesnt scare me. It’s great pass blocking, but it never seems to overpower people in the run game. I would expect them to look for someone in the C/RG slot during this off-season.
4: A pass rushing 3-technique defensive tackle. You need to be able to pass rush a quarterback – at any level – up the middle. They had some success with Deaderick in the second half of the season, but they need a stronger presence in my opinion. Too much of the second half were the ends rushing up-field, Flacco stepping up in the pocket and completing a ball 15 yards up the field.
5: Find a better medical staff. For two straight years your best offensive weapon has been out of the preseason at the worst times. He has also come back only to be hurt kind of quickly after, raising concerns he may have been brought back too quickly.