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Patriots news from around the web

There hasn’t been any leaked news as of yet on the progress of the negotiations with Vince Wilfork or any of the other impending free agents from the Patriots, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any Patriots news. From the always-debatable rankings of teams and players to possible free agent pick-ups, the Pats are never out of the news. Here are some interesting bites from around the internet on the Patriots:

Rankings

  • Jason La Canfora from NFL.com has ranked all 32 NFL teams to start off 2010, and he has the Patriots ranked #11. Look for the Patriots to win another division title and quarterback Tom Brady to put up bigger numbers, but that defense has issues.
  • Jason Whitlock from FOX Sports has an interesting piece where he ranks the 10 Greatest QBs of All-Time. Within the article, he also goes after the Peyton Manning excuse-makers, which is always fun for a Pats fan to read as most of us say the same things all the time. Tom Brady is the highest-ranked active QB on the list at #6 (Peyton is #8). Here’s what Whitlock says about Brady: Every name listed above his quarterbacked at least one losing team. Brady has never led a loser. Never. To me, he epitomizes winning at the QB position, even more than Montana. Joe had Jerry Rice for two of his four Super Bowl victories. Brady won three Super Bowls with Troy Brown. Brady is a combination old-school, new-school quarterback.

Free Agency and the Offseason

  • FOX Sports lists the team needs and offseason strategy for the Patriots, as well as the other AFC East teams. It lists the top 3 team needs as defensive end/outside linebacker, wide receiver, and inside linebacker. I do agree with the article when it states that Gary Guyton was miscast as an ILB, probably out of necessity and lack of depth. I think Guyton would make a much better OLB and may actually help improve the pass rush with his speed.
  • Jim Trotter from SI.com writes about each NFL team’s “offseason burning questions” and wonders if the Patriots’ defensive woes will improve with Bill Belichick calling the plays. Now, Belichick has not said that he would be calling the plays, only that he would be taking a larger role with the defense. Time will tell if he actually calls plays. Trotter also states that the defensive problems run deeper than simply getting one player, like Julius Peppers. He finishes with stating that the Pats need to get a running back, and that their lack of Super Bowls are due to a lack of talent at RB. I don’t know if a lack of talent at RB caused them to lose to the Giants, though establishing a ground game may have backed off the pass rush that hampered Tom Brady for most of the game. Laurence Maroney is obviously not the answer and there’s not much behind (in front of) him.
  • Peter King from SI.com in his Monday Morning Quarterback column wonders if the Patriots will go after Green Bay defensive end/outside linebacker pass rushing specialist Aaron Kampman. It’s an interesting though and he would certainly be cheaper than Julius Peppers and, unlike Peppers, Kampman already has some experience playing OLB in the 3-4 defense. King also has Patriots cornerback Leigh Bodden as his number 5 free agent likely to get a lot of interest this offseason. If Bodden does not stay in New England, the Patriots are going to again have a big hole at CB. Bodden was a solid starter and the Pats’ best CB last season. With Darius Butler on the rise and likely to win one starting job, a Bodden-less Patriots would have a big hole on the other side.
  • Back to Julius Peppers, bleacherreport.com has the Patriots listed as a possible landing spot for the DE/OLB. I personally don’t think he’s worth the huge contract that he wants. If he comes down in asking price then he’ll be just what the doctor ordered, providing Belichick can coach him into not taking plays/games off.
  • Last one on Julius Peppers. The writers from Patriots Football Weekly debate whether the Patriots should sign Vince Wilfork or Julius Peppers to a long term contract. It is clear that they can’t do both. My vote goes the Wilfork. They need him to stop the run and collapse the middle of the opposing team’s offensive line. Without Wilfork eating up blockers, whoever is brought in to rush the passer will likely get double-teamed and rendered virtually useless. Big Vince makes the entire front seven better and is absolutely key to making the 3-4 work.
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