Earlier tonight on NFL Network’s flagship program Total Access, Rich Eisen, Michael Lombardi, Jon Jansen, and Warren Sapp discussed the state of the Patriots franchise. They started the discussion talking about Tom Brady and his incredible year, being unanimously selected as the league’s MVP. Lombardi remarked that Brady, “..shows no signs of slowing down.” The first thing that came to mind was how on last year’s “State of the Franchise” segment, Lombardi remarked on how the Pats needed to develop a QB of the future, It’s amazing how a year can change opinions on players and teams throughout the NFL. You can view the entire “State of the Franchise” segment that aired earlier tonight by clicking here. Below is a summary of some of the more noteworthy topics the analysts touched on.
- While discussing Brady, Jansen remarked on how Brady’s style of play lends itself to a long career. Brady has great pocket presence and is able to slide around and get the ball out of his hands before taking a hit, which reduces the wear and tear on his body.
- Lombardi and Jansen agreed that an outside receiver to stretch the field is a major need on the team. In referencing comments made today by Randy Moss on his desire to return to New England, Lombardi feels that the Pats could very well bring Moss back if they do not draft a WR.
- Both analysts also agree that an outside pass rusher is a major need. Lombardi thinks that this could be a year that the Patriots move up in the draft, and if they do, he feels that it would be for a blue chip pass rusher that won’t last to the Patriots’ pick at 17th overall.
- Jon Jansen thinks that Jerod Mayo needs to become the “Bruschi” of the defense. He feels that Mayo needs to step up and become more of a leader on that side of the ball, and he should lean on Brady for help in becoming a leader.
- Warren Sapp had a very interesting piece of this segment. He reviewed some film on the strength of the defensive line, the strength of the middle of the defense (linebackers), and the strength of the back end of the defense (secondary). His contention was that the Patriots have core players at each level of the defense to build on. Vince Wilfork anchors the defensive line, Jerod Mayo patrols the mid-level of the field, and Devin McCourty, last season’s Pro Bowl rookie, is the new anchor of the secondary. Sapp thinks that with those three players, the Pats have the foundation of a “championship” defense.