January 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib against the Denver Broncos in the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots Roundtable 2/6/14

Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) drops back to pass in the second half against the Denver Broncos during the 2013 AFC championship playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) drops back to pass in the second half against the Denver Broncos during the 2013 AFC championship playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the second New England Patriots Roundtable of the offseason. Football has officially ended for everyone with the Seattle Seahawks taking care of the Denver Broncos rather easily 43-8 in a Super Bowl blowout. So to go along with some regular Patriots offseason questions, we’ll be answering some on the legacy of the two greatest quarterbacks of this generation. So please, enjoy!

Q. Among the New England Patriots free agents to be, who is the one player that absolutely must be resigned?

Cyrus: Talib. I initially thought Edelman was the guy, but if the Pats can re-sign Talib, and go get a guy like Emmanuel Sanders, then they will be in much better shape than if Edelman was brought back. I love Edelman, but the Pats need some explosive talent on that offense.

Adam: The one player that absolutely must be re-signed is corner Aqib Talib.  When he is healthy he completely changes the look and feel of the defense, virtually shutting down one player on the other team (i.e Jimmy Graham of New Orleans).  He is the big physical corner that the Patriots defense had been missing for years.

Andrew: Aqib Talib is, by far, the most vital free agent this offseason. Our secondary has been steadily improving, and Talib is the main reason why. He can completely take away the opposing team’s biggest threat, which allows our defense to do many things. A lockdown cornerback is so rare in the NFL that when you have one, you must do what is necessary to keep them. Julian Edelman has played great, but again, there are many free agent wide receivers every offseason. The same cannot be said about corners.

Matt: I think it’s a two person question. Would you prefer Aqib Talib or Julian Edelman? Personally, I think Talib is the more important player. Edelman was fantastic this year, but his production can for the most part be replaced with Danny Amendola. Talib isn’t as easy to replace, considering shut down corners don’t grow on trees.

Q. How will former Defensive Lineman coach Pepper Johnson fare in Buffalo as their Defensive Line Coach?

Cyrus: Buffalo has a talented defensive line, and I think Johnson will have a lot of success up there. Brady better watch out when they cross paths next season.

Adam: The advantage Pepper Johnson has is that the defense in Buffalo has some talent, particularly in the front seven.  While their top safety Jairus Byrd will likely be gone, the core of Marcel Dareus, Kiko Alonso, and Mario Williams remains.  Given his extensive experience working with the front seven, I think Johnson will get that defense going.

Andrew: Pepper Johnson will enjoy a talented pass rush that he has not seen in New England since the 2007 season with Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, and Jarvis Green. I would expect Mario Williams to have another strong season, and the Bills to once again be one of the better pass rushes in the NFL. The emergence of Kiko Alonso will give Pepper Johnson’s unit more flexibility.

Matt: When I saw this, I felt a bit nervous, and for good reason. Pepper is a very good coach, and the Buffalo defensive line is loaded with talent, including Mario Williams and Marcel Dareus. Brady better be watching his blindside closely.

Q. With Peyton Manning losing so badly on Sunday, how does that affect his all-time legacy?

Cyrus: If he had won that game, he would be in my top five, and maybe even top three. But because he lost, and played so bad, he won’t ever get near the top five again. He is the best regular season quarterback of all time, but he will always be remembered as a postseason choker.

Adam: I have to disagree with Tory Aikman’s assertion that the blowout loss has no effect on Manning’s legacy.  Though he made it to the Super Bowl, Manning did not play a good game (stats in that game are very deceiving) and once again failed in the biggest moment.  You can’t help but look at Manning as more of a Brett Favre, an all-time great who probably should have won more, than a Tom Brady or a Joe Montana.

Andrew: Peyton Manning will likely keep his title of “Best Regular Season Quarterback of All Time”. Most people will attempt to justify his legacy by throwing records and numbers at you, while true football fans will recognize that he does struggle in the post-season, and especially in the Super Bowl. In his three games combined, Manning has 3 touchdown passes and 6 turnovers. Peyton has only ONE Super Bowl victory,and that came against the almighty Rex Grossman.

Matt: Peyton is still in my top three, but I hope this beatdown has put a damper on talks to anoint him the greatest of all-time. People are quick to point of Brady’s two losses, but at the very least he’s left both games with a lead. Manning his last two Super Bowls hasn’t really been very close at all, not to mention he got lucky in the first one having to face “quarterback” Rex Grossman.

Q. After this past Super Bowl, where would you say Tom Brady ranks in the all-time quarterback debate?

Cyrus: Until Brady gets a fourth ring, he is still second behind Montana. Even if the past two Super Bowl losses weren’t entirely his fault, he did lose, and that is something Montana will always have over him.
Adam: I think Brady remains where he was before the Super Bowl, top 3 with Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas.  The performance of Manning has no reflection on Brady and his accomplishments unless you are strictly comparing the two.
Andrew: I think it is too early to properly rank Tom Brady on the all-time list, because he intends to play several more seasons. If I were forced to give an answer, I would have him at a tie with Joe Montana for the greatest ever. One more Super Bowl would leave Brady alone at the head of the table.
Matt: I think this past Super Bowl somewhat helps his overall legacy, put I’d still put him at number behind Joe Montana. Until Brady wins one more Super Bowl, and equals Montana, he’ll be behind him in my books.

 Q. Where does this past NFL season rank in terms of Bill Belichick’s greatest coaching jobs?

Cyrus: Up there with 2008 and 2001. They were obliterated by injuries, but somehow they got back to the AFC Championship game. Brady deserves a lot of credit, but so does Belichick. He is one of the greatest coaches of all time, and he showed why this year.
Adam: This season ranks amongst the best of Belichick’s coaching performances, if only because his performance as GM made it necessary.  Belichick was able to take a hobbled team with a mediocre when healthy defense and bring them to the AFC championship game, a very impressive feat.  More than that, the third youngest team in the league was able to battle and win so many close games with situational football.

Andrew: It’s tough to give an accurate assessment of Belichick’s work this past season. Part of me says it was one of his best jobs ever, considering the amount of injuries and turnover of players on the offensive side of the ball. But then again, he has won three Super Bowls and made it to five. So I would rank it fourth best, behind the three Super Bowl wins.

Matt: I have to say that this was his best one, even above 2008 when Brady went down. So many changes on offense, so many injuries on defense and the team as a whole, yet they won 12 games in the regular season, and lost in the AFC Championship Game. Belichick did some special things coaching this year.

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