Nov 18, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (37) celebrates with strong safety Tavon Wilson (27) after Wilson made an interception during the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 59-24. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The last few years for the Patriots have all ended in heartbreak. When we all try and find who to blame for all the postseason losses, the secondary always comes up first. In 2010 after the divisional round loss to the Jets we were saying this, after last years Super Bowl loss to the Giants we were saying this, and now after the loss to the Ravens we are saying it. In the Ravens game you can say all you want about how the offense did not produce in the red zone, but if Rob Gronkowksi had been playing I am willing to bet the Pats would have scored some touchdowns. However, the New England secondary is really the thing we need to be focusing on.
The first thing is the Pats need to resign Aqib Talib. When he was on the field they had a guy that they could put out on an island and trust him to take that guy out of the game. If they let Talib walk, then who do they have to do that? Devin McCourty will most likely take his place and I just do not like McCourty at cornerback, he is a much better safety than cornerback. With Talib the Pats can now do some different things with their coverage’s and blitz packages to make more plays.
The second thing they need to do this offseason is acquire an aggressive corner in either the draft or in Free Agency. One thing we have seen from Patriot DB’s is that they do not have very good ball skills and are very conservative when playing the position. The Patriots are changing that in a way with Talib and Dennard, but they really need someone else to help them out. If the Pats go out and get an aggressive corner like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to go with Talib and Dennard, then they have a very good trio of corners. In my opinion that would turn the Pats secondary into a strength for them, teams would have a very difficult time moving the ball against them.
The last thing they should do is just keep developing Alfonzo Dennard. I really like this kid out of Nebraska. He dropped to a seventh round pick because of some issues he had off the field going into the NFL draft. Analysts had him at a second round talent however and I think the Patriots got the steal of the draft by nabbing him in the seventh round. He is very tough and aggressive with receivers and actually has very good technique. In terms of pure coverage talent, I think he is the best the Pats have got. The knock against him however is that he is very short. Standing at only 5’9 he has a tough time with bigger receivers as they can just jump over him and make the play. He somehow makes up for it with his toughness and aggressiveness and he really makes opposing receivers work for whatever they get. If the Patriots continue to develop him, then he can turn into one of the elite corners in the NFL.
For the Patriots, the offense is elite and ready to roll, they need to do a few things here and there but for the most part it is fine. The front seven is actually very good for the Pats, as they finished 9th in the league against the run and are a big and physical group. The secondary is the issue and if they do these three things to help it, I believe that they will be ready to make an impact in the 2013 season.