Dec 9 2012, Indianapolis, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Dwight Freeney (93) waits to be introduced during player introductions before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
When addressing the Patriots needs going into the 2013 season you can talk about a number of things. Obviously they have the WR issue as we don’t know if Welker or Lloyd will be back with the team. The secondary is another obvious issue that has been an issue for the past few years, and the Patriots will definitely need to address that at some point. One thing that I feel may be slipping under the radar a bit is the lack of consistent pass rush generated by the Pats in 2012. Now, I think that most of this blame should be put on the lack of depth at defensive tackle. Vince Wilfork is a flat out monster, but he cannot do it alone. The Patriots will need to go out and get somebody to help him on the inside. With that being said, I think the Patriots could use a guy like Dwight Freeney on the edge. I know that Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich played extremely well last year, but if the Pats were able to add Freeney, then that front seven instantly gets a lot better and in turn makes the whole defense a lot better.
The Patriots have a good set of players on the front four, that have the potential of being a great pass rushing unit in the future. Dwight Freeney could help these young guys learn the ways of pass rushing and help push along their development. I think he could possibly have a bigger impact doing this, than actually being on the football field. Chandler Jones is a young guy, and has an enormous amount of talent. With a guy like Freeney there to help him early in his career, I think the sky would be the limit for Jones.
Football experts always say that a good pass rush always makes up for a bad secondary, and a bad pass rush makes a good secondary look bad. There are perfect examples over the last few years and you have to look no further than the 2011 Super Bowl champions. The New York Giants secondary that year was really not that good. In that Super Bowl game the Pats had a lot of mismatches with their weapons on offense. However the Giants had a great pass rush that totally disrupted the Patriots offense and made their secondary look good. An example for a bad pass rush making a good secondary look bad is the 2011 Jets. They had a very talented secondary that included a healthy Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie at the two corner positions. But, they had absolutely no pass rush and because of that teams could shred that defense.
If Freeney were to come to the Pats I think it would be on a decently cheap deal, and he would not be a three down player. Jones and Ninkovich have proven themselves to be solid every down guys and because of their age I think they would get the nod over Freeney. However Freeney could come in on passing downs and that would create some scary problems for opposing teams. With Freeney coming off of the edge, and Jones and Ninkovich somewhere elso on the line, then offensive lines would have a lot of trouble containing that.
Despite being 33 years of age I think that Freeney can still wreck havoc for an offense. He still has his vaunted spin move, and has kept himself in great shape as we have seen he still has a great burst off of the line. He has also put on more weight later in his career which allows him to counter some offensive lineman that can deal with his speed and quickness. Freeney is one of the best pass rushers of this decade and one of the best of all time. I think that Freeney still has a few good years left in him and the Pats should definitely make a run at him.