Sunday, March 04, 2007

Pats Offseason Through a Belichickean Lens

Today's Boston Sunday Globe has a lengthy feature-cum-interview of Bill Belichick that gives some rare insight into the Patriots' coach and savant. The piece gives a little bit of insight to everything from the Coach's allegeedly boorish behavior at times in 2006-2007 to his tenure with the Browns, some perspective on his personal life (about as much as outsiders are likely to get from this notoriously private man, anyway), and the relatively disappointing season just passed. In the words of former Globe sportswriter Michael Holley, "I don't think people would say Bill Belichick is a great man. He's a great coach. He's an interesting man."

In a related note, the Patriots offseason has started about as well as any fan could reasonably hope. In the past couple of days New England has come to an agreement with former Ravens linebacker Adalius Thomas, one of the gems in this year's free agent group. Ron Borges provides a cautionary note. The Pats have also come to agreements with Kyle Brady and Sammy Morris). Here is hoping that a premiere wide receiver and a cover corner follow. Put me on record as believing that the Pats' system would be able to handle Randy Moss but I also would be pleased to see a Joe Horn, Darrell Jackson or Dante Stallworth on board as well.

One of the problams that I thought the Pats had all last year was that despite a clear lack of depth in some areas the team remained well under the salary cap. This offseason the Patriots appear set to rectify that oversight. There is lots of time yet to go and a little something known as the draft to endure, but so far so good this offseason. That hideous AFC Championship game loss will stick in a lot of craws over the course of the next ten months, which is as it should be. Anyone who counts New England out will do so at their peril. Which is not to say that lots of the experts won't be too clever by half and go out in the preseason and talk about the Pats' era being done and decide that a Bills-Cardinals Super Bowl is in the offing.

Update: By the way, this marks my 1000th post at dcat. I have no idea what that means. It is probably a testament to my opinionated nature, or to having too much free time, or to wanting to avoid working, or to an overdeveloped sense of my own importance, or maybe, just maybe, to the fact that when you separate the faint signal from the considerable noise, I occasionally have something to say that might be worth someone's while. Probably a combination of these factors. here's to the next thousand posts and to thjose of you who have been here from just about the beginning.


GoodLiberal said...

First of all, congrats on your 1000th post! Here's to the next 1000!

As for the Pats- I would be much happier with a Moss than with a Stallworth, Horn etc, as every free agent WR, other than Moss, is a huge injury risk. I would prefer if we added through the draft with a Bowe or a Meacham or something. I also like the Cal corner in the first round, and possibly Brown's Zak DeOssie in one of the later rounds to get younger at Linebacker. Does Sammy Morris fill that need now for someone who can spell Maroney from time to time? What other holes do we have to fill? A young safety in case Harrison gets hurt again mabe? We're looking good right now, although its hard not to sound like a Redskins fan at this time of year!

dcat said...

GoodLib --
Thanks for the kudos. Enough guys like you continue to read and there will be another thousand posts, I'm sure.
My view on the wide receiver situation is that after last year I would rather have too many than too few, especially since all of those guys have something that might make them miss games. Better too deep, if such a thing is even possible, than relying on other teams' waiver wire midseason.
The Pats always claim to go with best player available rather than need in the draft, but my bet is that they will find the best player available and he will happen to fill needs like linebacker, defensive back, and receiver if we don't sign another big name.
I think Morris will be a good backup, especially if Faulk continues as a versatile third down, all purpose sort of back. he appears to have found a niche there. We'll see if it maintains. But I think Maroney is ready to handle a big load --and of course the Pats need to determine that he can.
I'd say the big needs are the ones that have been achilles heels for a while now. Every year we seem to be depleted in the defensive backfield, both in terms of cover corners and among the safeties. I love Troy Brown, but the idea that we seem to keep going back to him is disquieting. Belichick loves depth at the linebacker position where, Thomas notwithstanding, we can use another good young player or two. I'm sure we'll draft at least one offensive lineman as well.
Suffice it to say, I like this offseason a lot already even if all we do from here is the draft, and I doubt that they will suddenly stand pat.