Patriots Offensive Changes

Posted: March 27, 2012 by Shawn in NFL, Sports

Last season it was no secret that the New England Patriots were limited when it came to passing the ball downfield out side of the numbers. There were a few reasons why they had trouble doing this. The first was that former all-pro receiver Chad Ochocinco could not grasp the Patriots’ complex offense so he spent most of the season on the bench. Also Deion Branch’s age caught up with him last year and he no longer had the burst in his step that he had in years past. The offense was however extremely successful over the middle of the field with Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Even with this extreme handicap, quarterback Tom Brady was still able to pass for the second most passing yards all time and lead the team to the Superbowl.

It seems like head-coach Bill Belichick has learned his lesson from last year. Just in the few weeks of free-angency the Patriots have already added three prominent wideout threats.

Anthony Gonzalez who is a former first round draft pick on the Indianapolis Colts has shown great potential when he has been able to get on the field, he has just been plagued with injuries up to this point in his NFL career. He should have not trouble grasping the offense because the Colt’s no-huddle or hurry-up offense is very similar to what the Patriots like to do.

Donté Stallworth who was previously with the Pats in the 2007 season was somewhat of a failed experiment, but it is not all his fault, because that season it was hard for any receiver to get the ball if his name wasn’t Wes Welker or Randy Moss. Stallworth should give the Patriots the speed they need on the outside.

The final addition and most significant addition (so far) New England has made in terms of wide-recievers is the addition of Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd who arguably has the best hands in the NFL took less money to come play with the Patriots so he could get reconnected with his former head coach Josh McDaniels (now the Pats offensive coordinator). Lloyd excelled in McDaniels’ offense in Denver and in St. Louis, so he should have very few adjustments to make in New England.

All of these pieces should give Tom Brady all the ammunition he needs to have another MVP caliber season. It should be noted that the Patriots plan to hang on to Ochocinco and they restructured his deal earlier this week to clear up salary-cap space. They also resign Deion Branch to a one year deal. Bill Bilichick mentioned today (March 27) that there might be another wide-reciver added by the time camp started. This made the Mike Wallace rumors start back up, however although the Patriots have two first round picks the chance of them giving one up to the Steelers and then paying Wallace top-dollar is unlikely.

One key loss the Patriots offense might encounter is if left-tackle Matt Light decides to retire like he has hinted. Second year man Nate Solder will likely take his place. Solder was up and down his rookie season and had a lot of holding penalties called against him.

One thing is for sure, you never know what is going to happen when it comes to the New England Patriots.

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