Just a quick overview of a busy Tuesday for the Patriots team that had a bye week on Sunday. ( I refuse to admit that we lost against the Cardinals with Kevin Kolb behind center)
1. Deion Branch has reached an agreement to come back to the Patriots. Most saw this coming from a mile away. And now with Hernandez going down, we needed someone else who was familiar with our system. As a former Super Bowl MVP and one of Tom Brady’s favorite players to be around, this is a big move for the Pats that all fans should love. Branch had 702 yards last season and 5 Touchdowns. New England left his locker exactly the same as when he left, something they failed to do with the hopeful return of Brian Waters.
2. Kellen Winslow reached a deal with the Pats to help immediately in place or Hernandez. Winslow has caught for more than 1100 yards in a season with the Browns, and 4 other 700+ yard seasons with the Bucaneers/Browns.
3. The Pats released WR Greg Salas to make room for Branch on the roster. He played for McDaniels at St. Louis last season and quickly became one of there most reliable players. He has been hurt for a while but the Pats will not rule out bringing him back later in the season to keep him around our system. He is only 24 years old out of Hawaii and had 264 yards in only 6 games last season but he averaged 9.8 yards per catch.
More on this tomorrow!
The Patriots passing attack primarily was not an issue this year. As long as Tom Brady has the reigns of this Patriots offense the passing attack will never be the primary concern. At the same time it is also clear that the Patriots miss the deep threat they had back when Randy Moss would be consistently torching opposing safeties. I expect the Pats to address the receiver position through either free agency or the draft. The Pats will more than likely bring back Wes Welker, but after Welker there are no guarantees. Deion Branch is a free agent and I see that one as a 50/50 as to if he will return. Branch will not require too much of a salary so I would think it would be a good option. With the Patriots having the best possession receiver, and two of the best tight ends in football its hard to imagine it would require much more than a deep threat to bring this offense back to the way it was in past seasons. It’s always very hard to predict the Patriots offseason moves, but some of the options may include:
Randy Moss: This almost seems unrealistic, but we all know Moss loved being here and Belichick has no problem dealing with difficult personalities. Moss, 35, is still probably one of the best deep field threats in the game.
Reggie Wayne: I don’t exactly see this being the ideal fit in New England, but if the Pat’s lose Branch it is certainly a viable option as I see them being a similar type of receiver.
Brandon Lloyd: Lloyd is more of what the Patriots need. His big play ability will keep safeties back a few more yards, which could make the Patriots underneath passing game one of the best ever.
Robert Meachem: Possesses good speed and could be a good fit alongside Welker in this Patriots offense.
Ted Ginn: Certainly will not be the completion to the puzzle as a receiver but with Ginn’s versatility and elite speed he could be a great fit in New England.
Only four more days… damn the anticipation is killing me. Today we will take a lot at the Wide Receivers for both the Giants and the Patriots.
The Giants wide receivers have come alive this year in a way not to many expected. Victor Cruz, a Umass Amherst Alumni was one of the top receivers in the league this year and his stats certainly illustrate that. Having him next to Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham is quite the trio. Some receivers in the NFL only produce when paired up with a top-tier quarterback. This isn’t the case with these Giants receivers. These guys possess pure talent. Cruz is a deep touchdown waiting to happen and Hakeem Nicks is a matchup nightmare with his size and speed combination. Eli is a great quarterback, but it doesn’t hurt when you have the options he has. It is going to be quite the assignment for the Patriots secondary to even slow down this receiver core.
Overall Grade: A–
The Patriots receivers are certainly above average, but I feel as though they fall into the category noted above: Top tier quarterbacks can craft an average receiver to fall into the elite category. Wes Welker is obviously a stud in this offense, but is he as valuable talent wise in another offense? We all saw what Deion Branch did without Brady. As far as Ochocinco goes… well I have nothing to say about that. Yes the Patriots have an elite passing attack and that is undeniable, but a lot of their offense goes through their dominant tight ends and not as much through the receivers like most teams. The Patriots receivers get the job done, but talent wise they do not match up with the Giants.