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Sports

January 2, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

Time to build around Mayo, cut ties with Harrison, Bruschi, Seau

(Continued)

They already have three draft picks in the top 60, so Bill Belichick is in position to greatly impact the defense.

Also, they are in good shape with the salary cap, another big plus.

Now, it's up to the Patriots to make it happen.

Get rid of defensive old-timers

Mayo is merely the first step in the defensive overhaul. Remember, this is a football team that brought in the aged, Rosevelt Colvin (31) and Junior Seau (39), to aid the cause.

Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Adalius Thomas and Rodney Harrison are 35, 33, 31 and 36, respectively. All but Vrabel finished the year in street clothes.

Add in the fact that the secondary was regularly torched, allowing 27 TD passes (2nd worst in NFL) rate and 7.3 yards per attempt (8th worst). It's a group that needs help ... better help than Deltha O'Neal, Fernando Bryant, Tank Williams and the rest of cheap-money retreads Belichick and Scott Pioli brought in over the last 12 months.

The Pats need impact players.

Impact equals Mayo, Richard Seymour, Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork. It is not Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite. Both rookies, who saw serious time in the secondary, are nice looking complements. This defense lacked playmakers.

Those are typically found near the top of the first round, as Mayo, the 10th pick overall, was.

Shawn Crable and Vince Redd did some good things in the preseason. They show signs of fitting in. Brandon Meriweather has asserted himself as a legitimate NFL safety, and James Sanders might be a solid nickel or dime guy.

The time is now, though, to cut ties with Harrison, Bruschi and Seau.

The young guys need to grow and show they can get it done. Harrison is a potential Hall of Famer, a player who capped his career by anchoring a run to a Super Bowl title.

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