EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

July 25, 2013

Bigger and badder ... but will Pats be better?

But question remains, 'Will 2013 Patriots actually be better?'

It has been theorized on these pages more than once this New England Patriots offseason that Bill Belichick will endeavor this season to harken back to his much more balanced, bigger, stronger, more physical past.

Aaron Hernandez’ off-field issues and subsequent release from the team have only hastened that transition, which began with the departure of Wes Welker to Denver and continued with bigger bodies added to the mix.

As camp begins this week, building a receiver corps from scratch for Tom Brady may still be priority one, but the likes of Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and maybe even LaGarrette Blount — the running game – grabs much more of the spotlight than we’ve seen here since possibly 2005.

Out of necessity, the New England Patriots will again strive for balance. Clearly, the numbers dictate it when it comes to the playoffs.

Balanced Patriots teams ripped off a 10-1 playoff mark through 2005 with three Super Bowl wins. Pass-happy Pats teams from 2006 on have gone 7-6 in the postseason with no titles.

Hernandez or not, this team is poised for an attitude adjustment.

WHAT’S BRADY GOT LEFT?

Turning 36 next week, Tom Brady remains at the top of the NFL quarterback heap, reliable, dangerous and efficient.

A wide receiver group of Danny Amendola, Michael Jenkins, rookie top pick Aaron Dobson and host of longshots assures that Brady’s numbers will tumble this season. Of course, Rob Gronkowski’s health issues may add to the problem, making the recovery and addition of Jake Ballard at the tight end a huge acquisition.

The Brady window remains open, but for how long? This has to be a letdown from the likes of Welker and Randy Moss or even the past seasons with Welker and the two tight end sensations (Gronk and Hernandez).

Could this season mark the point at which the ultimate competitor in Brady begins to wind down?

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons Too Hot or Too Cold: Brewers and Rangers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Oakland Raiders NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Houston Texans NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Jacksonville Jaguars Olympic Great Michael Phelps Ending Retirement Draft Preview: Chris Davis Draft Preview: Jay Prosch Watson: 'I'm always going to cry' Is the use of pine tar considered cheating? Draft Preview: Jake Matthews Draft Preview: L'Damian Washington Calipari's Next Kittens
Boston Sports
NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday McAdam: MLB replay system already affecting Sox Running Strong: Marathon Sports Manager, Shane O'Hara reflects back on Marathon bombings Merloni: An imperfect game we're trying to make perfect Felger sounds of on the MLB replay system McAdam: Pedroia D.L. stint 'not hard to imagine' NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons Too Hot or Too Cold: Brewers and Rangers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Oakland Raiders NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Houston Texans NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Jacksonville Jaguars Olympic Great Michael Phelps Ending Retirement Draft Preview: Chris Davis Draft Preview: Jay Prosch