The defense was rated No. 2 in yards allowed per game last year.
Why waste all this on Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman, et al.?
Now, Minnesota was the team that was laughed at for giving away the bank for Herschel back in the day. Has that franchise recovered? It’s worth a phone call to find out, if and only if you believe that Ryan Mallett, now 25 and headed to his fourth pro season, is ready.
2. Keep Big Vince
The rumors and grumbling sputtered out of Patriot Place last week. Vince Wilfork, coming off an awful Achilles’ injury, will cost $11.5 million (cap) dollars in 2014. Up the ante in real dollars for a Wilfork extension and massage that number down.
Will he recover fully? At 350-plus pounds, can his aging legs (he turns 33 in November) still get the job done?
I say yes. But you have to help Wilfork along. Wilfork’s one “blockbuster” deal was five years for $40 million.
That was fair to him and the team. Be fair again, and extend him for two more years at $5 million apiece, knocking that 2014 cap figure down in the process.
Why? We’ll show you in step three.
3. Admit defensive philosophy stinks
Coach, you’re not a 4-3 guy, and the 4-3 your team employs remains soft, static and unathletic. Time to allow your thoroughbreds to be thoroughbreds. This timid, 4-3 read-and-react is turning playmakers into counter-punchers.
When was Belichick’s defense best here? The Super Bowl years of 2001-04. And why was it so good? Not only was this group stout at the line of scrimmage, it attacked the opposing quarterback.
Wilfork should play a huge part in this new 3-4 look, but not on the nose. Your best lineman has to play the right end spot, like Richard Seymour did from 2001-08. It’s not a numbers position. It’s a position that requires you dominate the point of attack. Dominate this spot, and you allow one of your top athletes — at outside linebacker — to roam free and hit it.