The Haphazard Blog

2010 Patriots Season Is Coming Up

by on September 12, 2010 8:02 AM, under Football, Patriots, Sports

The 2010 New England Patriots season is kicking off today. Predictions are fairly wide for them this season. Records from 8-8 to 12-4. Missing the playoffs, wild card or division winners. I didn’t see any predictions of them winning the Super Bowl or even making it there. It seems like the Patriots like it this way. I wonder if there are people in the locker room who can really pull off the “nobody believes in us/no respect” card as well as they did a few years ago.

Getting down to actual football, I think the offense will be better this year. Brady looks like he is standing tall in the pocket to start this season. There’s a lot of hope in the revamped tight end group (fans might remember Chris Baker had a good pre-season last year and didn’t do much in the regular season) and they looked the part so far. Is the pass catching tight end finally back in New England? They are pinning their 3rd/4th WR hopes on Brandon Tate.

There still isn’t a lead running back, so the hope is Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor stay healthy (not likely). Laurence Maroney simply han’t lived up to his draft position. Watching All-Access for this week, they had some clips of Bill Belichick teaching Chris Taylor techniques for running. He was saying he was making good decisions but was revealing the too early. He needed to make his move later to ensure the blocks hold up. By revealing his move early, the defenders are able to adjust. Made me wonder if that’s what Maroney does and why it seems like the defenders get to him quickly. I always thought it was the line and he had no chance (when he wasn’t dancing).

This leads to the offensive line. It was exposed in the worst possible manner in Super Bowl XLII. Now the best lineman (Logan Mankins) is staying away in a contract dispute. Dan Koppen has reportedly gotten stronger. We will have to see how they play in the regular season with a player who played a backup role in the past.

The defense is much more of a mystery this year. I’m encouraged that they are finally going with youth and a trial-by-fire (they didn’t have much of a choice with the injuries mounting during traing camp and pre-season). There are big question marks on the defensive ends. The Patriots were run all over by the Ravens to end the season and they are short another top lineman this year. How will the new defensive ends hold up?

There are also questions at outside linebacker. They have to have guys who can stand up to the run and keep the running backs from getting around the corner. That was another issue last year and a guy who was a backup 4 hears ago is starting along side a career special teamer. We have yet to see the rookie Jermaine Cunningham take a snap. A lot of hope is falling to him.

The secondary is the youngest in the league. This will be a true on the job learning for 3 of the 4 guys back there. It worked way back in 2003 for Eufene Wilson, but he had Rodney Harrison and Ty Law as teammates. I could see a lot of Cover-2 played while the corner backs get their legs under them playing man-to-man and bump-and-run coverage.

Finally, special teams should be improved in the kicking game this year.

I think if everything goes to plan, the Patriots will struggle to start the season, but won’t look like they don’t belong. They’ll get better and play their best football from Thanksgiving into the play-offs. The difference between this team and the 2009 team will be there is a higher ceiling for improvement, they are just starting at a lower level. It should make for exciting games this year, but a reduced level of frustration as the team improves. The second half/fourth quarter collapses should be a thing of the past.

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