By: Andrew Oak
The Patriots signed Darrelle Revis, arguably the best cover corner in the league, and Super Bowl Champion Brandon Browner from Seattle to sure up a very fragile secondary. The Patriots secondary was one of the worst groups in the second half of the 2013 season. Also, the Patriots released oft-injured safety Adrian Wilson and then signed former Patriot Patrick Chung to add depth back into the safety position. Other players that have been signed are purely to help the team's depth, however knowing how the Patriots run their offseason workouts and preseason expectations, some of these veterans may not even see a snap in a New England uniform.
On the other side of the football, the Pats also added some weapons to Tom Brady's arsenal by re-signing WR Julian Edelman, signing WR Brandon LaFell and drafting RB James White from Wisconsin. The most surprising move of the draft though, was taking quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to have a safety net for when Tom Brady calls it quits or (god forbid) he has another season ending injury. The Patriots have lived with two QB's on the roster for quite some time but I believe the time to think about the future is right now. With Mallet and Garoppolo, I believe the Patriots QB depth will be okay with or without an injury to Brady. When you have about 4 or 5 legitimate running backs to help you pave the way for a couple of QB's without much professional experience, it will help ease off the pressure of the young Patriot QB's.
As most other organizations, you must plan for the present and the future and the Patriots have been one of the more notable franchises to continue their success even with considerable roster changes every year. Granted they have Brady and Belichick, the most ruthless QB-Coach combination that I have ever witnessed (And just because I'm from New England, doesn't mean I'm extremely pro Brady-Belichick. I have disagreed and criticized Patriots off seasons decisions and on field decisions more often than not. But in my lifetime, there have only been 2 QB-Coach combos that I have seen literally revolutionize the game, the other being Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy), so most of the time the roster changes have been more of a praise to Brady and Belichick for making their teammates better.
The new model of defense in the NFL is through a physical secondary and a great pass rush. As the Seattle Seahawks proved to us last year, a great defense almost always trumps a great offense. It certainly didn't help the Broncos that there first play from scrimmage was a safety, but that is clearly the factor of having a demoralizing defense that isn't afraid to hit and isn't afraid to take chances. The Seahawks led the NFL last year in defensive penalties and in retrospect, I'm sure that's okay. So to go along with New England signing the best cornerback on the market, they also spent their first round draft pick on a pass rushing DE in Dominique Easley. There isn't really too much more you could have asked for from New England this offseason. Now, will all the pieces fit together?
Darrelle Revis on a one year deal but that will perfectly be okay for both parties. Best case scenario is that Revis wins a championship and signs a multi-year deal. Worst case, the Patriots don't win and he parts ways to get more money from another team. I like the low risk, high reward outcome. The Patriots tend to do this with parting veterans instead of guys in their prime. Now that Revis and Browner join a secondary with McCourty, Arrington, Dennard, along with young guys like Tavon Wilson and Logan Ryan, the Patriots secondary should be a team strength this year. With Mayo and Wilfork returning from injury, all three lines of the New England defense should be primed for a breakout year pending they stay healthy.
With other AFC East teams ramping up their offensive deficiencies from last year, it was critical for the Patriots defense to be stronger than last year. Hopefully, that will be the case for a very crucial year for the New England Patriots.