Photo credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
The New England Patriots were the sure bet to repeat early on in the season. That was before the team suffered a list of injuries to some key players on their roster. Getting those players back will be huge for the Patriots efforts next season. Yet there is several other moves that have to be made if the Patriots want to get back to the Super Bowl. First and foremost they need to retain most of the players on their roster. Turnover can create inconsistency for a football team. While keeping a group together causes growth. If the Patriots do their best to keep all the unrestricted free agents from leaving Foxborough. Then add players through the draft and free agency they will have a legitimate shot of being back in the big game like they were last year. The team has already tried to cure one of their playoff problems by firing their offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo. The offensive line was clearly the problem in the Patriots loss to Denver and Belichick sent a message to his team that mediocrity is unacceptable. That position group (offensive line) will surely be addressed in the draft, free agency, or via trade this offseason. If the Patriots want to be great again they must give Tom Brady time to operate. They also have to establish a running game. Which was non existent against the Broncos defense. Maybe adding a marquee running back will be the answer for this team. After watching Legarrette Blount and Dion Lewis go down with injuries. The last thing the Patriots want to do is find themselves in a position like they did this year where Tom Brady finishes a playoff game as the leading the rusher for the team. Believe it or not New England is at its best when they are balanced. Something they were not in this postseason, which was big reason for their letdowns. The other thing the Patriots will have to do is get back to their two tight end sets. Using Gronk and Chandler works well for the Patriots offense. They could of kept Chandler or another tight end home to handle that Broncos pass rush as well. If this team can get back to doing the things that made them successful there is no doubt they can be back in the Super Bowl hunt. At the end of the day it will take calculated moves, something the Patriots are very familiar with.
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