Shocking, right? A Patriots article that doesn't have anything to do with deflated footballs or misinformation by haters of success. Wow.
Nevertheless, here we are. While the Patriots may have some questions at quarterback for the first couple weeks in the season, it looks as if Bill Belichik has his team assembled to defend their world championship title. Many thought they would try to replace Revis, but it looks like they will go into the season with a lackluster secondary to say the least.
However, the Patriots Front 7 is where this team is going to make their money and cause disruption. With the duo of Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones rushing the quarterback, Jabaal Sheard playing a hybrid of defensive end and outside linebacker, and Malcom Brown manning the interior defensive line, it does not look like opposing backs are going to be running all around the field like they were previously.
Aren't we forgetting someone? Oh, thats right. Patriot's 2014 1st Round Draft Pick Dominique Easley is looking to have a breakout Sophomore season after cutting his promising rookie season short with a season-ending injury. A combo interior line featuring Brown and Easley, while being backed up by Sealver Siliga and Alan Branch, could be devastating for opposing rushing attacks and quarterbacks alike.
The real strength of this team, as of right now, is their linebacker core. With the previously mentioned Jabaal Sheard able to play outside linebacker, the Patriots will also have a healthy Jerod Mayo return. If you team Mayo up with Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower, you have arguably the best linebacking core in the NFL. People fail to realize that Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower were playing at an All-Pro level at the end of last season, with the later being seriously injured for most of the playoffs. The possibilities for those two are endless, while expectations for Mayo should be low. However, if he is able to play the entire season, he could surprise.
With a solid linebacker core and consistent pressure on the quarterback, the Patriots can easily breeze through the AFC East and make it to the AFC Championship Game. If Tom Brady and company are lucky enough to play Andrew Luck and the Colts, Jim Irsay better be ready to pay for Luck's therapy sessions. The Patriots have a legitimate shot to go back-to-back and be the first team since, well, themselves in 2003-2004 to defend their world championship title.
One for the middle finger, Brady.
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS