What are your thoughts on this O-Line situation for next year. With how much Trent Brown talks about loving NE, and how well he’s played while healthy. Ideally sign him to a team friendly deal. Resign Ted Karras for what seems to be great stability at guard (I have very little idea of what his value in the market this offseason would be, so that might be an issue). But then trade Isiah Wynn. His play by him was mostly inconsistent for the rough 10 million he is owed for next year. I would then have the starting line up as Brown, Karras, Andrews, Mason, Onwenu. thoughts? –ryan dart
I don’t hate it but I think even given the inconsistency of Wynn it’s more risky to move on from him than to just let him play out his last year, but still acknowledging that there are big questions at left tackle beyond 2022. As I answered earlier, I’m all for bringing back Brown and Karras, and where Onwenu is destined to land is a bigger question now than it was last season. Add in some uncertainty with Shaq Mason’s cap hit and there could be some juggling going on, but I’ll definitely be paying close attention to the draft’s tackle class. I don’t think it’s crazy to imagine the same o-line returning this fall. – Mike Dussault
Hey fellas, lifetime Pats fan and huge fan of everything you guys do. Looking at the defense this season and seeing the strengths and weaknesses of the front 7 players I don’t understand why a change in scheme is not a topic of discussion… Do you have any similar thoughts or ideas for ways to become more aggressive and versatile with the current roster? It just seems to me that there is too much talent at too many positions already to be embarrassed by the Bills offense that beat them with speed, matchup problems (especially when Allen was running around them or through them), and handling the line of scrimmage before getting almost zero resistance from the outmatched LB group who were moving backwards all game. –Michael Nicholas
Thanks Michael, who laid out an extensive plan that would’ve put me well over my word count limit, but I think his thoughts are more prevalent than he realizes. I guess I’m just not too worried about it yet because I believe the age of the defensive players is going to force the team to make adjustments of some sort. There are no linebackers like Hightower, Collins and Van Noy on the roster… big, versatile players who can move from the edge to the inside and play a variety of roles. They haven’t drafted or developed any potential replacements, so they’ll either be forced to bring the same vets back again (assuming they want to come back) even though they’ve faded down the stretch in the two of the last three seasons that they were all in New England, turn things over to unproven players like Anfernee Jennings, Josh Uche and Chase Winovich, or go out and try to find players that can bridge the past with the future, with those most likely to come via draft.
Ultimately, I don’t see the scheme as the biggest issue. They threw every kind of call at Josh Allen, as did the Chiefs, and not much worked. To me, it’s about players winning their matchups like Barmore and Matthew Judon were doing earlier in the season. They need those guys to finish the season at their best, with hopefully a couple more players around them that can do the same. – Mike Dussault
It seems like a HUGE talent gap between the Pats and the top teams in the AFC. How many years of Pats drafting stellar while competition faltering would take to bridge this gap? Is that even a realistic expectation? –Ken K.
Maybe I’m crazy but I looked at these games this weekend and wasn’t left feeling like the Patriots are that far off. It’s the same as it ever was, when you have a good quarterback and two elite weapons you’re in the mix. Now the Patriots are still two elite weapons away to be sure, but the foundation would seem in place to foster those kind of additions. And really, just throw one explosive threat on this passing offense and who knows how much better the other pieces look as well. To me, the Divisional Round proved you need at least a couple stars, but more importantly, you need your stars to execute in the key situations. So now, I’m thinking quality not quantity will raise the Patriots offense to that level. – Mike Dussault
How the heck do we ever keep up with the type of speed we saw on display last night in the AFC?! I was entertained and then thought… we are so far away from being close to this. Ugh. [email protected]
It does make you realize that when offenses are playing well even the best defenses will struggle to keep up. Had the Chiefs or Bills simply been shut down I would probably be more depressed than I was after watching the Patriots fail to force a punt last weekend. Yes, speed kills and the Patriots absolutely need that element that every playoff team still alive has, but I feel more clarity now, especially when it comes to winning the battle up front. My belief in the importance of the front seven has been reinforced and I think that’s the best route forward against the offenses who are going to break 20 points in their sleep. – Mike Dussault
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism