FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Bill Belichick should accept a appealing acceptable feel for his aggregation at this point. Seven amateur in, with a Monday night d with the Bills on tap at New Era Field, he knows what the Patriots are and what ability accomplish them better.
Beyond adorning the akin of achievement and eliminating all the accidental mistakes, the needs should be appealing obvious.
With the barter borderline fast aing (Tuesday), and a flurry of deals already made, Belichick will adjudge which of those needs are the best acute and if there’s a accessible band-aid via barter or elsewhere.
Of course, he could accomplish the big burst and go afterwards Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson, but that now appears off the table with Peterson sending out a account adage he wants to abide with the Cards.
Given their abridgement of cap space, the Patriots are a bit limited. What are the team’s primary needs?
Let’s attending at their top priorities, and who ability be available.
1. Linebacker: No abruptness here. The botheration breadth is absolutely the aforementioned as it was afore the season.
They still badly charge a advantage linebacker. They abide to get torched by backs communicable assurance out of the backfield. The aftermost three games? Backs accept bent 23 assurance for 237 yards with two TDs. But it doesn’t stop there. Let’s move to bound ends. The aftermost three games? Bound ends accept bent 26 passes for 336 yards, 3 TDs. So, they’re accepting lit up by accelerated backs and bound ends. They charge a linebacker who can move bigger than the accepted centralized group.
Possible solutions? Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports appear the Cardinals would be accessible to trading Haason Re. He’s a aloft first-round aces who’s athletic. Jalen Reeves-Maybin hasn’t been arena a ton for Matt Patricia in Detroit. He’s a appropriate teams amateur but able-bodied with upside in coverage. Shane Ray is addition possibility. He’s in the final year of his amateur accord with Denver.
2. Bound end: They got by afterwards Rob Gronkowski in Chicago, application aloof one bound end. Dwayne Allen, the alone one on the agenda not on the abrasion report, continues to be a blocking-only adaptation of a bound end. Jacob Hollister can’t break advantageous abundant to get on the field. Can the Patriots calculation on him, or Gronk blockage advantageous the blow of the way? He didn’t comedy adjoin the Bears because of aback spasms. Given his history, it’ll consistently be a concern.
Let’s aloof say they accept no reasonable facsimile of Gronkowski accessible should they lose him for any aeon of time. Who’s out there who can at atomic catch? Check the blaze auction in Oakland. If Jared Cook is on Jon Gruden’s account of players to purge, it wouldn’t aching the Patriots to call.
3. Safety: Maybe that advantage amateur bare aloft arrives in the anatomy of a amalgam safety. The Patriots do accept their big three, with Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung. McCourty and Harmon accept had some asperous amateur of late. Adding a fourth assurance for abyss wouldn’t hurt, abnormally if he’s in that amalgam mold. Deone Bucannon of the Cardinals fits that profile. It’s been appear the Cardinals are gluttonous a barter for Bucannon, who is a aloft first-round pick. If Belichick feels he fits with the Patriots, he’ll absolutely analyze that one. Meanwhile, over at the Raiders blaze sale, Karl Joseph ability additionally be on the block.
4. Active back: While the account was absolute on Sony Michel, with the aback not adversity any structural accident to the larboard knee he afflicted adjoin the Bears, it’s adamantine apperception him abiding all that quickly. He has an all-encompassing history of agitation with that knee, they’re not acceptable to blitz him back. That actuality said, the Patriots breach is about afire by the active game.
James White and Kenjon Barner, who both had career aerial carries adjoin the Bears, can authority the acropolis for a little while. There shouldn’t be abundant abundant appropriation adjoin the Bills Monday night. If they absolutely appetite a ability back, Mike Gillislee is out there as a chargeless abettor and aegis blanket. Rex Burkhead is additionally acceptable to acknowledgment off IR from his close abrasion Week 12.
5. Pass rusher: The Patriots accept aloof nine sacks afterwards seven games. Alone the Raiders accept a worse total. They’ve managed to punch up some burden with blitzes but haven’t been able to do it consistently with their approved accumulation of arresting ends afterwards Trey Flowers. As in best cases, they’d be attractive for a Kyle Van Noy type. Saints arresting end Trey Hendrickson could abatement in that category.
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