Okay, I'll admit it. I would prefer that the Steelers' FO act a little more like the Pastries in FA. I don't know where or how they have the money to do what they do, but they manage to make great decisions every offseason. Or, at least, better ones than we do.
But the slobbering media just makes me ill. One minute, Bellychump is a cheater, crybaby, et al. Next minute, HE IS THE MESSIAH! HE IS THE MESSIAH!
But, let's poke a few holes in the sappy love note.1. It's Bill Belichick's world
Tom Brady is on target for a full, healthy season.The New England Patriots have had the best free agency period of any team.
Bill Belichick is the best coach in football.
It adds up to the Pats clearly being the team to beat in the NFL this year.
And we haven't even hit April.
Think about where New England struggled last year. The Pats had issues running the ball and stopping the forward pass. So Belichick makes the brilliant move of bringing in veteran RB Fred Taylor, who has a lot of gas left in the tank. In talking to Taylor, he raved about meeting Belichick and will do whatever the coach wants. Remember, Taylor, while hurt last season, had a sensational season in 2007. He's been an excellent player throughout his career, only to get overshadowed playing in Jacksonville. Look for Taylor to get 10-15 carries a game for the Pats and help give Brady balance on offense.
Belichick then addressed the cornerback position by signing Shawn Springs. But it's the Leigh Bodden move that has piqued my interest. Bodden is a playmaker. After a strong run in Cleveland, he was lost in the madness of the Lions' 0-16 season, finding himself as the nickel back to start the season after Matt Millen smartly (did I just write that?) traded Shaun Rogers for him. This is a player who had 6 picks, 15 pass break-ups, and 88 tackles in 2007 for the Browns. I love the fit for Bodden in New England.
The Pats lose wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, but get better with Joey Galloway.
And in classic Bill Belichick fashion, the Pats cleared cap space in the Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel trades. And they got their fourth Day 1 draft pick in the process by obtaining Kansas City's second-rounder. It gives Belichick options. With a first-round selection and three picks in Round 2, Belichick has the ability to trade up or down. And you know how Belichick masters a war room. With picks and new financial flexibility, they have the option to make a move for an impact veteran on or before draft day.
The perfect player who fits that description is Carolina's disenfranchised DE Julius Peppers. And despite reports to the contrary, I believe the Pats are still sniffing around Peppers, at the right price contractually.
And worse case scenario, they ink Jason Taylor<the Pats still have the best defensive line in football and linebacker Jerod Mayo is a star after just one season?
Scary, isn't it.
1. I suspect Brady will be fine, especially behind a solid OL. But do we know that for sure? Has Carson Palmer ever fully recovered from his blowout? Way to early to declare him "as is" for 2009.
2. Fred Taylor--wasn't it just a few years ago that we were talking about how injury-prone he is? And now he's an aging RB. Good player, but I'm not sure he's all that.
3. Galloway--not saying that it's a bad singing, but I don't know that it's such a "genius" move.
4. Leigh Bodden--Sorry if I'm not convinced that the secondary is suddenly "fixed" due to this singing.
5. Springs--Not exactly a "spring" chicken. How good is he? I'm not sold that he's the man.
6. Peppers--great talent, big ego, bad attitude, prima dona, gets lazy. Do you really want that at the price he'll demand? They got Thomas two years ago, and he was supposed to solve all their problems on defense. How long did that last?
8. Their Dline is good. But that didn't help them so much on defense last year.
So, I understand why you'd look at the Patriots and talk about their great offseason. But, it's WAY too early to call them the "team to beat" before you see how these moves translate to the field. Typical Fox"Sports" hyped BS.