BOSTON (CBS) – Greg Bedard of Sports Illustrated’s TheMMQB.com joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Massarotti program Monday afternoon to discuss the moves the Patriots have made so far in free agency and what’s left to do at this juncture.
New England has shored up their defensive backfield with the additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, and have also bolstered the receiving corps with the signing (and re-signing) of Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman.
Bedard says this “loading up” is something the team should have done awhile ago, but he’s a big fan of the approach and the sense of urgency.
The Sports Illustrated senior writer has done extensive film study on the newly-signed Brandon LaFell and his conclusion is that LaFell was miscast in Carolina. With Steve Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. on the roster, the 6’2″ 210-pound LaFell played mostly in the slot out of necessity, but he is “much more effective” on the outside and that’s where you’ll see him lined up in New England.
Tony Massarotti is a big proponent of size and stated on numerous occasions Monday afternoon that “size matters.” The Patriots seem to be moving in a bigger, more physical direction – especially on defense.
Having Browner and Revis will add a certain level of physicality to the Patriots defense and allow them to defend the quick-screen game of the Broncos.
Browner is and has always been a corner, but his size (6’4″ 220 lbs) has lent some to speculate that he’ll be put at strong safety – not the case according to Bedard.
“He is not a safety. He is a cornerback. He has some versatility and maybe they’ll show some looks here and there, but he’s a cornerback. This isn’t fantasy football.”
The Patriots released Steve Gregory already this offseason which leaves just Devin McCourty, Adrian Wilson, Duron Harmon and Tavon Wilson at the position. Bedard feels like safety is still an area of need the Patriots need to address.
“Strong safety is still a humongous hole on this team. Adrian Wilson didn’t look like the answer in training camp last year – he is very long in the tooth. If there’s some concerns with the Patriots that I have it’s strong safety and they’re driving me crazy not getting more edge rushers.
“I understand that Bill Belichick loves his ends to be versatile and play the run and all that stuff, but sometimes you just gotta send guys out on the field who just know to get after the quarterback. I still think that they’re very light there.”
Edelman was another big signing by the Patriots over the weekend. While his contract figures have not been disclosed, Bedard is guessing it was for pretty cheap just by the fact the details have not been released.
He had a great season last year, but he’s an injury prone slot receiver, and slot guys are viewed and valued these days just like running backs: dime a dozen. Bedard also said that Edelman didn’t want to leave Tom Brady and that he’s comfortable here having come up through the system.
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