BOSTON (CBS) –  Nothing against Matthew Mulligan or Michael Hoomanawanui, but in order for the offense to move forward the Patriots need a tight end who can complement Rob Gronkowski, according to Bob Socci.

The Patriots were undressed by the rival Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game in every phase of the game, but the play-by-play man maintains the focus should be on offense for Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio and company.

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“On offense, I know the receiving core needs to be enhanced, but I’d like to see a pass catching tight end who can complement Rob Gronkowski, or at least provide a portion of the production if Gronk is unavailable. Even assuming Gronkowski is back [healthy], I’d still like to see a pass catching tight end.”

Whether it be Tom Brady’s age or a deluge of talent on the offensive line, the veteran quarterback seemed to be under pressure more often this past season than we’re typically used to seeing – especially early on.

Add in the fact that longtime coach Dante Scarnecchia announced his retirement and a need for o-line help becomes all the more glaring.

Bob Socci thinks the defensive line needs help as well.

“I think they have to shore up the two lines. They’ve got to look for interior talent even if Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly were to come back on the defensive line – they need to beef up there. From my point of view you’d like to see another playmaker in the secondary, a cornerback with a physical presence.”

Andy Gresh is in lock step with Socci in terms of the Patriots needing a tight end, but that will depend on whether or not the offense wants to go in that direction.

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As players become available, the fluidity of the situation may steer the Patriots back toward a three wide receiver offense, or even to their two tight end set.

We saw how the Patriots were able to adapt without Aaron Hernandez and an injured Rob Gronkowski last season, but a good tight end would cure some of the Patriots’ red zone and third down woes – as well as provide insurance for Gronkowski.

“The reason a tight end is so important is because you’ve got a Patriots team that needs to ensure themselves in the case that Rob Gronkowski gets hurt again. I need another tight end, so if they do go back to a three-wide team they won’t struggle at the tight end spot as much as they did last year,” said Gresh Thursday afternoon.

Listen below for the full discussion:


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