The League

Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith

Producer and Blogger for The Washington Post

This Ain't 2007 Folks

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Are the Patriots loaded with offensive stars and potential? Absolutely. Do they have the best quarterback in the game when he's healthy? Sure. The issue with New England's forthcoming campaign to get back into the playoffs -- that still sounds weird, doesn't it -- is that they can't count on the kind of success they'd seen before last season, and having Tom Brady return from an ACL injury should all but ensure that they hit some rocky patches along the way.

Think about it this way: When was the last time you saw a quarterback come back from a serious, devastating knee injury and return to form overnight? Right. I can't think of one either. What's more likely is that Brady, never the most mobile of quarterbacks, will feel even more pressure to stick it out in the pocket, putting additional strain on an offensive line that was exposed in the Super Bowl against the Giants, and which still seems a tad bit suspect as it ages year-by-year. It's definitely not the Lions, but it isn't flawless, either.

Add to that questions about the team's running game -- can Laurence Maroney stay healthy? How will Fred Taylor fit in? -- and there are serious doubts about what the Pats will be able to do offensively. Or at least there should be.

Perhaps that's the most troubling sign of all: The tendency by the team's wideouts, Randy Moss and Wes Welker in particular, to put expectations and goals on a bullet train before the season is even started. To even place a firm time frame on Brady's return is a touchy subject, let alone insinuating that the team's passing records of 2007 will be under assault.

So, will the Patriots be good? Surely they will. If 2008 taught us anything, it's that Bill Belichick can still figure out how to adapt better than anyone else in the game. Can they be 2007-style perfect? Not a chance.

By Cameron Smith  |  May 28, 2009; 9:44 AM ET  | Category:  NFL , New England Patriots , Quarterbacks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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