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In a year in which the New York Jets are being hailed as the next AFC Champion, the New England Patriots have a lot to prove. Neither Belichick, nor Brady, nor Patriots ticket holders are used to playing second fiddle so the jets will have to be on their toes when they come to Gillette Stadium. Ditto for the Miami Dolphins who some have tabbed a dark horse in the division. But a home schedule that begins with the Cincinnati Bengals and includes the Ravens, Vikings, and Colts as well as the Jets and Dolphins, means picking good Patriots tickets offers a lot of choices.
New England Patriots tickets have been the class of the NFL for a long time. So it’s not hard to understand when Patriots fans were left shaken by their hero’s dismal dismissal from the playoffs last season. Though New England finished the regular season at 10-6, it was an uncharacteristic 10-6. At times Tom Brady struggled and it was obvious that the Patriots defense was still adjusting to the loss of several long time stalwarts. Right now the Patriots still have to be considered frontrunners in the AFC. They’re just not alone at the top anymore. But giving a Head Coach like Bill Belichick something to prove is a recipe for success and most experts expect Patriots tickets to pay off again in the 2012 NFL Season.
For the Patriots offense it all begins with Tom Brady and that’s a good thing. Brady’s performance suffered after his knee surgery, a post-operative infection, and getting nailed behind a struggling offensive line all season long. Having Wes Welker missing late in the season didn’t help either. But now it’s 2012 and Tom Brady is healthy again. It’s almost impossible to believe he won’t return to form and that’s a major boost for Patriots tickets.
Helping Brady get back on track in the passing game means Randy Moss and Wes Welker have to both be on the field. Welker is expected to return but it remains to be seen how his recovery is going. The Patriots picked up Torry Holt and he should be a reliable go to guy though not a game changer. Brandon Tate could also have a break out year if he gets enough playing time. Meanwhile the ground game seems to in multiple hands. Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris are both reliable, and Laurence Maroney is still a load to bring down. Kevin Faulk can tote the pigskin or catch it out of the backfield, making him a good 3rd down back.
On defense the Patriots have to get back to form. The lack of a consistent pass rush kept the Patriots playing catch against high powered offenses. Bill Belichick plans to exercise more control over this unit, which spent most of 2009 getting their feet under them. If the year of experience pays off the Patriots defense could flourish once again, putting New England back in the driver’s seat in the AFC East.
Brady and the Patriot Offense
The question is not whether Tom Brady can carry the New England Patriots offense through a grueling 2009 season, but can he do it on one leg or two? Before he went down with a season, almost career ending, injury that took his entire 2008 season away; some said he could never be broken. Maybe even, dare we say, invincible?
As it turns out Brady is human after all. When his second full season in the league was finished, complete with a Super Bowl victory, New England head coach Bill Belichick gave him a handshake, a pat on the back, and some good old fashion football advice, “put some weight on kid or you’ll be killed out there next season.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t his weight, or lack thereof, that was the cause of Brady missing the entire football season last year. Midway through the opening quarter of game one of the 2008 season, he caught Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard’s push to the left knee, which tore his anterior cruciate ligament and his medial collateral ligament. And for those of you who aren’t in the medical field, yes, it’s as bad as it sounds. The knee was surgically repaired. All of the top notch doctors and rehab specialists in the world can give someone with a surgically repaired body part the go ahead, but the share endurance of a National Football League game is the true test that Brady’s knee will hold up during the course of battle.
Now the new season is upon us. The big field, the bright lights. Oh, the bright lights! The shiny new helmets, and awkward fitting uniforms, the old teammates and the new, for Tom Brady it’ll be the same as before. Or will it? This season the New England offense will look to redeem a 2007 season that had tremendous highs and one very big low. Some sports writers have called the Patriots offense of two years ago the best single season team to play the game. The stats are undeniable, but the word best is hard to live up to. Maybe we should just call it one of the greatest seasons. That year, the Patriots saw the addition of a high profile wide receiver with a troublesome past. Randy Moss was so high on the not wanted list that he was traded for a fourth round pick. All of that soon changed.
By week 9, the combination of Tom Brady and Randy Moss had broken the Patriots record of 31 touchdowns in a season. Also, it marked the ninth game in a row that Brady had thrown three or more touchdowns. All of that led Brady to the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award and a record breaking 16-0 undefeated regular season. That year also saw a trip to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in seven years.
Lady luck had run its course for Tom Brady and New England. Some speculated that a Brady foot injury he suffered during the AFC Championship game would rule him ineffective for the Big Game. This wouldn’t be the case, though the team lost to the New York Giants to wind up with an 18-1 record.
If the upcoming season were a last year reboot, we wouldn’t think anything of it. Now the New England Patriots have something to prove.
The old team is back with their fearless leader. If setting out to redeem themselves from a Super Bowl trip, to missing the playoffs entirely last year was a wake up call, then hop on Brady’s back and hold on tightly. It might be a bumpy ride, if he can withstand the weight. New England still has many of the same players from the Super Bowl, but it’s hard to disagree that they’re two years older and have quite possibly lost a step or two.
As a result, the team has strived to become younger and faster with the signing of two prominent free agents. Well, maybe not younger, but more experienced. With the featured running back in the Patriots arsenal the last couple of seasons, Laurence Maroney, so often injured, New England has gotten its hands on premiere running back Fred Taylor. With 11,271 career yards and 62 touchdowns on 2,428 carries, he should give Brady some time off from having to throw 30 bombs per game.
Joey Galloway, a wide receiver on the docket, is another viable option for Brady. He, along with Randy Moss, should confuse enough defensive backs to give Brady time to work his magic.
So, after all this, a question still remains. Does a proverbial super bowl contending team continue to hang its hat on an older quarterback in his 10th year with a major injury under his belt? The answer is yes. Especially when that certain quarterback has overcome all injuries, no matter how small, to lead his team to the type of numbers that an average quarterback can only dream of reaching.
Take the Patriots backup quarterbacks for instance, Walters and O’Donnell, or O’Donnell and Walters. Does it really matter when you’ve got a name like Brady on your team? If you were to ask coach Belichick, he wouldn’t tell you a thing. Actually, he never does tell you anything about the team, but why mess with success when you’ve made the kind of personnel choices he has. He doesn’t have to tell you anything and that’s the beauty of it.
No one would say it’s going to be easy for Tom Brady. He has the whole team on his shoulders, not to mention a region looking at him to restore his past feats. But don’t feel bad for Tom, after all he did marry a supermode.
Want to see Tom Brady and the Patriots in person at their home games? As always, the best tickets at the best prices are available at Frontrow.com
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