Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let's be Realistic...

The Pats have a dire need for a pass rush. Will they actually get Peppers?... 

     With the Patriots' reputation for frugal spending and a big contract for Wilfork looming, the talk of Julius Peppers coming to New England looks to stay just that - talk. reports that the Chicago Bears are, "gearing up for a major run" at the pass rushing specialist. If the Bears are aggressive enough in their bidding, they could knock the penny-wise Pats out of the race. This is concerning for Patriots fans as 2009 revealed a glaring need for a productive pass rusher. An addition like Peppers could provide a spark on defense comparable to the boost Randy Moss brought on offense in '07. Again, however, this seems unlikely as New England will not want to compete in a high bidding war with other interested teams like the Bears or Eagles.
    Still, a significant change has to be made. The Patriots have been shown up by division rivals for the past two seasons. In 2008, the Dolphins took the division and knocked the 11-5 Pats out of the playoffs. Last season, New England retook the division but were knocked out in the first round. All the while, the Jets fought their way to the AFC championship game. With the Phins and Gang Green gaining momentum, the Patriots have to do something to keep up. Fixing the pass rush is step one. It's clear that Peppers would be an ideal choice,  however, there are others we could see in a New England uniform. lists Jimmy Kennedy and Tyler Brayton as free agents that could be targeted. Kennedy is a defensive tackle for the Vikings. Last year, he recorded 18 tackles and 3 sacks in 13 games. His 3 sacks tie a career high which he set in 2005. Tyler Brayton is a defensive end and a teammate of Peppers on the Panthers. In 2009, Brayton recorded 45 tackles and 5 sacks in 15 games, his 5 sacks being a career high. Another interesting prospect could be on the Patriots' roster already. Though not a defensive lineman, Tyrone McKenzie, could provide a needed boost to an ailing New England defense. The linebacker generated a lot of excitement last year when he was taken in the third round of the draft. Unfortunately, McKenzie tore his ACL during mini-camp and was placed on injured reserve. If he is able to get on the field next season hopefully he can live up to the promise he showed last May.
     The Patriots' tradition of not paying players makes an acquisition like Peppers seem unlikely. However, in an uncapped year, you never know. What we do know is in order to reclaim their NFL dominance, the Pats need to get to the quarterback.


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