Let the games begin

Gronk and Hernandez: Dominating the NFL the rest of the decade

It's no secret I don't care about the NFL Preseason. I'm not sure why some fans out there are worrying about this Patriots team. I haven't watched more than 5 minutes of any game this preseason because to me they are just scrimmages. New England will be fine. In fact, this could be the best team we've ever had here.

Let's talk about what happened yesterday. I was shocked  to hear about Deion Branch being cut. I thought because of his connection with Brady and his playoff experience  he was a lock to make the team. However, I have to think that Belichick and the Patriots brass know what they are doing.  Also, the Koeppen release surprised me. We need all the help we can get on the O-line. Plus, you can't cut a ginger. That just isn't right.

Having four receivers seems a little on the light side, but I think they'll either bring back Branch or get someone off waivers. Also, Hernandez is basically a receiver himself, so we really have 5 receivers. Let's hope Brandon Lloyd can be the superstar we brought him here to be and that Welker stays healthy. I like Edelman and Slater as our 3rd and 4th wideouts as well though they have both underachieved in their tenure's with the Pats.

I think the play of Ridley and Vereen is going to be very important this year. I can't remember the last time we had a young, explosive starting running back in New England.  Obviously we'll still be a pass first offense, but if Ridley can fulfill the potential we know he has our offensive will be unstoppable.

Unstoppable of course because we have the best duo of tight ends in the league. Gronk gets all the attention and rightly so. 17 touchdowns in a season for a tight end are video game numbers. However, I think Hernandez might have double digits touchdowns this year as well. He's one of the most versatile players in the league, and I can't wait to see what kind of packages McDaniels puts together for him.

Of course, the offense has never really been the issue of late for New England. It's the defense that I'm most excited/nervous to see perform. We had a great draft this year, particularly on the front 7. Chandler Jones is going to be a certified beast. I expect 9-10 sacks this year. I love Hightower at linebacker as well. Any player you can get from that Alabama D is a good thing.

Our secondary I'm a bit nervous about. I'm not sure what happened to McCourtney last year, but talk about a sophomore slump. If he doesn't start playing at a high level again we may be in trouble. Chung is a beast at safety but needs to stay healthy.  We have a ton of rookies that will be getting time back there, but really it couldn't get much worse than last year. You just hope 1-2 of them become stars or at least steady starters for a long time.

I'm so excited for opening day.  The first Sunday of football is like Christmas.  I think this Patriots team has to be the favorite to go to the Super Bowl in the AFC.  Houston will be tough, along with the usual suspects(Pittsburgh and Baltimore), but overall I think there has been a power shift from the AFC to NFC. I think a 13-3 season should be expected. Enough of the build up and the hype. Let the games begin!