The New England Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl last year. But at full strength, there is a very real chance that they could have not only won the Super Bowl, but won out the entire season. They were strong. But by the end of the season, their biggest issue stuck out: depth.
Certainly any team would struggle if they lost as much star power as the Pats. And even so, they nearly made it to the Super Bowl. They were a game away — a close game. But the Denver Broncos defensive line proved to be too much for the Patriots battered and bruised offensive line. Not to mention they really did not establish much of a ground game.
As the Pats look to prioritize this offseason, the offensive line should be their top priority. Finding guys who can block should be their biggest concern because everything else seemed to be fine even with injured players.
With better blocking, the Patriots would not need to find any big time running backs because they would have holes to hit. Even a good running back is nothing with a struggling offensive line. Their stats might not show up in the paper. But they make everyone else’s life easier.
It also comes down to giving Tom Brady more time to throw. He makes reads quicker than anyone in the NFL, but giving him a little bit more time could prove key — especially as he ages. Even if he’s able to make the throw, there is the issue of him being hit. Clearly, he can take a hit. But he shouldn’t have to.
Full strength, the Patriots offensive line wasn’t an issue last season. But it wasn’t their greatest asset either.
Not to name any names, but Bryan Stork certainly didn’t help the case as pretty much told the other team when he was going to snap. He snapped just as he was looking up every single play against the Broncos. What didn’t make sense though for a guy who has probably played football his whole life is that the quarterback is always in the same spot so there’s no need to look at him. We get it, you think Tom Brady is a good looking guy. Now do your job.
Stork also didn’t have the friendliest media exchange following AFC Championship game.
The salary cap makes everything tough, but that does not mean the Pats should cheap out on blocking.