New England Patriots: What Now?

Following a thrilling loss in Super Bowl 52 to the Philadelphia Eagles, the New England Patriots are on to the 2018 NFL season starting with the offseason. They will look to retool and gear up for another title run next season. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are both coming back for the 2018 season. Brady had yet another stellar season even at age 40 as he took home the MVP. Most thought they would have seen a decline in his performance, but he proved the doubters wrong yet again as he continues to get better with time like fine wine.

The Patriots will have several key guys retuning for next season. Julian Edelman, Dont’a Hightower, and the team’s top draft choice from a year ago Derek Rivers who everyone was excited to see coming out of the draft. However, an ACL injury ended all hopes for him in the 2017 season.  The team also had several young and improving guys who played significant roles such as Adam Butler, Deatrich Wise Jr., and Malcom Brown who many said had his best year as a Patriot. The biggest concern will come with their Pro Bowl cornerback Malcolm Butler. After bringing in Stephon Gilmore last offseason and benching Butler in the Super Bowl, chances are he will not re-sign with the team. Danny Amendola is also a free agent. After three straight years of taking pay cuts for the team, he might not want to take another one.

Not only do the Patriots have players to worry about, but most of the Patriots staff faced some turnover. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was contemplating taking the head coaching job for the Indianapolis Colts, but decided he had a change of heart and will remain in New England. Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia took a head coaching job with the Detroit Lions. The Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge‘s contract is expired as well. He is a vital part because everyone knows how much Belichick values special teams. The Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores was also rumored for a head coaching vacancy, but he will be staying put in New England in the meantime.

The focus for the team will be on the defensive side. The Patriots were one of the best in points allowed, holding opponents to just 18 points a game.  However, they were among one of the worst teams in the league for yards, giving up 366 yards to opponents. Giving up that many yards eventually catches up with you and it caught up with the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Without a question the Patriots will be favorites to make Super Bowl 53. If they do not want a repeat of Super Bowl 52 and have the opposing team moving down the field at will, the defense will NEED to be addressed. It is absolutely vital if they want to hoist up another Lombardi trophy.

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