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xtra xtra!
Posted September 8, 2005

     This offseason has been the most active for the Patriots since their first Super Bowl. They have lost key figures such as Tedy Bruschi and Ted Johnson, badly altering their linebacker corps. Equally as important, the brains of Romeo Cornell and Charlie Weiss have departed for head coaching jobs. Also, All- Pro corner Ty Law followed in Lawyer Milloy's footsteps joining the roster of a Patriots' rival. So the Patriots enter into a potential three- peat season with the most question marks of all their title runs, but with some disperse competition and Belichick at the realm, the Patriots still can't be overlooked.

     A now notorious drafting team, the Patriots did little in the free agent market to add new faces to the roster, the exception being WR Andre Davis. Instead the Patriots decided to take the advice of scouters and rely on draft picks. Guys like Logan Mankins and Monty Biesel will be key rookies as the Patriots attempt to earn another title. Other slightly more seasoned veterans such as Asanti Samuel and Randall Gay will be asked to step their game up as well. With defense being the least experienced field for the Pats, Belichick will be forced to focus on what he does best, and the young Pats will have to pick up on the system quick. Given Bill's recent history it is likely they will.

     Yet, the Patriots do face the daunting task of actually pulling off the three- peat. A rare football glory, winning three championships in a row is tough to come by in the NFL. With teams like Pittsburgh, New York and Indianapolis still trying to stop the Pats' run, the hometown team will have its work cut out for themselves. This is the season Belichick is really put to the test. Was it his brain, or the collaboration of his, Cornell's and Weiss' that led to the Pats' successes? Also, will the key losses of Johnson, Bruschi and Law haunt the Patriots? Possibly the most inexperienced Pats' roster in the last five years, can they still get it done? These are questions that won't be answered now, or in the opener (against Oakland), but as the season goes along, where the Patriots stand will answer everything. Although young, the Patriots still are the defending champs, and still the team to beat. Unless someone dethrones them, the Pats could accomplish yet another hallmark feat by winning three in a row.

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