Originally written on Cippin on Sports  |  Last updated 5/10/12

The New England Patriots came within two minutes of a Super Bowl last season but the franchise had serious work to do to improve for the 2012 NFL season. The defense let up huge plays last year and needed widespread fixes while the offense still needed a big downfield wide receiving threat. After the off-season, it looks like the Patriots hit all their team needs and will be the top contenders for the NFL Super Bowl.

On defense, Chandler Jones and Donta Hightower, their two top draft picks, will really strengthen the pass rush. Jones is a pass rushing specialist and the hybrid defensive end-outside linebacker position while Hightower was the most talented linebacker in college football and will bring both stability to the interior of the defense and quarterback pressure. At the back of the defense, the Patriots are big believers in skilled, tough hitting safety Tavon Wilson.

On offense, the Patriots now have several downfield receiving weapons. In addition to short, mid, and slot-range receiving weapons Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, New England added downfield threats Anthony Gonzalez (the former Colt and Peyton Manning’s second favorite target before Gonzalez’s injuries) and Brandon Lloyd (who has thrived in coordinator Josh McDaniel’s offense). It’s an offense that will air it out and crush many hapless NFL teams.

So, it looks like the Patriots are ready for the coming season!

This article was written by Paul Grossinger


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