1. What's wrong with Sebastion Vollmer? He's been terrible this year. He's already given up more pressures at the quarter mark (15) than he did all last season (13). Seriously--is he hurt? Did he take the off-season, well, off?
2. Jerod Mayo is back in beast form. We were all hoping he'd be back to form this year, and at the beginning of the year, and then he didn't look so good at the beginning of the season He's back I think, and currently ranks 3rd in the NFL for tackles. That's a really encouraging sign.
3. Special Teams. No, I don't mean blocked kicks. I mean regular old, day to day special teams work. Guess who's second in kick-off touchbacks? In the Miami game Gostowski kicked off 7 times, with 5 TBs. That's huge. Mesko had three punts, with a long of 60 and one inside the 20--that's huge also. Our special teams are headed in the right direction.
4. Look at our rookie production. I don't know the exact numbers for the league, but who else has six rookies making significant contributions outside of special team? This snippet from ProFootbalFocus is a snapshot:
For New England, Jermaine Cunningham picked up two quarterback pressures on 29 pass rushes. … Fellow linebacker Brandon Spikes had a quiet day with just one tackle. … Devin McCourty (+1.8) displayed first-round talent in breaking up a ball and allowing just 8 yards on three throws his way. … DE Brandon Deaderick (+2.2) made a serious case for more playing time and looked immovable at the end spot. … Rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski had decent days for different reasons. Gronkowski continues to impress with his run blocking, while Hernandez caught five of five balls thrown his way. … Punter Zoltan Mesko (+0.5) was solid with his punting and did well to catch a very high snap when holding.
Not so much rookie action for Miami. WR Roberto Wallace was thrown at once in limited action. … TE Mickey Shuler (0.0) didn’t embarrass himself in 13 snaps. … In a reduced role (25 snaps), Koa Misi (+1.2) picked up a sack and two quarterback pressures.
They'll just get better as they learn the system and how to be pros.
Anyway, I just think there's a lot going on for the Pats besides a big-name trade, and a lot of it is positive.