Pass rusher makes all the difference?


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Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports posted an interesting piece on the Shutdown Corner blog naming 10 teams that might be one piece away from being in a Super Bowl. It includes the Colts, Vikings, Jets, Ravens, Packers, Bengals, Eagles, Cowboys, Chargers and … Patriots.

Here’s what Farrar thinks New England needs (not a novel one, admittedly):

New England PatriotsPass rusher: As Bill Belichick has had to rebuild his defense over the last few seasons, the lack of a consistent pass rush has plagued the team. Young defensive backs like Patrick Chung and Darius Butler had a steeper learning curve because nobody was getting to the quarterback consistently. Tully Banta-Cain led the team with 10 sacks, but five of those came against Buffalo’s entry-level offensive line. Texas outside linebacker Sergio Kindle has the burst and versatility to make him a perfect fit in Belichick’s new defense.

Fairly certain I don’t need to bang the drum on Kindle again, but he does have the physical requirements for a Belichick outside ‘backer covered. He also ran the eighth fastest 40-yard dash of the 67 defensive-line types (though Jerry Hughes and Ricky Sapp beat him) at the combine.

As for that being the one big need, I’d agree that boosting the pass rush is what’s most necessary for the team to improve coming off an uneven 2009. But the need for consistent playmakers (particularly with Wes Welker sideline) isn’t far behind.

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