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10 questions: Is the spread dead?

Posted by Albert Breer  July 12, 2010 08:00 AM

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Whether the Patriots can develop the running game, with a backfield rife with questions, and prepare rookies Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to contribute right away will be pivotal in that regard. Being able to run it consistently will set up play-action, and being stocked at tight end will bring that flexibility.

But all the competition and uncertainty at receiver is why at least having the ability to be more of a bloody-your-lip style of offense could be most important. If Welker can’t play right away, or some of the new additions don’t work out, or the young players hit stumbling blocks in their development, it’ll be harder for the team to go into ‘11’ and ‘10’ personnel groupings, so they’ll need to make up for it elsewhere.

It’s not like the way the Patriots have played offense the last three years is suddenly worthless. It’s obviously not. The club ripped up record books in 2007 doing those things.

It’s just as clear, though, that the flaws in that philosophy have cropped up, and so it would hardly be shocking to see camp used to give the offense a physical edge and prepare the group to play the game a little differently.
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