Since free agency began in late February, the Patriots have been one of the NFL's busiest teams reshaping their roster.
As the pace of the NFL offseason slows a bit, more national writers are stepping back to assess all the movement, and one thought seems to be prevalent: The Patriots helped themselves and should be one of the teams to beat in 2009.
Clark Judge of CBSSports.com is one of the latest to opine on the Patriots. He identifies five teams that he feels most helped themselves this offseason, and New England is on the list.
"These guys don't regroup as much as they reload each year," Judge writes. "I don't care if you like them or not. You can't help but admire the way they do business. They have a core of outstanding talent and fill in with role players who fit their system. The results speak for themselves."
Also count Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News in the group.
"Only three NFL teams finished in the NFL's top 10 in both offense and defense last season – the New England Patriots, Giants and Eagles. All have improved themselves this off-season," writes Gosselin. "So pencil in the Patriots with a healthy Tom Brady as the favorite in the AFC and the Giants and Eagles as the teams to beat in the NFC."