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With Patriots, patience is usually rewarded

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  March 16, 2012 06:30 PM

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slatermattfinn318.jpg6. The moves were hardly sexy, but you also have to like how Belichick has retained some key second-tier players such as Dan Connolly, Matt Slater, and Tracy White. For a guy who is perceived to be on the bubble in recent training camps, Slater has made himself absolutely essential with his special teams play, leadership, and positional versatility.

7. Danny Amendola is a reasonable facsimile of Wes Welker, an easy comp. He's a small, quick slot receiver out of Texas Tech who had to fight for a real chance. (Seem to remember him getting cut by the Cowboys during one of their "Hard Knocks" seasons.) But let's hold off on calling him same thing. He is far from Welker's equal after the catch, averaging 8.0 yards per reception in his career, and it's not worth sacrificing a second-round pick to acquire him.

8. Here's hoping the Patriots bring back Andre Carter. For all of the howls about how they need a pass rush, he and Mark Anderson got the job done, combining for 20 sacks last season.

9. And just to get a head start on it, I have no issue with the Patriots trading around in the draft, either. I'll take Gronk over former Southern Cal walk-on Clay Matthews any day. And while Devin McCourty's sophomore season was as terrible as his rookie year was dazzling, I'll take last season's version of him over Kyle Wilson, Sergio Kindle, Jerry Hughes, and any of the other players the alleged draftniks thought Belichick should have chosen.

10. As for today's Completely Random Football Card:

brucebarnesfinn317.jpg

Barnes, who averaged 37.4 yards per punt for the Patriots in 1973 and '74, is the father of golfer Ricky Barnes, who was Belichick's playing partner at the AT&T Pro Am a few weeks back. Not that punting has evolved in the past 40 or so years, but Barnes career average was four yards less than Zoltan Mesko's net last season.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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