The Patriots: 2012 vs. 2007


The Patriots: 2012 vs. 2007

The Pats are barely a week into Training Camp and we're already running short on drama. And that's a good thing. It's a sign that, unlike another team in this twon, the Pats have their act together.

Will Welker ever get a deal? Will Brian Waters report? How did Jonathan Kraft do in his fantasy draft? And that's about it. Everything else is Xs and Os; straight football. And that's beautiful.

It's also a little boring. So, we've created a few distractions.

For instance: Can this Patriots team go undefeated?

I think so. Why not, right? If everyone's healthy (and that's what it would take), the Pats will be favored in at least 15 of 16 games this year. The only straggler is Week 3 in Baltimore, but even if the Pats are two or three-point underdogs, it's anyone's game.

Sure, they can go undefeated. Of course, there's a better chance you see Bill Belichick show up to a press conference wearing a yellow tank top and an eye patch, but it's still possible. (I'll say 14-2, with losses at Baltimore and Seattle.)

Another aspect of the undefeated conversation is a straight comparison:

2007 offense vs. 2012 offense: Who you got?

It's hard to answer right now, when we haven't seen exactly what 2012 can do. But the argument can be made that this year's squad will be just as imposing as their predecessors. The 2007 team had no one like Gronk. And there's a good chance that Stevan Ridley develops into a bigger threat than Lawrence Maroney. With Gronk, Hernandez and Welker keeping the defense occupied on the inside, Brandon Lloyd and Jabar GaffneyDonte' Stallworth will be waiting over the top. They're going to be unstoppable.

In reality, choosing between the 2007 and 2012 Patriots offense is like choosing between Kate Upton and Bar Raefali. You can't go wrong. But here's one major reason I'm leaning towards 2007.

Randy Moss.

I've heard a few people say that Lloyd is the closest thing the Pats have had to Moss, and I think that's true. But come on: Randy Moss caught 23 touchdowns in 2007. Brandon Lloyd has caught 23 touchdowns since 2005. He may be the closest thing, but that doesn't mean he's that close.

I know that's an obvious point. I'm not suggesting that people actually believe Lloyd is in 2007 Randy Moss's league. But I think it's sometimes easy to forget how devastating that Brady-to-Moss combination was. I know Brady has his thing with Gronk. And Welker. And that he'll hopefully build something special with Lloyd. But nothing compares to what he and Moss did to NFL defenses. That's where 2007 has the edge.

Last thing: How funny would it be if someone asked Belichick about this at his next press conference? "Yeah, coach. I'm wondering, if you had to win one game, and could choose between this year's offense and 2007's: Who would you pick, and why?"

I imagine the answer would sound something like this:

" . . . ."

At which point, the reporter would be escorted out of the building and tossed into a dumpster.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'


Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial


PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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