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Training camp is now in full swing in Foxboro so it’s time to take a look at the players who will make up the 2009 New England Patriots. We’ll start off with the position which most fans feel is the easiest to diagnose yet deep down inside in places you don’t talk about at parties makes you worry the most: quarterback. By the way, happy birthday to our first player previewed this year:
2008 statistics: 7/11, 76 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
2009 Forecast: A surgically repaired knee, a new wife and another child on the way combine to create quite a buzz around the already normally hyped Tom Brady. Will his knee hold up? How much will he play in the preseason? Will Giselle make an appearance at Gillette with a pink No. 12 jersey? All questions we will learn about in due time. However if this crafty blogger’s job is to make predictions so here we go.
Brady’s knee will hold up only to the point that he’ll let himself become vulnerable. He was never mobile before the injury yet had an uncanny ability to elude pressure in the pocket. His lateral mobility will be the key thing to watch early in the season, but I don’t see how his game is going to be greatly affected, seeing as it’s not his plant leg which was hurt.
We didn’t see Tom Brady in the 2008 preseason and whether or not that had anything to do with the injury doesn’t matter a hell of a whole lot right now. The bottom line is the team would be better off if Brady was able to get some game situations in with the first team offense. While the core is back, there are new pieces (WR Joey Galloway, TE Chris Baker, RB Fred Taylor) who are learning the new system and could only benefit from real game action with Brady. I think we’ll see a very normal amount of playing time; perhaps two series in the first game, maybe a half in the second game, three quarters in the third and nothing in the fourth (sorry all you fellow Gillette Stadium season ticket holders).
Lastly, no we won’t see Gisele in any type of jersey, because thankfully Brady asks his lovers to stay away from the field.
Tom Brady will be back with a vengeance in 2009 and should have even better weapons than he did in 2007. Will the stats measure up? Probably not. But with a seemingly soft schedule and more running backs than you could shake a stick at, unless Brady is mentally unprepared to return from the injury he’ll be back in the mix for an NFL MVP.
2009 Projected Stats: 3,900 yards, 41 touchdowns, 14 interceptions.
2008 stats: 4/6, 23 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
2009 Forecast: As a rookie out of San Diego State, O’Connell was behind Matt Cassel in the pecking order and only saw action in two games. A big QB with a cannon arm, O’Connell impressed during the preseason with his legs. Whether or not he could be a dependable backup remains to be seen, but we only need to turn back the clocks one year to start second guessing. If given the chance there’s little to prognosticate on how well O’Connell would do with the number one offense. Let’s hope we don’t have to find out. The preseason will go a long way to determine whether O’Connell remains the backup or someone like Cleo Lemon comes in to be there just in case, well, you know…
2009 Projected stats: 10/22, 100 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
2008 stats: 0/0, 0 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, one awesome college (Idaho State)
2009 Forecast: Gutierrez seems to be down deep on the depth chart as he was released last year before being re-signed. Though he shows flashes of brilliance in meaningless games, it doesn’t seem as though he’s in the long term plans of the Patriots. Especially with the rumors of Cleo Lemon or some other veteran QB coming to New England to help the backup situation, it’s very likely Gutierrez is cut before camp is over. Seems like a good kid though.
2009 Projected Stats: 0/0, 0 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, one awesome college (Idaho State)
The Patriots have the best player in the NFL at this position and he should be back near 100% by the time week 5 rolls around. With new weapons at his disposal Tom Brady, if healthy, should lead the Patriots back towards the top of most offensive passing categories and rack up the victories in 2009.