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Around the AFC East, Week 5: Pats Pulpit

Dave from the always excellent Pats Pulpit fielded a question on his team's depth.

The Pats had an astounding number of injuries in 2008 but still won 11 games. The team clearly had great coaching and depth. With that said, which area of the roster do you consider thinnest? (From John B)

You're right, the number of injuries they sustained in 2008 was insane.  Some would suggest the 11 wins were due to one of the easiest schedules in the NFL, but I've always thought basing ease of schedule in the previous year is a bit ridiculous; too much changes from one year to the next.

In 2008, our biggest shortcoming appeared to be at linebacker.  While Tedy Bruschi is the obvious leader at that position, he's in his last years and is a one or two play guy.  Luckily, we've built up some depth at ILB with Jerod Mayo and Gary GuytonParis Lenon, a recent addition at ILB, will help round out the LB corps and provide some veteran experience.  With the departure of Rodney Harrison, safety would've been a concern but we drafted Patrick Chung.  He won't make an immediate impact, but Tank Williams is back this year after being IR'd in 2008.

My biggest concern at this point is OLB.  Many Patriots fans were convinced we would pick up an OLB in the draft, but that never happened.  Belichick must feel confident with projected starters Adalius Thomas and Pierre Woods while backups Shawn Crable and Vince Redd wait in the wings.  I would've been much happier with a monster pass rusher in the ranks; that was a weakness for the Pats last year and one I'd like to see fixed.

It is all the coaching in New England, mainly head coaching. How many times have we seen key pieces for the Pats either leave or get hurt? How many of these guys have they missed? How many former Patriots actually succeed with a new team? Bill Belichick's system and his leadership allow him to plug just about anybody in. He knows the kind of players he wants for his team and ruthlessly goes out to get them. Short of Tom Brady, Dave really doesn't have to worry about an injury to any player on his team. Head to Pats Pulpit for more AFC East talk, including a prediction on whether the Jets will land Plaxico Burress.