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News Blitz 3/20: LaFell received advice from Ridley before signing

Posted Mar 20, 2014

In this edition of the News Blitz we focus on the Patriots most recent free agent acquisitions and take a look at some radical rule chances the Patriots are proposing.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe explains that the Patriots are proposing radical rule changes to the NFL. All 32 owners will meet next week in Orlando to discuss the current status of the league and debate whether to make any changes to the league's rules. The Patriots' four proposals include moving the line of scrimmage on extra points to the 25-yard-line, extending goalposts upward an additional 5 feet, and placing cameras on all boundary lines to aid officials with instant replay.

With Brandon LaFell now officially on the Patriots roster, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald believes the team will find many ways to use him in 2014. Howe explains that LaFell's versitility makes him valuable to Tom Brady and the Patriots offense.

"Now transitioning from a run-first system to the Pats' aerial attack, the LSU product can expect his production to continue booming, so long as he meshes well with Brady and the offense," says Howe.

NESN's Doug Kyed says that Brandon LaFell chose to come to New England partly due to advice he received from Stevan Ridley. Ridley told LaFell that he would have to sacrifice his off-the-field life in order to put more work in to make the team better.

But then again, getting a chance to play with a future hall of fame quarterback isn't a bad selling point either. Comcast Sports Net's Tom Curran explains that LaFell's choice to play with Brady over Cam Newton shows that his focus is on winning now.

"Brandon LaFell had a choice," writes Curran. "Wriggle through the space remaining in Tom Brady's so-called "closing window" or wait for Cam Newton's window to open? LaFell picked Brady."

In another article, Jeff Howe says that Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner will be a lockdown nightmare for Patriots opponents in 2014. He explains that both cornerbacks are extremely physical and will help the Patriots match-up against physical receivers such as Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and Demaryius Thomas.

"Browner became the first chip to fall after the Revis signing, which clearly opened eyes and made the Pats a more appealing choice," writes Howe. "They're now salivating over the opportunity to form one of the most feared cornerback tandems in the NFL next season."

Even though there are more than five months until the start of the 2014 season, the Patriots and Broncos are once again heavy favorites in the AFC. 98.5 The Sport Hub's Tony Massarotti, Marc Bertrand, and Jermaine Wiggins debate which of the two teams has had the better offseason.

While most people in New England believe the Patriots have improved since the start of free agency, Adam Kaufman of the Boston Globe says that the Broncos are still the better team.

"Denver’s bolstered its previously putrid defense with Talib, DeMarcus Ware, and T.J. Ward, and added Sanders to a record-setting offense," says Kaufman. "There’s no reason, on paper, to think the Broncos won’t have their horses putting up those crazy numbers again."

But the offseason isn't over yet and the Bill Belichick can still shorten the gap between his team and the Broncos. But in order to do that, they will need money to spend. ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss takes a look at the Patriots salary cap. He says that the Patriots have roughly $4-7 million in cap space at this time, but list six moves the team could make to free up more money.

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