The offseason is a time for speculation and over analysis.
Who's coming? Who's going? What free agents will be targeted? What are a team's biggest draft needs?
For the Patriots things actually got going in that area even before the 2012 season ended at the hands of the Ravens in the AFC Championship game on Sunday.
The first move came when Bill Belichick announced - seemingly out of the blue - that former New England assistant Brian Daboll was re-joining the staff for the postseason. Josh McDaniels did the same thing a year ago, and subsequently filled Bill O'Brien's shoes as offensive coordinator. This time around people wondered if Daboll - who's worked as the offensive coordinator in Cleveland, Miami and Kansas City in his time away from Foxborough - was being brought aboard to fill that job title again with the Patriots if McDaniels left to become a head coach, or, in the outside chance that Belichick retired and McDaniels were to be bumped up to the top job in New England.
Well, now all the NFL jobs are filled, Belichick has made it clear he's sticking around and McDaniels seems likely to remain as offensive coordinator on a staff that, as of today, doesn't have any openings. So what will Daboll do? Will there be changes with position coaches? Only time will tell.
The other early rumor/speculation was that with both Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli getting the ax in Kansas City, one or both could also be in line for a return to New England. And the idea that Pioli come back to work under Belichick's wing once again only grew when ESPNBoston.com reported last week that Floyd Reese, a senior football advisor with the Patriots over there last four years, was not expected to return to the team in 2013.
Could that open the door for a Pioli return? Could he advise Belichick and Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio?
Not so fast, says Sports Illustrated writer and NBC analyst Peter King. King was asked this week on Twitter what he thought Pioli would be doing this coming season. King's simple response on his @SI_PeterKing Twitter account was, "A TV or media job of some sort."
While my experiences with Pioli in the past never led me to believe that he'd want a job in the media, I guess that perspective can change over time. Either way, if King knows what he's talking about then Pioli won't be returning to New England any time soon.
Would you want Pioli back in the Patriots front office? What do you think Daboll's role will be in New England moving forward? Would you want Crennel back? Let us know with a comment below!