The offseason is finally coming to a close and now it's time to see how all the new faces will fit into the Patriots system and potentially impact the 2014 team. Obviously Darrelle Revis is the top acquisition and he figures to move seamlessly into the left cornerback slot.
But there are other questions as well, most notably how quickly all the injured veterans will return to form. With such talented players as Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Rob Gronkowski and Tommy Kelly all coming back after ending 2013 on injured reserve, the 2014 Patriots could have a much different look from the team that finished last season. Not to mention the nine-man rookie class and the development of other young players looking to make a jump with added experience.
So as Team PFW prepares for the start of camp, this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poses the following question: Which side of the ball has the potential to be the best in 2014?
PFW's Andy Hart says ...
While there are admittedly still a number of questions at this early point, the Patriots 2014 defense has the potential to be as good and productive a unit as we've seen in New England in a long time.
Darrelle Revis is an elite, shutdown corner who has the ability to transform a unit. There is depth throughout the cornerback position with the addition of Brandon Browner to the returning mix. Linebacker has a trio of young, athletic versatile playmakers with high potential, led by the possible star-in-the-making Jamie Collins. Up front the line is as deep as it's been in a couple years and even the pass rush will get a boost from Will Smith. Chandler Jones is ready to become a Pro Bowl talent and consistent force off the edge.
Best of all, Matt Patricia has shown the inclination to be more creative and aggressive up front. Put it all together and defense may just be ready to take over the reins of New England's winning ways in 2014. The sky's the limit.
PFW's Paul Perillo says ...
If we're talking strictly about potential this offense all the way for me, and it's a pretty simple equation – if Rob Gronkowski is healthy the offense will be its normally productive self.
Last season when Gronk was in the lineup Tom Brady had no trouble lighting up the scoreboard. The Patriots scored 27 or more points (including a 55-point effort) in six of the seven games in which the tight end appeared. If he's on the field, those kinds of numbers will continue.
I also think with some added time to develop a connection with his young receivers, Brady will be more comfortable allowing them more opportunities to produce. Whereas last year it was pretty much Julian Edelman or bust, this year Brady will have more options.
Will the offense battle the 2007 group for an all-time record? Probably not, but as long as Gronk is healthy the potential for an explosive unit exists.
Now it's your turn to cast a vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.