FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Capturing the theme of Valentine’s Day, when you needed to choose 4 issues to like in regards to the New England Patriots coming into 2018, what would they be?
A couple of ideas:
Gilmore might need been greatest defender by season’s finish. The Patriots’ aggressive plunge into free company final offseason — particularly with a five-year, $65 million deal for cornerback Stephon Gilmore — wasn’t trying so scorching after 4 video games. Gilmore then missed three consecutive video games with a concussion. However the extra the soft-spoken Gilmore gained consolation within the workforce’s system, the extra the outcomes improved. The 27-year-old was enjoying his greatest soccer within the AFC Championship Recreation and Tremendous Bowl LII.
Continuity on the teaching workers. Invoice Belichick will likely be again for his 19th season in 2018, which is an effective place to start out on what has been an essential improvement over the previous week or so: Outdoors of defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s departure to grow to be Lions head coach, the Patriots aren’t taking a look at main modifications on their teaching workers. Such stability is uncommon within the NFL, and there appeared to be a renewed vitality across the membership after offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ choice to stay round, which had a trickle-down impact on others.
Kirk Cousins. Jimmy Graham. Le’Veon Bell. This class may get wild. This is all the pieces to know heading into free company, which begins March 12.
Brady nonetheless slinging it at 40. How for much longer Tom Brady will be capable of maintain off Father Time and play at an elite stage is of course a prime query. Nicely, he couldn’t have completed the 2017 season/playoffs a lot stronger than he did, throwing for 505 yards in Tremendous Bowl LII to spark a stage of confidence that he can proceed to raise his efficiency as his age rises.
Amendola’s clutch efficiency within the playoffs. Large receiver Danny Amendola, who has taken a pay lower every of the previous three years to return to the workforce, earned the nickname “Playoff ‘Dola” due to how he got here by way of in these conditions (26 catches for 348 yards and two touchdowns in three playoff video games this season). The 32-year-old is an unrestricted free agent coming into 2018, and so long as he desires to maintain enjoying, he’s a vital piece for the workforce to re-sign. Amendola confirmed decisively that he nonetheless has it.
EXTRA POINT: Not a foul day to focus on that the Patriots have defensive finish Trey Flowers and a strong core special-teams participant in Marquis Flowers, with 2016 third-round choose Vincent Valentine working his means again to probably add depth at defensive deal with in 2018. Two Flowers and a Valentine match the theme of Feb. 14, which can be the 46th birthday of Patriots Corridor of Famer Drew Bledsoe.