For weeks, we've heard nothing but questions about the Patriots' no-name receiving corps. The doubters were calling for Belichick's head and longing for Deion Branch and Brandon Llyod to come walking back through the door. Four wins and zero losses later, it seems pretty clear that Tom Brady will do just fine this year with the trio of rookies, Edelman, and the returning Gronk and Amendola. Now there's a new quesiton to be asked.
How the heck are the Patriots going to survive without Vince Wilfork for the rest of the season?
It's a good question. It's one that I'm not certain even Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft have the answer to right at the moment. Sure, there's the whole "next man up" and "team defense" angles that are valid for some degree. Joe Vellano and Chris Jones certainly filled in admirably on short notice on Sunday Night and give me some hope that this is just a setback for the Patriost as opposed to a fatal blow. But if you take a look at the Patriots depth chart, there are frighteningly few defensive linemen. And if at some point, Tommy Kelly goes down, then what?
The Patriots need to bring in some warm bodies, preferrably large ones. Kyle Love is the name that makes the most sense right off the bat, as he's familiar with the scheme and was cut for non-football health reasons. Richard Seymour is a name that certainly sounds appealing, but I think that ship has sailed. Maybe trader Bill can work some magic and pull a nose tackle out of a hat by dangling a late-round pick like he did with Aqib Talib last year. A switch to the 3-4 may solve some problems as well, but it's hard to say if that's a smart decision given how well the defense has played as a whole this season in the 4-3.
At any rate, there's a big hole to fill in the center of New England's defense. A very big hole.
Get digging, Bill.