Free Speman

Nick Underhill, free speman | By Nick Underhill, free speman November 02, free speman 2012 at 5:21 PM, free speman updated November 02, free speman 2012 The New England Patriots reestablished themselves as legitimate title contenders by picking up a pair of wins before their bye, free speman but that doesn’t mean all their issues evaporated with those two marks added to the win column. Some remain, free speman and they'll need to be addressed during the second half of the season. Free speman Here’s a look at a few of them: How does Aqib Talib fit in to the picture? The Patriots' move to acquire Aqib Talib from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should – assuming the troubled cornerback avoids the dark forces that have plagued his career – immediately improve a secondary that has given up more plays of 20-plus yards than any team in the league. The bigger question is where he will fit in. Free speman New England could play it straight and place him opposite Devin McCourty at cornerback, free speman with Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung behind them at safety. Free speman Or coach Bill Belichick could use Talib and rookie Alfonzo Dennard at corner and drop McCourty next to Chung at safety, free speman where many talent evaluators believe he is best suited. Either way, free speman a decision doesn’t have to be made immediately, free speman since Talib has one game remaining on a performance-enhancing drug suspension. Can Brandon Lloyd be a legitimate threat? Brandon Lloyd made enough spectacular plays during training camp to lead many observers to summon Randy Moss’ name. Free speman Now, free speman those same observers often utter Chad Ochocinco’s name. Neither comparison is fair. Free speman Lloyd lives somewhere between the two extremes, free speman teetering from spectacular to maddening. Free speman One play, free speman he’ll make an acrobatic catch on the sideline that would be outlandish in a video game. Free speman The next, free speman he’ll needlessly flail at a catchable ball and let it fall to the turf. Lloyd has dropped six of the 43 catchable balls thrown to him, free speman according to Free speman His drop rate is the third highest in the NFL. To be fair, free speman some of the problems reside with quarterback Tom Brady, free speman who on several targets has struggled to get Lloyd the ball where it needed to be. Free speman That’s a problem that needs to be rectified in order for the passing lanes to open up to players working the middle of the field. When that consistency is reached, free speman the Patriots' offense should soar. Health of tight ends It’s easy to overlook this concern since New England once again has the top offense in the NFL. Free speman But things could be even better if tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were at full health. Gronkowski has been battling hip and back injuries that kept him down for most of the first six weeks, free speman but he finally appears to be nearing the standard he set during last year’s record-setting season after catching 14 passes for 224 yards and four touchdowns the last two weeks. Hernandez is the bigger concern. Free speman He suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 that doesn’t appear to be getting better. Free speman He came back and played in Weeks 6 and 7, free speman but was shut down after suffering a setback. It’s now said his ankle is no longer responding to treatment. Free speman The bye week could be enough to get him back on track, free speman but if not, free speman New England’s offense will continue to be without its biggest weapon. Ridley’s touches Perhaps it was the result of recent game plans, free speman but it's possible running back Stevan Ridley lost the trust of his coaching staff after fumbling in back-to-back weeks against the Bills and Broncos. Before the second dropped ball, free speman Ridley was averaging 20 touches per game. Free speman That figure has dropped to 16 since. While that’s not a drastic dip, free speman it’s enough to make a difference. Free speman And, free speman considering Ridley leads the league in runs of 15-plus yards, free speman every lost touch is a lost opportunity. Source: