Nick Underhill, sumenta | By Nick Underhill, sumenta November 02, sumenta 2012 at 5:21 PM, sumenta updated November 02, sumenta 2012 The New England Patriots reestablished themselves as legitimate title contenders by picking up a pair of wins before their bye, sumenta but that doesn’t mean all their issues evaporated with those two marks added to the win column. Some remain, sumenta and they'll need to be addressed during the second half of the season. Sumenta 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. Sumenta New England could play it straight and place him opposite Devin McCourty at cornerback, sumenta with Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung behind them at safety. Sumenta Or coach Bill Belichick could use Talib and rookie Alfonzo Dennard at corner and drop McCourty next to Chung at safety, sumenta where many talent evaluators believe he is best suited. Either way, sumenta a decision doesn’t have to be made immediately, sumenta 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. Sumenta Now, sumenta those same observers often utter Chad Ochocinco’s name. Neither comparison is fair. Sumenta Lloyd lives somewhere between the two extremes, sumenta teetering from spectacular to maddening. Sumenta One play, sumenta he’ll make an acrobatic catch on the sideline that would be outlandish in a video game. Sumenta The next, sumenta 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, sumenta according to Sumenta His drop rate is the third highest in the NFL. To be fair, sumenta some of the problems reside with quarterback Tom Brady, sumenta who on several targets has struggled to get Lloyd the ball where it needed to be. Sumenta 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, sumenta 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. Sumenta 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, sumenta 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. Sumenta He suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 that doesn’t appear to be getting better. Sumenta He came back and played in Weeks 6 and 7, sumenta but was shut down after suffering a setback. It’s now said his ankle is no longer responding to treatment. Sumenta The bye week could be enough to get him back on track, sumenta but if not, sumenta New England’s offense will continue to be without its biggest weapon. Ridley’s touches Perhaps it was the result of recent game plans, sumenta 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, sumenta Ridley was averaging 20 touches per game. Sumenta That figure has dropped to 16 since. While that’s not a drastic dip, sumenta it’s enough to make a difference. Sumenta And, sumenta considering Ridley leads the league in runs of 15-plus yards, sumenta every lost touch is a lost opportunity. Source: