Before last season, only a desperate Jet fan could come up with reasons for the Patriots' dynasty to crumble. Some wondered about the effects of losing Damien Woody and Ted Washington and a few even made a big deal of the Patriots losing Mike Compton, Damon Huard, Antowain Smith. This year even loyal Patriot fans are looking at signs that the dynasty might be ending.
- The loss of Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Roman Phifer, Keith Traylor, and Ty Law on defense
- The loss of Joe Andruzzi and David Patten on offense
- The loss of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel and not hiring a new offensive coordinator
- The Richard Seymour holdout
- Losing players on defense: in each of the Patriots Super Bowl seasons, they had to deal with major injury problems. Unlike the seasons before, the Patriots actually have been able to prepare for these important losses. They drafted a corner, a safety, and a linebacker, they signed defensive backs Duane Starks and Chad Scott, and they signed linebackers Chad Brown and Monty Beisel. They've also been developing young linebackers that may be able to step in soon.
- Losing players on offense: again, the Pats have dealt with this before. They've had third stringers playing on the offensive line against the best pass rushers in the game in the last two Super Bowls. I liked Patten, but they have plenty of replacements for him.
- The coaching losses may be the biggest concern, but the Patriots have been expecting to lose Crennel and Weis for the last three years. I'm sure Belichick prepared for this.
- I'm assuming Seymour will eventually play and if he doesn't, the Pats have good depth on the defensive line. I'm also not worried about the Patriots having a disgruntled player. When Lawyer Milloy was released the whole team was disgruntled, and they still managed to win the Super Bowl.
- The improved health of Roosevelt Colvin, Ben Watson, Rodney Bailey, Gus Scott, Ty Poole, and some offensive linemen.
- Maturity and expected improvement from young players such as Watson, Scott, Eugene Wilson, Asante Samuel, Dan Klecko, Randall Gay, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Tully Banta-Cain, Marquise Hill, David Givens, and Deion Branch. I think it's safe to say that none of these players have reached their full potential yet.
- Better depth at quarterback with the addition of Doug Flutie
- Improved depth at wide receiver with the additions of P.K. Sam, Tim Dwight and David Terrell.
- Improved special teams with the additions of Chad Morton and Tim Dwight.
- Improved depth in the secondary with the additions of Chad Scott and Duane Starks, players returning from injuries, and a few draft picks.
- The Patriots' draft class. Two years ago it was Koppen and Wilson, last year it was Wilfork. The Patriots usually have at least one rookie who becomes a big contributer.
Sure, I'm worried about the impact of the Patriots' losses this offseason, but I'm also excited about the weapons they still have and the weapons they may add.