Infection

Nick Underhill, infection MassLive.com MassLive.com | By Nick Underhill, infection MassLive.com November 02, infection 2012 at 5:21 PM, infection updated November 02, infection 2012 The New England Patriots reestablished themselves as legitimate title contenders by picking up a pair of wins before their bye, infection but that doesn’t mean all their issues evaporated with those two marks added to the win column. Some remain, infection and they'll need to be addressed during the second half of the season. Infection 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. Infection New England could play it straight and place him opposite Devin McCourty at cornerback, infection with Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung behind them at safety. Infection Or coach Bill Belichick could use Talib and rookie Alfonzo Dennard at corner and drop McCourty next to Chung at safety, infection where many talent evaluators believe he is best suited. Either way, infection a decision doesn’t have to be made immediately, infection 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. Infection Now, infection those same observers often utter Chad Ochocinco’s name. Neither comparison is fair. Infection Lloyd lives somewhere between the two extremes, infection teetering from spectacular to maddening. Infection One play, infection he’ll make an acrobatic catch on the sideline that would be outlandish in a video game. Infection The next, infection 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, infection according to ProFootballFocus.com. Infection His drop rate is the third highest in the NFL. To be fair, infection some of the problems reside with quarterback Tom Brady, infection who on several targets has struggled to get Lloyd the ball where it needed to be. Infection 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, infection 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. Infection 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, infection 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. Infection He suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 that doesn’t appear to be getting better. Infection He came back and played in Weeks 6 and 7, infection but was shut down after suffering a setback. It’s now said his ankle is no longer responding to treatment. Infection The bye week could be enough to get him back on track, infection but if not, infection New England’s offense will continue to be without its biggest weapon. Ridley’s touches Perhaps it was the result of recent game plans, infection 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, infection Ridley was averaging 20 touches per game. Infection That figure has dropped to 16 since. While that’s not a drastic dip, infection it’s enough to make a difference. Infection And, infection considering Ridley leads the league in runs of 15-plus yards, infection every lost touch is a lost opportunity. Source: http://blog.masslive.com/patriots/2012/11/brandon_lloyds_consistency_aqi.html