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