Xtane

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