Patriots Roster Comparison: 2010 vs 2011

Danny Woodhead Patriots RB

Yeah, I'll take this guy over Maroney.

NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed

If the 2010 Patriots matched up against the 2011 Patriots, who gets the edge? After the jump, we pick sides.

QUARTERBACKS

2010: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer
2011: Brady, Hoyer, Ryan Mallett

Brady may be a year older, but until he shows signs of aging, I’ll safely assume he’ll continue to be the best quarterback in the league. Hoyer is a year older and a year better and Ryan Mallett is either the future QB of this team or tradebait for a future first round pick.

Edge: 2011

RUNNING BACKS

2010: Kevin Faulk, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor
2011: Green-Ellis, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead

Lawfirm is the only holdover on the 53 man roster from last season’s week 1 roster (remember Woodhead came in after week 1). A jolt of youth improves this squad with the addition of Ridley and Vereen. The Pats didn’t skip a beat transitioning from Faulk to Woodhead as a third down back. Each back gives the Patriots a different look and no RB on this roster should be in long enough to get fatigued.

Edge: 2011

WIDE RECEIVERS

2010: Julian Edelman, Randy Moss, Taylor Price, Matthew Slater, Brandon Tate, Wes Welker
2011: Deion Branch, Edelman, Ochocinco, Price, Slater, Welker

The question here is, do we base the 2010 WR crew based on what we knew then? Or what we know now? If it’s then, I might have to give the 2010 WRs the nod since Moss was so impressive in 2009. Since Moss was ineffective on all three teams he played for, it’s obvious the 2011 WRs are better. Branch and Ochocinco may be getting older, but there’s nothing like a little Brady juice to put a hop in your step. Welker will continue to man the slot and Taylor Price has the ability to stretch the field with his size and speed. Edelman adds a real threat in the return game with his elusiveness and Matthew Slater certainly looked improved as a WR during the 2011 preseason.

Edge: 2011

TIGHT END

2010: Alge Crumpler, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez
2011: Dan Gronkowski, Gronkowski, Hernandez

Older Gronk may not be the blocker that Crumpler was, but adding a year of experience to younger Gronk and Hernandez improves this unit tenfold even without a typical offseason. If last season was Gronkowski and Hernandez’s breakout, this season might be their evolution. Gronkowski should continue to be a red zone threat and Hernandez can not only stretch the field, but he might also be the hardest target to cover this season for the Pats.

Edge: 2011

OFFENSIVE LINE

2010: Dan Connolly, Nick Kaczur, Dan Koppen, Mark LeVoir, Matt Light, Steve Maneri, Stephen Neal, Sebastian Vollmer, Ryan Wendell
2011: Connolly, Koppen, Light, Logan Mankins, Nate Solder, Vollmer, Brian Waters, Wendell

The Patriots are carrying one less offensive lineman this season, which should give you a hint that Vollmer is probably more healthy than his recent practice history is suggesting. The Patriots lost a great player in Neal, but getting 16 games out of Mankins will be a major addition. Even if Waters doesn’t work out, Connolly proved to be more than capable as a backup guard last season. Solder gives the team a great backup at tackle if Light or Vollmer should miss extended time. The Patriots have seven starting caliber players on this squad.

Edge: 2011

DEFENSIVE LINE

2010: Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love, Myron Pryor, Gerard Warren, Vince Wilfork, Mike Wright
2011: Mark Anderson, Andre Carter, Jermaine Cunningham, Shaun Ellis, Albert Haynesworth, Love, Pryor, Wilfork, Wright

This has got to be the Patriots most improved squad in 2011, right? The addition of Anderson, Carter, Ellis and Haynesworth adds a major element that the Pats didn’t have last year: a pass rush. The depth of this unit will allow a steady rotation of players coming in and out. As long as the Patriots opponents don’t use a barrage of no huddle, the New England line should never get tired.

Edge: 2011

LINEBACKERS

2010: Tully Banta-Cain, Cunningham, Dane Fletcher, Gary Guyton, Jerod Mayo, Marques Murrell, Rob Ninkovich, Brandon Spikes, Tracy White
2011: A.J. Edds, Fletcher, Guyton, Mayo, Ninkovich, Spikes, Jeff Tarpinian, White

This is a unit that I’m glad stayed together for the most part. I think it’s safe to say the 2011 Pats aren’t missing Banta-Cain or Murrell much. A year of experience will help Fletcher and Spikes, both of whom should be manning the MLB spot in the Pats 4-3 base. Mayo should be playing all over the place and Ninkovich will typically be a pass rusher in this alignment. This is another deep unit, I wouldn’t expect anyone other that Mayo to play more than 75% of the snaps on the season.

Edge: 2011

DEFENSIVE BACKS

2010: Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty, Brandon Meriweather, Jarrad Page, James Sanders, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite
2011: Arrington, Josh Barrett, Leigh Bodden, Sergio Brown, Chung, Ras-I Dowling, James Ihedigo, McCourty, Antwaun Molden

This is probably the closest we’ll get to seeing a 2010 squad being better than 2011. Still, with Leigh Bodden coming back as the Pats CB2, that’s a bigger improvement than Sanders/Meriweather are at safety. I’m predicting a major breakthrough season for Chung this season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take the Pro Bowl spot Meriweather grabbed last season. My biggest question here going into 2011 is who is the Patriots third cornerback? I believe it will eventually be Dowling, but I don’t think he’s ready for week 1. I think Arrington will be the first CB off the bench, but I’m sure we’ll see Dowling and Molden in week 1. I’ll bet Barrett and Brown split snaps with Chung being the only safety on the field at times.

Edge: 2011

SPECIAL TEAMS

2010: Stephen Gostkowski, Jake Ingram, Zoltan Mesko
2011: Danny Aiken, Gostkowski, Mesko

Last year there may have been some doubt about Zoltan, this year we know he’ll be one of the best (and most entertaining) punters in the league. I have no idea about Aiken and Gostkowski is coming off of an injury. To hedge my optimism a little bit, I’ll give the edge to 2010 here.

Edge: 2010

RESERVE

2010: Barrett, Bodden, George Bussey, Bret Lockett, Brandon McGowan, Quin Ojinnaka, Darryl Richard, Ty Warren, Kade Weston, Mankins
2011: Brace, Marcus Cannon, Christian Cox, Deaderick, Faulk, Kyle Hix, Lockett, Rich Ohrnberger

New England is actually in a good situation this year with their pup players. Brace, Deaderick, Faulk and Cannon could be very helpful come week 7 if the Pats have any major injuries. In 2010 some of the Patriots best players were not on the week 1 roster.

Edge: 2011

PRACTICE SQUAD

2010: Brown, Tony Carter, Shawn Crable, Javarris James, Darnell Jenkins, Tyrone McKenzie, Prince Miller, Rich Ohrnberger
2011: Markell Carter, Eric Kettani, Matt Kopa, Aaron Lavarias, Nick McDonald, Kerry Taylor, Ross Ventrone, Thomas Welch

The Patriots had a current starter on their 2010 practice squad, I doubt that will be the case with any of this year’s practice squad members.

Edge: 2010

So am I being too optimistic? Do you see any positions where you’d give the edge to the 2010 week 1 roster? I believe the Patriots are in great shape going into 2011. Our biggest question mark is in our secondary, but with Leigh Bodden coming back, it’s already improved from last year.

Tags: Danny Woodhead, Roster

8 Responses to “Patriots Roster Comparison: 2010 vs 2011”

  1. Lundahl says:

    Warren is coing back after week 1, I’m pretty sure of what I’m saying.

  2. TomDickHarry says:

    arrington and dowling

  3. qwerty says:

    >who is the Patriots third cornerback?

    which is why they should have released Butler next year. even when dowling gets the hang of it, the same question will arise if a cb goes on IR

    • TD says:

      Why would you want to keep a guy that cannot cover anyone in any situation in any scheme? He just is not able to cover guys for this team. Keeping him stops us from getting good football players that could help us like last year (Woodhead comes to mind)

    • Doug Kyed says:

      Bodden will be our slot CB, so Butler wouldn’t have been the third CB anyway. It has to be a corner who can cover outside receivers which even you have agreed – he can’t.

  4. TD says:

    One thing for certain, we are going to see a different strategy/look from the DB’s. Probably going to get more press coverage and hybrid DB’s like Brown, Barrett, Dowling that are bigger and/or more physical at LOS to support the new pass rushers.






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