NFL Network has been featuring its "32 in 32 series" -- a look at 32 teams in 32 days -- and the spotlight was on the Patriots on Monday. Former New England linebacker Willie McGinest shared his thoughts on the team, forecasting an 11-5 record.
Given all the changes with the passing offense, McGinest envisions the running game becoming more of a factor.
“It’s going to have to be big," he says. "If you look at it, they’re probably going to have to run the ball a little bit more and I think they’ll lean on that because they have two very good running backs with [Stevan] Ridley and [Shane] Vereen. Vereen creates those mismatches as we’ve seen in the playoffs with linebackers when you motion him out and put him on linebackers."
McGinest didn't hesitate when asked who quarterback Tom Brady will miss more -- Wes Welker or Aaron Hernandez.
“It’s Wes Welker, without a doubt," he says. "Here’s a guy with 600-plus receptions in the last six years …You talk about somebody who [Tom Brady] trusts, a guy he can go to who has been consistent, a guy that Tom knows that wherever he puts that ball, whatever adjustments he tells him to make, Wes is going to come up with those big plays. Wes has been one of the top receivers – if not the top receiver – as far as a quarterback connection with the receiver in the league. Aaron Hernandez was a really good player, up and coming, but when you talk about a guy like Wes, he was everything to the Patriots for the last six years.”
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