Balancing the spread and physicality

Can a team run a spread offense and still establish a physical identity?

That was one question that came to mind after reading ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer's thoughts on the 2009 Patriots offense, as penned by ESPN AFC reporter Tim Graham.

Dilfer believes the Patriots' offense was exposed last season, a result of being in the shotgun with three-receiver sets too much. He thinks we could see a different look from the team in 2010 because of the offseason focus on upgrading at tight end -- a position that creates more multiple-set opportunities.

If that transformation takes place, the identity of the Patriots' offense could be different than the past few years.

It could help the offense become a more physical unit.

“We know we have good guys, quality players, but we have to be a more physical team, a mentally tougher team," left tackle Matt Light said back in January on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" program. "We have to be guys that act like we’ve been there and done it before.”

One day after Bill Belichick said that this time of year is filled with "thinking about strategies and adjustments and all those kind of things", Dilfer's analysis makes one wonder if there is an offensive identity shift taking place behind the scenes.