The NFL long off-season is highlighted by free agency and the draft has teams try and improve their certain sections of their team from a year ago. When a team fails to win a Super Bowl they often look back at games that they lost and try and pinpoint the reason for the loss.
Two very good teams, the New York Giants and New England Patriots had obvious weaknesses that were exploited all season long.
For the New York Giants, the problem was the offensive line. Eli Manning ran for his life most of the season and had problems with interceptions as he attempted to force plays when under duress. With problem areas all across the O-line, the Giants came into the free-agency period committed to an overhaul. Diehl retired, Baas was released, Boothe moved on to sign with Oakland and the team didn’t tender RFA Cordle, leaving him as an unrestricted free agent. 32-year-old guard Chris Snee missed most of 2013 with a hip injury and took a pay cut to stick around another year rather than retiring, leaving tackles Will Beatty and rookie bright spot Justin Pugh as the only sure starters. That left the team with holes to be filled, but they quickly reacted.
The team started in free agency. They landed the best guard on the market, Geoff Schwartz, ranked eighth according to many of the experts around the league. JD Walton also was brought in to bolster the interior offensive line and just like that, the Giants have some protection for Manning heading into this season.
The Patriots also had some big issues, but their problems were in the defensive secondary. These issues were quickly exploited by the Denver Broncos in the playoffs. To make matters worse the Patriots lost the only good cornerback they had to their rival when Aquib Talib left for the Mile High City.
The Patriots had to answer. Hours after officially being released by Tampa Bay, Darrelle Revis had an agreement in place with the Patriots. In each of his last two healthy seasons, Revis was the best corner on the market and is tops in the game. He likely will have a far-reaching impact on the New England defense. Not done there, though, the Patriots added big-bodied Browner who after serving his suspension will provide an answer on the other side. These vast improvements in the secondary will help the Patriots especially when they face pass happy opponents like the Broncos.
All teams are hoping to improve their teams in the off-season, but even before the upcoming draft in May, the Patriots and the Giants have sent notice to the league that they will be vastly improved this season.
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