A lot has happened in New England since Josh McDaniels left the Patriots for Denver two years ago. For starters, none of the running backs will look familiar. Fred Taylor and Lawrence Maroney are long gone. Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris are on the outside looking for a way back in. Danny Woodhead has become the hold over veteran. Joseph Addai, has joined the fold, and two second year players, Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen look to spearhead the Patriots rushing attack. The tight end position is no longer lead by Benjamin Watson and Chris Baker’s unfulfilled promises of potential. Instead third year players Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez lead Tom Brady’s aerial attack.

The receivers, however, won’t require a role call for McDaniels to remember the names. Deion Branch and Jabar Gaffney have returned, while Wes Welker, Matt Slater and Julian Edelman never left. McDaniels even managed to bring along Brandon Lloyd who blossomed under his offense in Denver and followed him last year to St. Louis. (Donte Stallworth is also on his second go round with the team.) It’s a lot of toys for the pass happy OC to play with, but how will the playing time be distributed? And I’m not even mentioning the potential increase of passes to Danny Woodhead who could be taking over the role of Kevin Faulk in his prime.

In particular, how does McDaniels handle Aaron Hernandez? Gronkowski is a big bodied blocker, who just so happens to also have great hands, and break away speed, so I’m not to worried about his production or playing time. Hernandez, however, owed many of his snaps lats year to a subpar group of receivers allowing for the use of near constant two TE sets. That’s no longer the case, and while I’m not suggesting the former Florida product will just disappear from the offense, I don’t think he’ll approach 1000 yards receiving  the way he did this year. Of course, Matt Light’s departure could potentially leave a need for Gronk to stay in and block more if Nate Solder struggles at LT, leaving Hernandez to run free, overmatching whatever safety of linebacker get the task of trying to contain him.

So, what about Brandon Lloyd? He’s flourished under McDaniels with a lot less than Tom Brady to work with, but he also had a lot less competition for his QB’s attention. Lloyd may not be new to McDaniels but he is new to Brady, and chemistry matters, especially with a group this talented. Brady clicks with his new receiver B. Lloyd could put up Moss-esque numbers in New England. Of course, Moss never had to compete with the Incredible Gronk.

Bottom-Line McDaniels has the ultimate kid in a candy store line-up headed into the 2012 season. But that expression is played out, so let’s try a new one. McDaniels has a Power Rangers line-up. They’re all capable of delivering individual ass kickings, and even more powerful when working as a team, but if McDaniels can call upon the power of the Megazord, not even Rita’s Giant (get it?) monsters can stand in their way…so I guess Tom Coughlin and/or Perry Fewell, would be Rita? It’s a little convoluted but you get what I’m saying.


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