Each week we'll talk to former Patriots star and current broadcaster Gino Cappelletti. This week, Gino talked about what the Patriots' offense will look like without Randy Moss and how an early bye week benefits the young defense.
PFW: How will the offense move on without Randy Moss?
Cappelletti: He was targeted for one pass in that Monday-night game. You don't necessarily have to have someone stretch the defense all the time, just every now and then. Brandon Tate is coming on strong, Taylor Price and Matthew Slater — these are guys with a great deal of speed. Let's accept one thing, Randy Moss is a talent; he is an extremely strong receiver when the ball is in the air and he has an ability a lot of players don't have in terms of bringing the ball in. Now you have two tight ends that are really great pass catchers, I think it is important having them more involved in the offense. You have (Wes) Welker and (Julian) Edelman in the underneath passes, and Tate is really developing into an outstanding player.
PFW: What was the biggest improvement you saw on defense in Monday night's win over the Dolphins?
Cappelletti: It was a combination of the Patriots playing a little better on defense than what they showed the previous week, and Chad Henne contributed to it as well. In the first quarter, he had guys open and was getting the ball to them. All of a sudden he went a little soft on some of his throws and drilled a couple of balls into the ground to open receivers. When you grab a lead like the Patriots did, you are forcing them to throw the ball. The Patriots can play pass defense knowing the Dolphins have to pass to get going, and that helped the team get a defensive stand. Special-teams play really went in their favor, but you can't rely on that every game. They capitalized on that, and it helped force the Dolphins to play a game that they didn't want to.
PFW: What does it mean for the Patriots to have an early bye week?
Cappelletti: For a young team like the Patriots, it's probably good that they had it early, because now they get an extra week of preparation to go over things. They probably need to gain a little more experience and can look at more film during this off week. They will be practicing more and it actually might benefit the Patriots to help them understand things defensively better. Now, an older, more experienced team might want it later in the year to give everyone a break before finishing out the season. It all depends on how it hits each team.