Quick-hit thoughts around NFL & Pats

July, 31, 2011
7/31/11
5:00
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Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the Patriots:

1. When considering the Patriots’ next significant move, I think it has to come along the offensive line. Although it wouldn’t be a signing that generates much excitement, the return of Matt Light would be the boost the line needs.

2. The Eagles will be one of the NFL’s most intriguing teams to watch after acquiring cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in a trade and then signing cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency. While those moves drew accolades, they also reflected that they weren’t happy with cornerback Asante Samuel just three years after giving him a big contract.

3. One offseason move that shouldn’t be overlooked from a Patriots perspective is the Dolphins’ hiring of Brian Daboll as offensive coordinator. Daboll is a former Patriots assistant who left the club with Eric Mangini, so he has a background in the system. He hatched the offensive plan last November that helped the Browns thump the Patriots. He could scheme up some fits against the Patriots.

4. From afar, the Seahawks’ decision-making at quarterback seems curious. Tavaris Jackson over Matt Hasselbeck? Doesn’t seem close to me.

5. Where is Patriots defensive lineman Ron Brace? The 2009 Patriots second-round pick has opened training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list for the second straight year and is getting close to a crossroads in his career.

6. Wonder if Robert Kraft will take a cue from Colts owner Jim Irsay and start tweeting details of contract agreements. That’s what Irsay did Saturday with Peyton Manning’s extension. Classic.

7. The Panthers paid big for defensive end Charles Johnson, who had a breakout season in 2010 with 11.5 sacks. Johnson was a third-round pick in the 2007 draft out of Georgia, showing that rising pass-rushers don’t always have to be top picks.

8. Damien Woody, who entered the NFL in 1999 with the Patriots, has announced his retirement. Look for Woody to emerge somewhere in broadcasting, as he has a lot to offer in that area. If not for his struggles with the shotgun snap, he probably would have been a Patriot longer (1999-2003).

9. I like the Reggie Bush trade for the Dolphins, but if the options are Chad Henne and Matt Moore at quarterback, I don't think that's good enough in the AFC East.

10. Keep an eye on Julian Edelman as a player who could be a bigger-than-expected contributor on offense in 2011. It's only a few training camp practices, but he seems to have earned the trust of Tom Brady on the field.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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