Reduce the offense in '12?

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
10:45
AM ET
In a Bill Simmons "BS Report" podcast from earlier this year, Mike Lombardi of NFL Network opined on the Patriots' offense and said the following:
"I think they have to go back and redefine themselves. They've become a little bit like the Miami Dolphins when they had Danny Marino and only [Mark] Clayton and [Mark] Duper could play. The volume of offense became so great that no young player or any experienced player could come in and do it. .. They have to clean up the system."

When considering the team's struggles in developing young receivers in recent years (Bethel Johnson, Chad Jackson, Brandon Tate, Taylor Price), could this be the key?

Later, when speaking about Josh McDaniels joining the Patriots as offensive coordinator, Lombardi added: "I think he'll redefine the offense. I think it will become a little different. It will become a little bit more power, a little bit more back to where they were in, say, '07."

When Lombardi talks about more power, the thought here is the running game. Perhaps this ties in to the recent focus at fullback and signing a third tight end.

And when the focus is on going back to the '07 model, Lombardi notes in the podcast that he's referring to throwing the ball down the field more. He said that perhaps the Patriots got into too much of a comfort zone with the "dink-and-dunk" stuff.

Lombardi's analysis, which is often spot-on when it comes to the Patriots, might have been missed because it came in the aftermath of the Super Bowl when some followers were in an "I'm-not-ready-to-read-or-listen-to-media" period.

So we're bringing it back out today and asking the question, "What do you think?"

YOUR TURN: Share your thoughts on Lombardi's analysis in the comments section of this blog.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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