Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New England Patriots [Print without images]

Monday, July 25, 2011
Pats viewed to be least affected by lockout

By Mike Reiss

One of the common themes this offseason was that teams with a returning head coach and quarterback would have an advantage over others when the lockout ended.

This point is highlighted in a Pro Football Weekly piece that picks the three teams hurt most by the lockout, and the three teams affected least by the lockout. The Patriots are in the latter category.

"The team with the best record in 2010 not only is expected to return all its key starters, but also will get some defensive players back that missed all of last season. DE Ty Warren and CB Leigh Bodden will return to improve a unit that used opportunistic play to make up for a poor passing 'D'," writes Eli Kaberon.

"The only thing hanging in the balance is the future of OLT Matt Light and OLG Logan Mankins. If they are re-signed, there will be essentially no turnover on the field. Bill Belichick systematically drafted mostly developmental prospects and won't have to worry about rushing rookies into learning the team's complex playbook to get on the field early."

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com wrote a similar piece three days ago.