With so much of last year’s successful team back, the Patriots were in a good spot going into 2011.
But that didn’t stop them from stocking up on talent — mostly on the lines.
The offensive line won’t look any different — at least when it comes to starters. The futures of Logan Mankins and Matt Light were up in the air prior to the start of training camp, but both will be back. The rest of the core will return, too.
Bill Belichick added some depth in front of Tom Brady when he drafted Nate Solder in the first round. He’s expected to take over for Light when the veteran’s contract runs out in 2013, but Solder can play the right side, too.
The defensive line, meanwhile, could end up being entirely different from last year.
Will the Pats play a 3-4 or a 4-3? The short answer: Both ... which is why Belichick added just about every talented D-lineman under the sun in the last few weeks.
Some will be used at outside linebacker, too, most likely to add rushers in a blitz package. Look for new guys Andre Carter and Mark Anderson to be slotted there occasionally.
If Albert Haynesworth is healthy and motivated, opposing quarterbacks will be under pressure often — something that didn’t happen last season.
With the new guys and a ton of different looks, New England will definitely keep its foes guessing.