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Around the AFC East: Week Three (NE)

In our final weekly installment of Around the AFC East, MaPatsFan joins us to discuss a player whose absence was felt for much of the beginning of the Patriots' season in 2007: DE Richard Seymour.

Brlogo_medium    Injuries and only having to play for two quarters in most games caused Richard Seymour to have an un-Seymour-like 2007 season.  At age 28, is Seymour primed to rebound to his old self in '08 and restore prominence to a strong Patriots defensive line?

Patspulpit_s_medium    Pats Pulpit: Seymour is, without a doubt, the best defensive lineman the Pats have.  Possibly considered one of the best in the NFL (5 straight pro bowls to prove it), yeah it was a huge loss not to have him 100% in 2007.  Because the Pats run a 3-4, they don't typically rush their DEs, preferring to leave that to the OLBs.  Seymour's experience and size (6-6, 310 lbs) means he fits perfectly in a 3-4 DL situation, closing up holes and jamming up offensive lineman.  Add to that his quickness and speed, you could see why the Pats defensive line had trouble.

There is, not surprisingly, little information about Seymour's condition coming out of the Patriots organization.  Belichick is typically very closed mouth, even up to game time when he has to report the condition of his players.  In a January 11th Boston Globe article, Mike Reiss asked Seymour if he's 100% and he said, "No, I'm not."  Knee surgery and recovery for a guy that big is tough.  I'm very hesitant to say he'll be back to full glory.  Who knows, maybe he pushed himself so hard in the past he burned up his body for good.  I certainly hope not.

If I'm a Pats fan, I'm a bit concerned about this.  MaPatsFan has it right - Seymour is their best defensive player, let alone defensive lineman, and if he's not healthy, it hurts a defense that has already suffered through massive change this off-season.  New England's defense thrives on its linebacker play, but if Seymour isn't 100% heading into the season, their front seven won't be operating at full capacity.  Couple that with the team's new-look defensive backfield, and the Pats could be looking at some big problems defensively - even if they only last through the early part of the season.

That's all she wrote for the interview portion of this week's Around the AFC East feature.  We'll have a recap post covering all of today's action up later this evening.