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Bruschi doesn't have to play to be big asset

By Vic Carucci

National Editor, NFL.com

(June 14, 2005) -- A closer look at some of the good and bad ideas floating around during the offseason:



Linebacker Tedy Bruschi staying involved with the New England Patriots' offseason preparations despite the uncertainty of his playing in 2005. Bruschi's greatest value to the Patriots is on the field, where he has established himself as one of the finest inside linebackers in the game. However, the stroke he suffered last February has raised serious doubts about whether he will be in uniform this year. Bruschi didn't take part in any of the practices during the Patriots' recent minicamp. His physical activity was limited to weightlifting. But he did attend meetings and continued to make a huge contribution to New England's chances of winning a third consecutive Super Bowl by helping new teammate Chad Brown, an outside linebacker that also could play inside, learn the team's complex defensive scheme. With his thorough knowledge of the New England defense and deep understanding of what offenses do to try and beat it, Bruschi always has been like a coach in pads. If he is unable to play this season, he still can provide significant help through his tutelage of Brown and other Patriots defensive players. And that could prove especially important considering the loss of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, who became head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora preferring that his staff not get too carried away with the impressive showing of rookie receiver Roddy White during offseason workouts. The Falcons coaching staff has had a hard time containing its enthusiasm over what White has done since arriving in Atlanta as a first-round draft pick. One of his most impressive attributes has been the aggressive manner in which he goes after passes rather than waiting for the ball to come to him. But Mora is concerned about coaches and White getting too carried away with success that has come during non-contact workouts when players, and especially receivers, are able to show off their athletic prowess with no physical price to pay. The real proof will come during training camp and preseason. That is when White can put some meaningful work into some shortcomings he has in running crossing routes.


The Miami Dolphins counting on Keith Traylor to fill the void at defensive tackle created by the retirement of Tim Bowens. The fact Traylor showed up in Miami out of shape when the Dolphins acquired him after the Patriots waived him last month is not a good sign of things to come. Trying to do so in the extreme South Florida heat and humidity will be extremely difficult for someone carrying a listed 340 pounds on a 6-foot-2 frame, as Traylor already has discovered. With Bowens gone, the starting spot is Traylor's to take, and he is capable of being a run-stuffing force. But that won't happen if, as Traylor put it not long after he signed a two-year contract with the Dolphins in late May, he has "nothing in the tank."

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The Houston Texans counting on the presence of rookie defensive end Travis Johnson, their first-round draft pick, to motivate veteran Gary Walker, whose production has waned. Walker is known to respond well to challenges, but it shouldn't take Johnson's arrival -- or any other outside force -- to serve as a spark for him to become more productive. The fact the Texans desperately need to get a stronger pass rush from their 3-4 scheme should be enough motivation for Walker and other members of their defensive front. Johnson's greatest contribution should (and probably will) come from making a fairly strong contribution rushing the passer. The Texans' best hope is that Walker will do the same, regardless of the rookie's performance.

I hope Bruschi stays retired -to me too risky with a heart condition to take a chance- coaching would be a good idea for Pats

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