by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff

I never thought Jason Taylor would end up signing with the Patriots, but it was still kind of surprising to hear of his earlier-than-expected return to the Miami Dolphins yesterday.

The conventional wisdom was that Taylor would wait out the upcoming OTA’s and mini-camps before committing. Apparently not.

I was never a fan of swapping out one 34 year old linebacker for another, so this is no skin off me. Yes, Taylor might have made the Patriots better in the short-term (or not; nobody seems to have considered that possibility) but since when has it been about the short-term in New England?

I’m more convinced now than ever that the Pats have intended all along to play with what they have. Their every move from the time free agency opened to this ‘non-signing’ today says they believe they can win the Super Bowl with Pierre Woods, Tully Banta Cain, Shawn Crable and Vince Redd playing opposite of Adalius Thomas.

Nick Caserio, in an appearance at the Hall at Patriots Place last evening, essentially confirmed this.

We’ve got players on our team we feel good about,” Caserio said, citing Adalius Thomas, Pierre Woods, Tully Banta-Cain and Shawn Crable, a 2008 third-round pick who spent much of last season on injured reserve.

Caserio apparently went on to note that there are still three months to go before the Patriots complete their roster building for the 2009 season (and beyond) though I hope he knows he just bought himself at least twelve more weeks of ridiculous Julius Peppers fantasy with that caveat.

Because there are some among us who are steadfast in their belief that if the Patriots don’t replace one Name Linebacker with another, they might as well set the whole team on fire. How these noisy nutjobs have arrived at this conclusion in beyond me; I only wish Caserio had been content to stop at “we feel good about” and spare the rest of us three more months of ridiculous foot stomping about the Madden rosters of drooling message board posters.

Who knows if the Patriots have made the right decision here; given that their previous personnel decisions under Bill Belichick have resulted in a  71% regular season winning percentage this decade (82% in the playoffs), it seems reasonable to assume they at least have a shot.

I’ll trust in those odds, and the people whose work has been right far more than it’s been wrong, and not in the braying junior GM’s who have apparently mistaken someone else’s acumen for their own.  

Scott Benson can be reached at