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New England Patriots' secondary could go either way

"NFL Total Access" continues with its "32 teams in 32 days" series. We decided to score some brownie points by writing an accompanying post each night. We'll focus on one goal that each team needs to accomplish before Week 1.

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It depends on how you look at it. An optimistic person sees a unit loaded with potential. Devin McCourty showed in his rookie year that he could be a dynamic Pro Bowl talent. Ras-I Dowling has all the physical tools to handle the other corner. No one in the NFL had more than the seven interceptions Kyle Arrington snagged in 2011. Sterling Moore had the biggest play of the season when he knocked the ball out of Baltimore Ravens receiver Lee Evans' hands in the AFC Championship Game. Draft picks Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner and Alfonzo Dennard add depth to the unit.

But the pessimist sees trouble. McCourty is coming off a lost season in which he was eventually moved to safety midstream. Dowling struggled with injuries at Virginia, then saw his rookie season wiped out by more physical issues. As for the draft picks, only second-round selection Wilson comes with immediate expectations.

In other words, this is a unit that can go in one of two very different directions. It will be Bill Belichick's job to see if he can turn a question mark in 2011 into a strength in 2012.

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