In Bill We Trust??
Jamie Collins is gone.
Chandler Jones has been gone for a while.
Jabaal Sheard, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan have regressed from last year. To the point of Sheard now getting benched for some reason. Perhaps regression can describe Malcom Brown and Patrick Chung as well?
Chris Long has been pretty invisible.
As has Rob Ninkovich. But I guess that’s what happens when you can’t juice anymore.
Throw in the fact they gave away Dominique Easley for nothing if you wish. I’m ok with even saying they let Akiem Hicks get away over short money. Hicks played pretty well after being acquired from the Saints last year.
And that’s just the defense.
Should we be worried? In the whole scheme of things, probably not. There are a bunch of cream puffs on the schedule going forward and the offense alone should beat all of them. But in reality, the whole thing is concerning.
Throw all the departures and regression from above and add in the high draft picks in recent years that have contributed very little on defense (Cyrus Jones, Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom, Vincent Valentine, and probably still including Trey Flowers). Not to mention in-season acquisitions that have added zero (Barkevious Mingo, Kyle Van Noy and Eric Rowe…contributing negatively in Rowe’s case actually). So where is the talent now…and the depth?
The positive I suppose is that the Pats are actually 6th in NFL in points allowed with 163, only 11 behind league leading Minnesota’s 152. But this is kind of a bogus positive. The schedule has had plenty of cream puffs on it already.
The Patriots should once again cruise to the division title and still actually host the AFC Championship Game. But that is more of an indictment on the rest of the AFC really. The East is putrid and the South ain’t much better. The West has some teams with good records, but is anyone really afraid of Oakland or Kansas City? Denver, maybe. But their offense has taken several steps back. And I don’t know what is wrong with Pittsburgh at this point.
But it just doesn’t feel right. I don’t know what the game plan was against Seattle. That game was all lined up for a win. Seattle was on a short week. Travelling across the country. Their defense had spent a ton of time on the field in recent weeks and were missing Michael Bennett. Russell Wilson is a little banged up and doesn’t run as much now. The Seahawks running game was lacking. The Patriots were coming off a bye and were at home. And on and on. Seattle will always play everyone tough despite whatever odds. But it still should have been a win.
For years a lot of us have questioned the Patriots’ defensive methods. Defensive backs never turn their heads in coverage. They don’t blitz often. Years of “bend, but don’t break” mentality. Par for the course this year, but seemingly worse. How ’bout for once we try something different? Unleash Mingo or something…tell him to just make a beeline for the QB on every snap? Maybe play a little more man and not have opponents’ wide receivers running free all through the secondary? Stop carrying 85 special teamers and have some of those guys actually play a position capably. Stop giving away talent. Yeah, not likely. I’m not a defensive coordinator. But there has to be a better way. Very rarely should anyone question Belichick. But again, things just don’t feel right. Even if they are 7-2.
Sadly, I am a little worried about Colin Kaepernick looking like Joe Montana later today…
We’ve focused on the defense, but the offense isn’t necessarily as stout as it can be either. Sure, the first 4 games were helmed by backup quarterbacks. But that side of the ball doesn’t feel right now either.
Julian Edelman isn’t the same. They don’t seem to play Danny Amendola a whole lot for reasons unknown. Maybe they are managing an injury there too. Now Chris Hogan is banged up. Malcolm Mitchell has been hurt some as well.
Now Gronk is out…and who knows for how long? Martellus Bennett has been pretty good. But he isn’t 100%. I don’t know if AJ Derby can play in the NFL. But Denver thinks he can. And they gave him away to the Broncos.
The running game? LeGarrette Blount has been better than expected. But he is still…LeGarrette Blount. Dion Lewis is back. But let’s hold up on going crazy on that for now. Still not a fan of James White. And the offensive line doesn’t exactly open up a lot of holes…or give Brady a ton of time for that matter.
Tons of negativity here, I know. But 7-2 never felt so bad. This season was supposed to be a cakewalk to at least a Super Bowl appearance. And it may very well be still. After all, the NFL as a whole kinda stinks this year. But the decisions of the team and the head coach appear to be making it hard to see that now. It’s hard for me to see how the team gets better down the stretch, even if guys get healthy. The competition should be weak, so what kind of test will any of the games be for the team? Actually, with all of the above, maybe the games WILL be tests. And that is pretty scary. Because they shouldn’t be.
So watch Kaepernick be…Kaepernick later today and the Pats win something like 45-7. After posting this, I’m pretty much counting on it now. This is pretty much the first time in the Belichick era that I have had some doubts. Prove me wrong Bill…as always…
Posted on November 20, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged AFC Championship, Bill Belichick, Chandler Jones, Colin Kaepernick, defense, Dion Lewis, draft picks, Jamie Collins, LeGarrett Blount, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl, Tom Brady. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.