I have not posted recently on the Pats and thought that now would be good time. I have been amazed with the team this year. They have a track record of success, but they have also had a knack of keeping games close. That is, they rarely blew anyone out, but always found a way to win by a small margin.
In the first two games, it has been different. The team is now loaded with quality targets for Brady and a good running game. The team has the potential to not only win games, but crush opponents. We have seen this consistently in the last two games and I hope that it continues.
One more note, is that I was surprised by the Chargers last week. The team has been highly promoted given their success last year. It was just so surprising that they looked so hopeless on offense and defense. I was expecting much more from them. I am wondering whether the Pats caught them off guard or the defense and offense are really that bad. Time will tell I suppose.
It is interesting to see the Patriots recent actions during the draft. I thought that they were in great shape from a received standpoint before the draft and so was interested to see the Randy Moss deal. If you look at the deal, you see a couple of interesting things. First, it is telling that Randy took a major pay cut. He went from around $10 million per year to $3 million per year. This as a very telling statement in my opinion. Second, it is also important to note that Tom Brady agreed to restructure his contract to enable the deal which says that he is on board.
I was speaking with a friend who is a major Raiders fan about the trade. He was not a big fan of Moss and thought that he was a slacker lacking motivation. This may very well be true, but obviously it would be frustrating to be a talented receiver like Moss and get stuck on a team that is not performing consistently. In my opinion, this does not justify his actions; however, you could imagine why he might act that way. The big question is whether coming to consistent playoff contender like the Patriots will enable him to re-focus and return to his prior successful form. This has yet to be determined, but there is history of “troublemakers” coming to the Patriots and amending their ways. Hopefully this will be the case with the Randy.
The good news with the above is that the Patriots have a strong receiving corps and even stronger willed coach. I am confident that if Randy acts up, Belicheck will take control and even let him go if that is warranted. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but it is always an option.
It was interesting to note today that Drew Bledsoe announced his retirement. It seems like Bledsoe’s performance has been declining over the last few years culminating in a less than stellar year with Dallas. Yet the reality is that he spent eight good years in New England with the Patriots. Brady took over for him after his injury by the Jets and never looked back; however Bledsoe had been doing a reasonably good job with the team prior to his injury. I remember when the injury happened and people wondered whether the Pats were making a mistake by trading Bledsoe to the Bills. In retrospect, it was a good move both Pats and the Bledsoe his starting job had been given to Brady.
One of the things that I will remember about Bledsoe was his quality as a character. So many professional athletes are egotistical and often whine and complain when they do not get enough playing time. Bledsoe handled injury and replacement by Brady as a true professional. He did not spend his time whining or complaining, but rather on the team and how he could help the team to win. He also came during the play offs that year when Brady was injured in the play offs and lead the team to victory versus the Steelers.
Hopefully, Bledsoe will enjoy his retirement.
Last weekend, I watched the Pats play the Jaguars. It was a very close game and the Pats managed to pull it out. The frustration is that part of the reason the game was so close was due to mental errors by the Pats. Specifically, that touchdown run by Maurice Drew-Jones was only successful because of a mental error by the pats. They assumed he was down and stopped playing defense. While he did fall down, it was clear that he was not touched by a Patriot.
The other issue is that it still felt like Tom Brady was not on his top game. He did well on the short passes, but seemed to struggle with some other passes. Specifically, in the last series he had a shot at a wide open Troy Brown for a key first down that would have clinched the win. Unfortunately, he completely missed Troy and the ball was turned over to the Jags. It looked like a dire situation for the Patriots until the defense forced the turnover which ended the game.
IMO, the Pats need to play better than this if they want to succeed in the playoffs. They need to bring their A game every time and the Pats have had a difficult times consistently playing well. They have shown some bright spots over the last few games. Hopefully they can continue the momentum.
Fortunately, I did not watch the entire Miami game or I would have been very depressed. IMO, the game was a microcosm of the Patriots year. They looked out of synch and uncoordinated. Clearly credit goes to Miami for playing well on defense, but the Patriots looked inept and did little to inspire confidence.
The issue from my perspective is that the team has had a very difficult time playing consistently. One week they will look good and the next they will look terrible. It is the tale of two teams — will the good Patriots or the bad team show up? This is unlike the Patriots; historically they have been somewhat inconsistency early and then settled down and played their best football at the end of the season. We don’t see that trend this year.
I am not trying to be excessively negative, but the reality is that the Patriots have not shown that they deserve to be in the playoffs. Assuming the make the playoffs, I anticipate that they will lose in an early round. Playoffs are all about playing consistently your best and the Patriots have not shown an ability to do that. Hopefully I am wrong….