Last night was a disgrace. The Patriots, my beloved Patriots, did not even belong on the same FIELD as the Saints. Drew Brees looked a lot like Brady did in 2007, getting all kinds of time and picking defenses apart. The Patriots had virtually zero pass rush. Tom, meanwhile, was harassed and hurried all night. Very much resembling the awful Super Bowl a few years ago. No quarterback, no matter who it is, can effectively manipulate the game when he is being hounded by 300 pound Giants every play. What happened to the O-line? A usual strongpoint. I haven't seen line play that bad since Max Lane trying to block Reggie White in the Super Bowl against the Packers in 1996.
I love Belichick. We all do. However, the whole thing just stinks right now. Something is amiss. These heartbreak losses are one thing; a multiple touchdown-deficit defeat on the national stage? These are not the Patriots of 2003-2007. Last season we can write off to not having our starting quarterback of course. Also, being 7-4 isn't too bad. The thing is, the Patriots used to win these games. The Patriots used to have the Colts number. What happened? The defense is what has fallen off. It's not because we let older guys go to pasture (McGinest, Law, Milloy, Roman Phifer, etc.), it seems more because we don't, or choose not to, hold on to younger guys that are still highly productive. Richard Seymour, Asante Samuel, et al.
Saving money is well and good. Lord knows the Belichick/Pioli combo has drafted fairly well. But Bill might be outsmarting himself here. We need to somehow clone Jerod Mayo like 4 or 5 times (even though he was pretty much invisible last night). Since that isn't possible, one idea would be to stop trading down out of the first round all the time, stop trying to turn 5th and 6th round guys into bona fide NFL starters for a very complicated defense. Bill can coach the hell out of anything and anybody, but he needs guys with more talent. Knowing the playbook is one thing; gotta go out and execute.
The Patriots have needs, like any other team. A 3-4 rush end (whether the DE or OLB) or two. A cover corner. If we can't get to the QB (which we can't), then we need corners who can lock a guy down. It isn't easy to find the next Champ Bailey or Darelle Revis, but we can try. The D needs to get younger, faster, and WAY more athletic. Smarts are great, and we got plenty, but give me some athletes too. This team isn't going anywhere with the defense it's got. The Patriots are good enough and well coached enough to run out a 10-6 or 11-5 record with their eyes closed (proved it last year, with a soft schedule albeit). But if we want to stay up there with the Colts and Steelers of the world, we have to draft better, hold on to guys a little longer and pay the ones that deserve it.
Posted on: December 1, 2009 7:54 pm