Coming into the 2017 season, many were talking about the Patriots as being a serious favorite this season to go undefeated. And after all summer long hearing about how great this years Pats team was going to be, I can understand the surprise after their blowout loss vs the Chiefs. We heard how this New England team was going to be the best Pats team ever, they were rolling to 19 and 0, they were going to be unstoppable – and all the parade that follows a team like the Pats, especially when they go out and sign players like speedy WR Brandin Cooks, to an already stacked and skilled team.
Many fans and media have found themselves putting Belicheck and Brady as purely flawless masters of the game, who could not possibly lose a game when things are going so good. After their humiliating 42-27 loss – now many are acting like it is the end of the road for the 2 future HOFers. After one (very) lousy game – people are screaming like the sky is falling, pointing fingers at everyone – the defense is horrible, Brady is washed up, they have no WRs. Where is the rave and trust for this excellent organization?
After one 1st game loss – folks are talking about New England as if they won’t win another game. Maybe the fact is, Kansas City just played better? Kansas City played with great heart and played excellent with their passing and running game. Belicheck was outcoached, plain and simple.
The offense was not the biggest problem vs Kansas City. Could it have been better? Of course it could have been – especially with what many were expecting. I anticipated some learning curves with this new team that has just been put together.
It is also quite possible the Patriots offense could struggle for what could be the first couple games of the season. Brady needs to build a rapport with his new toy, Brandin Cooks – and New England needs to get much better with their lazy DB coverage. Everyone knows they have great weapons all over – but that doesn’t always mean they get tossed together and completely dominate from day one.
Bottom line though – it’s no secret, they really need to fix some things on their D, the defense was simply blown apart. It never really looked like it was together during the entire game. They were smoked up the middle and burned down the field, it was actually quite embarrassing. The front 4 on New England’s defense is really not in the top half of the league quite honestly, Alan Branch and Lawrence Guy are serviceable at best – and their LB group, with Kyle Van Noy and aging David Harris, is towards the bottom end of the league. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia needs to make some adjustments with their game plan, to get their defense close to being back on track and have an attacking and controlling mindset.
Injuries are starting to pile up pretty quick for New England and Gronk has certainly had his own issues with staying healthy. Fans love Gronk with his great hands and mighty TD spikes, but they tend to get overenamored – and it gets hard to come to terms that he gets injured an awful lot, missing 23 of the last 32 games, that is super tough to trust when needing to be depended on. Gronk has got to stay on the field.
They also have 3-4 talented RBs they could start leaning on even more, in Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, James White, and Mike Gillislee, that can all do some of the vital things injured Edelman did for them that could help enough to make up for his loss. I strongly feel Gillislee is going to be the key signing for New England this year, with his power and nose for the endzone, I would not be surprised to see 12+ TDs and a quiet 1000 YDs by seasons end for the 26 yr old RB.
But, all in all, people need to put the demise of the Pats on the backburner. We have all heard about New England winning a SuperBowl after losing the opener of the season years ago – the Pats are going to get things put together – they are not a team to push aside, and believe me, neither Belicheck or Brady will take this beating lightly either.
All this talk about the team falling apart and becoming an 8-8 mediocre team, after just the first game of the new season is completely irrational. If there is any team that can afford to have a clunker, it’s New England. The losses of perennial 90+ catch, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and his slot play potential, and the explosive WR Malcolm Mitchell seems like it could become a bit of an issue for most teams, but with Belicheck and the zen-like philosophy of “next man up” may just take a few games to come together.
But if anyone can do it, it’s most certainly the Pats.