Well, this was certainly an unpleasant, ugly game to look back at it. Having slogged through the tapes, not much positive can be found yet again this week. It was simply the second poor performance in a row for the Patriots and that has to be somewhat worrisome. Every team is entitled to a slump, I suppose. But in the Super Bowl years of the Patriots, a slump may have meant one off game that they usually pulled out anyways. Or one poor loss. But two is a cause for concern. Particularly at home. On to the individual units.
QUARTERBACK: Tom Brady has not been himself this year. There can not be any debating that. I suppose we do have mention the changes at receiver. Logically, that has to contribute. But clearly, it goes beyond that. Sunday, the bouts of inaccuracy we have seen this year was evident. The poor decisions. Some bad throws were actually rescued by his receivers and turned into catches. I really can’t say what is wrong with Brady. Its just inconsistency because at times he is fine and looks like the old quarterback we’ve grown to know around here. Technically, nothing really stands out. He has velocity, he makes some great throws at times. Its just not there all the time. I don’t think the patchwork offensive line helped much Sunday, but still Brady is not playing that well.
RUNNING BACK: Seriously, what is up with Corey Dillon. Don’t get me wrong, Dillon played well Sunday. When he played. He ripped off a nice 55 yard run Sunday which featured a “get offfff me” stiff arm and though he ran out of gas at the end, it was still a nice run. But after that, he disappeared until after halftime. Why? Why does he seem to leave the game so often these days? He came back in the second half and made some more good runs, but was out of the game again quickly afterwards. Its puzzling. Laurence Maroney didn’t do much with his chances, which was unfortunate considering he was in there most of the time for Dillon.
WIDE RECEIVER: A nice day, overall. Reche Caldwell had an outstanding day catching big passes all over the field. He was certainly the star of the day. Jabar Gaffney too had a nice day in his first extended playing time and showed an ability to get separation on numerous plays. Look for his playing time to increase. Doug Gabriel on the other hand fumbled on a first half play and was not seen or heard from again. Apparently the carelessness with the ball led to him being made an example of.
TIGHT END: Daniel Graham returned, but did not seem his usual self. His blocking was a bit below par for him. Ben Watson didn’t do much in the passing game but did have some nice blocks to help spring Dillon. David Thomas was quiet and did not show up in any aspect of the game tape positively that I saw.
OFFENSIVE LINE: A bad day. Billy Yates and Nick Kaczur were starting on the right side and that represents a change from the opening day lineup. Yates was ineffective before getting hurt. Kaczur was also ineffective and eventually Wesley Britt came in for him. This patchwork unit needs Stephen Neal back desperately. Too much pressure and inconsistency in the run game was at times the line’s fault. They are not playing up to their early season play at the moment.
DEFENSIVE LINE: An ineffective day. Whether it was injuries or whatever, Richard Seymour did not show up at all. Vince Wilfork was surprisingly handled easily by the center of the Jets line and they controlled the gaps and ran decently, particularly on their first touchdown drive. With the Patriots missing Ty Warren for the game, Jarvis Green did not pick up the slack. Marquise Hill made a rare appearance in the second quarter, promptly went offsides and was never seen or heard from again. He could be on thin ice with his roster spot. Mike Wright did not display his previous hustling, good play. Overall, the worst game of the year for this unit.
LINEBACKER: A quiet day. Roosevelt Colvin had a sack, but continued to miss tackles at times, as well as midjudge coverage out of the backfield. Junior Seau was good again and Tedy Bruschi was definitely improved this week. But neither was great. Mike Vrabel was quiet and had among his worst games as a Patriots, not showing up at all. A bad day here as well.
SECONDARY: I didn’t think this unit was that bad. Ellis Hobbs got beat for a touchdown and could have been beat for another one earlier in the game, but the unit was okay for the most part. I was not real impressed with Asante Samuel’s job on the last Jets, clock-killing drive in which he allowed his man to slip around him for a critical first down. Artrell Hawkins had a nice day at safety.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Bad coverage on kickoffs was on display again. They did pop a couple decent returns. Josh Miller had some terrible punts, punting it deep into the Jets end zone on one occasion when the Patriots were trying to pin the Jets deep. That is just horrible. He didn’t even come close to keeping it on the field and putting it inside the 20. A bad day overall yet again. Brad Seeley needs to get all these units playing up to par. Its killed them against the Colts and hurt them again Sunday.
On to Green Bay, a game that is looking a lot tougher. Much tougher than it did before. Until then.