November 24, 2014

Defenseless: Bill Belichick Has Only Himself To Blame For This Mess On Defense

By George Cain, Guest Author

I don’t know when Bill Belichick lost his fastball on defense.

Maybe it was in 2008 at about the same time Josh Beckett lost his. After another pathetic performance by the Patriots defense this past Sunday against the Bills, I am left wondering when and if he is going to get it back.

I mean this is Bill Belichick, who was canonized this month by NFL Films in “A Football Life.”  He is the defensive guru with five Super Bowl rings, two coming as a DEFENSIVE coordinator. He has been a successful defensive coach wherever he has been.  But he has FAILED to field a championship defense since he shipped Richard Seymour out of town three seasons ago.

So let’s just stick to facts.  The Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years; they were the undisputed “Team of Decade.”  It has been seven years since their last Super Bowl Championship, and three seasons and counting since they got out of the first round of the playoffs. The bar is high for this team, but that’s what comes with greatness.

  • Fact: Bill Belichick has won three Super Bowl titles as a Head Coach and two titles as a Defensive Coordinator.
  • Fact: The Patriots are going to have their 11th winning season in row.  They have already won eight AFC East titles under Belichick.
  • Fact: Bill Belichick is going to the Hall of Fame.
  • Fact: Since the night we never want to talk about in Glendale, Arizona this pass defense has gotten progressively worse.
  • Fact: The Patriots have not been to the Super Bowl since 2007 because their defense is not championship caliber.
  • Opinion:  You could give Tom Brady about 20 other team’s defense and he could win the Super Bowl THIS year.  But, Bill cannot even field a top 20 defense right now.

Here are three reasons why:

#1 – Good Players Out, Bad Players In
It was inevitable that Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest, Rodney Harrison, Ty Law and Tedy Bruschi were going to get old and retire.  They were all Pro Bowl players who made significant contributions to the three Super Bowl titles, and are not easily replaceable. But, the Patriots also let go of Asante Samuel and Richard Seymour.  They were two All-Pro players under the age of 30, and the Patriots had no one to fill the void. Seymour was the Patriots last pure pass rusher and their best defensive player of the last 10 years.  He commanded a double team and could create his own rush from a four man front. They let him go for a draft pick 2 years later, who turned out to be Nate Solder.  The Pats could have found another tackle; a pass rusher is a little more difficult.

With both these players the spin was that the Patriots couldn’t afford them under the cap. Well, I subscribe fully to the Michael Felger “Cap is Crap” mantra.  Somehow the Steelers are able to pay Big Ben, Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Casey Hampton and James Farrior. If you’re creative you can make it happen. The Patriots spent just spent 25 million guaranteed, on big Vince Wilfolk.  Vince is an All-Pro and one of the top nose tackles in the league and yet the Patriots defense still is horrible.  So, if we are going to buy into the salary cap argument maybe 25 million on a nose tackle wasn’t the wisest allocation.  But if you still believe that the Patriots couldn’t afford EITHER player then explain to me, what was the backup plan?  This segues into my next point, horrible drafting on defense.

#2 – Horrible Drafting on Defense
When it comes to drafting, there is luck, chance, and a thousand other variables involved.  But the 2011 Patriots just don’t seem to be very talented despite spending a tremendous amount of draft currency to improve the

team.  I wanted to highlight just a few obvious misses in the last four drafts.

2007 – Brandon Meriweather, made a couple of Pro Bowls, but never lived up to his potential and never made it through his rookie contract. The thing is though, he might be better than what they are starting right now.

2008 – Jerod Mayo has been a very good player, but so far he isn’t the play maker that Tedy Bruschi was. He has been worthy of his #10 overall draft selection, but needs to be more than just a tackler. The rest of the defensive players drafted that year -Terrence Wheatley (bust) Shawn Crable (bust), Jonathan Wilhite (bust), are all no longer with the team.

2009 – I unlike some, give them a pass on Clay Matthews.  There were steroid concerns with him that I think deserved attention. But this draft had plenty of impact defensive players in the first two rounds -Vontae Davis, Ziggy Hood, James Laurinaitis, Conor Barwin, the Patriots didn’t draft any of them. They instead spent their four second round picks on Pat Chung, Ron Brace, Sebastian Vollmer and Darius Butler.

Chung has been solid, not great but solid.  Brace has been out of shape, hurt and basically a non-factor.  If you watched any Boston College football games you might have noticed a lot of Brace’s success was based on the fact he played next to All-American BJ Raji, now with the Super Bowl Champion Packers. Darius Butler, was a great athlete, but not an instinctual defensive back and after showing glimpses, faded and was cut.

Is Jermaine Cunningham The Latest Draft Bust?

Is Jermaine Cunningham The Latest Draft Bust?

2010 – This was a great draft, with a big miss. McCourty was spectacular last year, and although he’s exhibited somewhat of a sophomore slump, you still have to be confident he’ll turn it around. The offensive players drafted in 2010 have been phenomenal, but it’s the Jermaine Cunningham selection that should have Patriot fans seething. Remember, Bill spent a lot of time scouting Jermaine while he was at Florida playing for Bill’s buddy Urban Meyer. During that time Bill should have noticed Cunningham’s teammate, All-American Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap had 9 ½ sacks in 7 games last year with Cincinnati.  He’s off to a somewhat slow start this year while battling a knee injury but was in Alex Smith’s face several times Sunday despite not figuring heavily on the stat sheet. Dunlap did have off the field issues but with Albert Haynesworth on the team you can’t really use that as an excuse anymore.  So if you’re keeping track that’s a miss on Matthews (pass) and a miss on Dunlap. Please don’t give me this scheme crap -if you can rush the passer you can rush the passer. If it is about the “reading and reacting” then Jermaine Cunningham doesn’t do that either.

2011 – I think Bill walked away from the Jets loss with a different view than most.  He saw a Patriot team that needed tweaks on offense to beat the Jets.  He saw his offensive line getting pushed around in another playoff game.  So I agree they needed depth on the offensive line.

But I also saw a team that couldn’t make stops on defense when the team needed it. Bill called the 2011 draft one of the deepest defensive line drafts in recent memory.  He then decided not to draft a defensive lineman or linebacker till the 6th round.  Their depth chart at the end of last season was Ty Warren, who was on IR, Vince Wilfolk and Mike Wright coming off a concussion that knocked him out the second half of the season.  The Pats had the currency to trade up and get an impact rusher.

Ryan Kerrigan was there at 16, the Pats were at 17.   They decided to sit tight, draft Solder and then for some ridiculous reason, trade their second number one pick to the Saints for a pick next year.  The Redskins traded up offering Jacksonville a second round pick, got Kerrigan and he looks like Clay Matthews redux. Shane Vereen, who the Patriots drafted with their other second round pick, has been in street clothes every week. Solder is going to be a solid offensive lineman but they could have drafted Gabe Carimi with that second first round pick to fill the Solder role, and still had Kerrigan.

Also, in the second round, Bill decided to draft Ras-I-Dowling, and passed on Jabaal Sheard a DL who looks very good for the Browns. Dowling has size, speed and the physical tools to be a shutdown corner.  But he played in only 5 games his Senior year in college and has injury history going back to high school.  Football is one sport where oft-injured players seldom shake that history. Predictably, Dowling has missed most of training camp and got injured in game two.

#3 Bad Free Agents Signings and Bill’s Arrogance – Maybe it was that great 2004 team winning it all with a secondary that consisted of a rookie, Asante Samuel at one corner.  Another undrafted rookie, Randall Gay at the other corner and a journeymen like Earthwind Moreland in the dime package. Did it give Bill a false sense that it’s all scheme and talent is less of a factor?

After the 2006 loss to the Colts they spent big money on free agent Adalius Thomas. It was a massive failure and seemed to scare Bill off big time free agent acquisitions. Free agency is a risk, but if you’re not going to draft pass rushers, then don’t you need to make a play for guys like Julius Peppers, Justin Babin, or Cullen Jenkins. This offense is so superior; the Patriots just need ONE, ONE guy on the line that can strike fear into an opposing quarterback. But this is what you got instead:

  • Shaun Ellis – 13 year veteran cut by the Jets, mostly unproductive through the first 3 games.
  • Vince Wilfolk – Let’s be honest, he’s been quiet, and he is not a pass rusher, and that is the MAIN problem right now.
  • Albert Haynesworth – He’s come as advertised, out of shape, unmotivated, injury prone and a waste of time.
  • Andre Carter – Looked good in a preseason game but maybe now we know why he was cut loose.
  • Mark Andersen – His last good season was 2006.
  • Mike Wright – Always a good role player, now unfortunately because of concussions, a weekly scratch.
  • Brandon Spikes – Good against the run, but horrible against the pass, and hasn’t had a huge impact on this defense.
  • Rob Ninkovich – He’s a JAG.  He works hard, but just isn’t strong enough or fast enough to get to the QB from the outside.
  • Devin McCourty – really struggling, but he is their best pass defender.
  • Ras-I Dowling – Has never shown an ability to stay healthy.
  • Leigh Bodden – Hasn’t been the player he was in 2009 after missing last season.
  • The Patriots Safeties – I group them together. Pat Chung is their best player, but he’s hurt.  They cut Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders in favor of Sergio Brown and Josh Barrett. Brown and Barrett thus far have been major downgrades from Meriweather, Sanders and Jarrad Page.  All three, started for other teams Sunday.

So don’t give me complexity of the defense or any of that other baloney for those of you still chanting “In Bill We Trust.”  This offense is Super Bowl caliber.  The Patriots have Tom Brady, he is once in a lifetime player, and they are letting his prime slip away. This defense is not average, it’s not middle of the road, it’s just plain bad. Bill Belichick is supposed to be a “defensive genius” but yet we are going on four years that this defense hasn’t been Super Bowl caliber. Rex Ryan, was a defensive coach with the Ravens. He came to the Jets and immediately the Jets defense became top tier in the league.  The Steelers and Ravens consistently have top-notch defenses and Don Capers (a Patriot assistant in 2008) has done a superb job in Green Bay. All three teams get after the quarterback. Isn’t that what we should expect from Bill?

You get what you pay for and right now they are PAYING for lack of talent on defense. I think this team wins 11 to 12 games behind the greatness of #12, but right now I doubt they play in the Super Bowl. If Bill wants to reinforce his genius status he’ll get this band of average players to be able to play “some” defense. Otherwise, from the Kool-Aid drinkers you’ll hear the same excuses. There were injuries, they are still young, the scheme is too complicated, Brady’s made some mistakes etc.

And it will be another year that the Patriots failed to win a Super Bowl despite having the best player in the league.

Comments

  1. Fact: Since Glendale AZ ended a perfect season, the defense has gotten worse…. Ahem, no team has ever gone better than 18-0, so, no duh. When you compare any team to the greatest season ever, every season is worse.

    I don’t really care how many garbage time yards a team gets against the Patriots, period, as long as they win. Last year they were 14-2 in a “rebuilding” year.

    Fact: As the result of all of the Patriots consist success, all of the high talent Offensive and Defensive coordinators have been poached from the Patriots and then were complete head coach flops with their new teams. Not only does Bill have to rebuild his player roster, he has to rebuild his coaching roster.

    The argument that a reformed Fat Albert means that we should have drafted every high-talent malcontent does not sway me either.

    An organization tries to do the right thing and all some of you guys do is dump on them. I for one am glad we don’t have Ben Rapistberger and a lot of the jerks you mentioned (and many that you haven’t.)

    You are so spoiled that I am sickened.

    • I don’t understand the points, first of all, just because they were 18-0 it didn’t make them the best team of all time. The 2004 Patriots were much more balanced. And they were 18-0 because they had the BEST Offense in history and a LB with 16.5 sacks. The Patriots have lost coordinators. But none since 2008 and that was on OFFENSE. Dunlap wasn’t a malcontent, just a guy with some baggage. Matthews had suspicions and Kerrigan had a perfect record on and off the field from PURDUE. And I didn’t say anything about Ben R. other than the fact the Patriots can afford a QB that makes money as well a Defense that makes money. Its not about being spoiled Tim. It’s being objective. Enjoy the games.

      • George –
        There was no player on the 2007 Patriots Defense who had 16.5 sacks. Not one. The closest thing they had was Vrabel who had 12.5.

        Dunlap is a 1-trick pony. And a person with some modicum of football intelligence knows that an OLB in the Pats 3-4 needs to at least be able to set the edge. It would also be preferable that they could drop back on occasion, but not mandatory..

        I find it amazing that you beat your chest as being some kind of great, all-knowing football guru, yet you make the mistake that so many short-sighted fans wannabees make. That you think you can judge players after only 1 or 2 years. Short of them being cut (like Butler or Chad Jackson), you can’t get a full judgement until they’ve played 3 years. Every coach and GM has said the same thing for at least the past 10 years.

        This article leaves a lot to be desired..

        • Da Bruinz off on the sack number, but if you watch football, pass rushers are like running backs if they are not impactful by year 3 then it doesn’t happen. It’s ok to say the Pats missed it on Dunlap, its the misses every year that is alarming.

          • Greg Doyle says:

            Really, if a pass rusher always shows it in 3 years or it doesn’t happen? What about the guy who had the 12.5 (not 16.5) sacks in 2007, Mike Vrabel? Guess how many sacks he had in his first FOUR seasons in the NFL. If you said 7 total, you’d be right.

      • Pats defensive numbers do look lousy but a good part of that story is that when you are leading from far ahead, it does make sense to let an offense slowly work up the field and allow you to run out the clock and win the game, then chance a few cheap quick big plays that puts them back in the game. Sure it would be nice to have the best offense and the best defense in the league every year and win the superbowl every couple of years but maybe I just have low expectations.

        You want the number #1 defense in the league (from last year) and a team with tons of talent? Why not be a Chargers fan? On the plus side, their coach is not arrogant as far as I can tell. There was that Welker guy who they cut perhaps a little too early though. Wonder what happened to him…

        Please also, fans-who-are-also-haters, tell us who you would rather have for a coach since ours makes so many bad decisions.

  2. Pats went 11-5 with Matt Cassell, how’s he doing?

    How about the Colts you mentioned, how are they doing without Peyton?

    What have the Jets and Raven’s won, besides their own personal superbowls against the Pats?

    The Redskins??? Pats should take draft and personel lessons from the Redskins!!!! WHAT!?!

    “Arrogance” is an insult passed around by those without the intellect, track record and nads to go for it on 4th and 2. I am so annoyed…

    • oldskool138 says:

      Anyone can be balsy. Hire me as Head Coach. I’ll run all the balsy plays you want…Fake punts, fake FG’s, going for it on 4th & any distance.

      Track record? George laid out Bill track record since 2007. What has he done for the team lately? 14-2 last year? Impressive given that that defense was only slightly better than this year’s projects to be. And not one but two one and dones in the playoffs. At home…and one after a bye week.

      Intellect? Bill’s got it but I think he’s been slow to react to the changes in the game…and then tries to revamp his entire defensive system in a year with virtually no pre-season. I don’t know if that’s arrogance but if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck….

  3. I always hear about the 11-5 season, let’s not forget they missed the playoffs and played a very easy schedule. So guess what? 11-5 was 7th best in the league that year. It’s a weak argument. As far as the Colts comparison goes, well I didn’t say Bill was Caldwell. The Colts are the Colts. Yes, the Patriots went 14-2 on the strength of a Hall of Fame QB who threw 36 TD’s and 4 INTS all SEASON. I am ready to debate this all day. Anyone, got some hard facts other than regular season records. We’re talking Super Bowls and defense that statistically crack the top 20. If you’re going to defend, bring some data with you.

  4. Fact: Boston already has one Felger

    Fact: One Felger is a Felger too many

    Fact: Find your own act George

  5. The fact remains that since 2001 no other team has won more superbowls than the Patriots. In fact, since 1992, no other team has won more SBs, reached more SBs or reached more conference championship games. What the Patriots are doing is unheard of. You can’t expect a team to always win SBs, that is just ridiculous. This article really just shows that you’re a spoiled Pats fan that really started watching football sometime in the fall of 2001. You don’t understand football and don’t understand how hard it is for a team to be as succesful as they’ve been over the BB’s tenure.

    • oldskool138 says:

      Forget watching football in 2001 what about last year and this year? You don’t really think that the defense has been playing well over the last season and change.

      • No, I certainly agree that the defense has not been playing well but I think it’s ridiculous to say that Belichick has lost it because they are giving up more yards. People forget that this D is rebuilding and they still won 14 games last year!! Does it matter that the D has not looked good? This team has a shot at winning the SB every year. Why be so critical? Quit complaining and enjoy the ride this team is on.

    • Thank you, my point exactly.

      You can pick a team here or there, a draft pick here or there, and show how that move was superior to a specific Pats move at the same time, but what team has won more games and won more consistently than the Pats in the past decade? What other superbowl team has repeated twice let alone 3 times in four appearances?

      Oh, we were outsmarted in the draft by the Redskins? Puh-leeeaze.
      Dom Capers is doing great in GB? Somehow this is proof that BB is a doofus? Any chance BB helped him resurrect his career and contributed to that success?

      In the last eleven regular season games, they have lost one regular season game (plus one playoff game). As a result, “oh what an arrogant turd” we have for a hall of fame head coach.

      Some draft choices don’t work out, and some take a while to work out. A short off season and three regular season games is hardly enough time to evaluate new additions to this team. There were a lot of great players on this team who took some time to develop, including beloved quality players like Brady, Faulk, Troy Brown and others.

      BB’s personel maneuvers, game plans and execution get other coaches fired (Vikings, Miami more than once, etc.), not the other way around. Are you suggesting we should “upgrade” to some other available coach because the game has passed him by? Please provide your recommendations for coaches and draft picks now without the benefit of 20-20 hindsight.

      If, as a Patriots fan, you are ready to jump off the bandwagon after this loss, please do so. If you want to behave like my a$$hat cousin in Florida and gloat on the rare occasion that they have a slip up here and there, that says more about the haters than the quality of the Patriots organization.

      • oldskool138 says:

        “Any chance BB helped him resurrect his career and contributed to that success?”

        So…hurray for BB…I suppose…

        “including beloved quality players like Brady, Faulk, Troy Brown and others.”

        Funny how two of the players you mentioned were drafted by the two previous head coaches. Just sayin’…

        “If, as a Patriots fan, you are ready to jump off the bandwagon after this loss, please do so. ”

        I love this argument. If you say anything critical about the Pats (even with facts to back it up!), you’re somehow a bandwagon fan. I’ve been watching this team since the early 90’s (I would have started earlier but I was a little too young to fully grasp the sport). I’ve seen great Pats teams and really bad ones. Not once have I ever entertained the thought of rooting for another team…and I’ll continue to watch every game every year. Thank you very much.

  6. This column is why Patriots Daily is essential reading.

  7. Look at all the homers attack the author and not his arguments. Pathetic.

    • It would help if the author stopped calling opinions “facts”.

      • So how about you disprove his facts then?
        I’m waiting…

        • What facts? “Since SB42, this pass defense has gotten progressively worse” is an opinion.
          “The Patriots have not been to the Super Bowl since 2007 because their defense is not championship caliber” is an opinion. And while we’re talking facts, Samuel was a rookie in ’03, not ’04 as the author states.

          Nobody disagrees that the defense has played poorly (who could argue that?). Also, nobody disagrees that the Pats whiffed on several premium draft picks. Again, who could argue that? Make those arguments without calling us Koolaid drinkers and “In Bill We Trust” chanters, and maybe you’ve got a compelling column.

          But points like “Bill’s arrogance got the best of him”? Seriously? That’s a dumb argument on its face. And there’s nothing to back up that claim.

          Connor Barwin an impact player? His career thus far doesn’t show it. Richard Seymour a pure pass-rusher? Really? Seymour’s a great player, but he’s never been a pure pass-rusher. Cunningham already a bust? Why? Because he didn’t rack up the sacks? How about giving him, I don’t know, more than a year before making your assessment?

          And then it breaks down into “players drafted after the Pats pick who did better than who the Pats picked.” Jesus, anybody can do that. You know, in 1990, instead of Chris Singleton and Ray Agnew, I really strongly feel the Patriots should have drafted Richmond Webb and Emmitt Smith. Just this notion I have.

          It’s easy to trot out the Packers as an example since they’re the flavor of the day. But it’s not like they’re the model of consistency. Cain brings up 2008 and calls 11-5 “a weak argument”. Well, guess what? The Packers under McCarthy in 2008 were 6-10.

          The opinions are myopic. “They haven’t won a Super Bowl since the ’04 season” like that’s supposed to mean something. Prior to last year, the Packers hadn’t won one since the ’96 season. Was that the mantra Packer fans chanted?

  8. Jerod Mayo isn’t “worthy” of his #10 draft status, as you state. How can a simple tackler be worthy of an impact draft status? He’s not Patrick Willis or even John Beason (drafted much later after him). He makes very few impact plays, but rather runs with the same, tired “keep everything in front of you” routine. A Boston Herald article calls him “the unquestioned leader of the Defense”. Hmmm maybe that’s the problem. A passive, quiet lead by mediocre example guy may not be the guy you want as your Defensive captain.

    The other point on Wilfork and his contract is great. Why sign a pure nose tackle when Belichick knew he was going to move away from a pure 3-4? Could his money have been spent on pass rushers? Who knows. All I know is Wilfork begged and pleaded to rush the passer more, and now he’s got his shot. The results? Underwhelming.

  9. This writer is nearly as lazy as Shank S. Not quite, but close. What a waste of time reading that piece of drivel. Are criticisms warranted? Sure, but man, do your homework.

    • oldskool138 says:

      Uh, did you not read the part where he breaks it down? You should because he did his homework.

      At least he spared us the Bruce Springsteen references, right?

    • I challenge you to find facts that back up your argument. You want a fluff and puff go listen to Fred Smerlas. I stated a position and I defend it. I have yet to see anyone poke whole into other than the Patriots are a great organization or Bill is a great coach. That is not the argument. The argument is why is talent on this defense not what it once was.

  10. I was going to comment on this submission after only reading the first 3/16th of it, but ultimately decided that wouldn’t be fair to George.

  11. All I can really do is apologize for whatever role I played in getting us to this point.

  12. “But he has FAILED to field a championship defense since he shipped Richard Seymour out of town three seasons ago.”

    FACT: Other teams have FAILED to field a championship defense since Belichick shipped Richard Seymour out of town three seasons ago.

    FACT: I will state the names of some of these teams

    FACT: Pittsburgh
    FACT: NY Jets
    FACT: Baltimore
    FACT: Pokes, including DeMarcus Ware
    FACT: San Diego

    FACT: Teams referred to as having championship caliber defenses by those who like to make this lame attack on Belichick: Pittsburgh, NY Jets, Baltimore, Pokes (including DeMarcus Ware), San Diego

  13. Chuck Schick says:

    I think one of the big problems here is that George’s facts are couched with opinion—and, dare I say, ARROGANCE—throughout the article. And to make it worse, they’re simply regurgitated from the local sports-talk “brain trust.” I think we all can concede that the defense has been underwhelming over the first THREE games of the season (that’s a fact, to say the least). But anyone who is going to jump to conclusions that early is a little too high-strung for my tastes, and may benefit from turning the radio off for a little while.

    With that opinion of my own, let’s take a look at George’s opinions, which make up a significant part of this article and should be argued along with the many facts he presents.

    Opinion: The cap is crap.
    Fact: The Patriots have been the most successful team over the last decade (larger sample size than 3 games) because they manage the cap so well and have not had to endure a rebuilding period. It’s a fact that no other team has managed to put together a sustained record of success like the Patriots in this era, but George feels like he is still owed more, as he clearly indicates here. Sure, 3 Super Bowl championships every 4 years would be great, but it’s just not realistic. It’s a fact that every team in the league has failed to match that level of success since the Patriots accomplished the feat.

    Opinion: Belichick is arrogant.
    Fact: If you have a problem with the coach’s perceived arrogance, while he is leading the greatest run of football we have ever seen here, you are not really a fan. Also, you don’t make a great case against arrogance when you pepper your piece with sports-talk bon mots that are arrogant in their own right, like “Kool-Aid drinkers” and “in Bill we trust.” Thanks for letting us know how much of a better, more sophisticated fan you are. You just forgot to use “footy pajamas.” Maybe in the follow-up piece.

    Opinion: You could give Tom Brady about 20 other team’s defenses and he could win the Super Bowl THIS year.
    Fact: This may be true, may not be true. But the true mistake here is not to look at team-building as a whole, including both offense and defense. Teams like Tennessee, Cincinnati, and Jacksonville are in the top 5 of team defense right now. But could Brady win with the offense on those teams? Would their offensive lines give Brady, clearly the franchise player, the protection he needs to excel as he has? Just a thought.

    I think this is why many people have a problem with this article. It’s not the FACTS, but rather the manner in which they are presented: with a large helping of smarm. You can present facts and opinions and in a way that leads to intelligent discussion, but this simply isn’t the way to do it. Having your own opinions, and not simply parroting those of your media heroes, might be a good place to start.

  14. Argue the minutiae and throw jobs all day about the flaws in his reasoning but no one is addressing the fundamental and legitimate question George has posted…. If Bill is such a defensive genius, why has the defense been worse the last couple years, especially this year? Bill obviously knows it seeing as there has been a tweak in the defensive front and the type of personnel they have added to the Def., but why is the defense still so bad?

    I also ask…

    1 – What evidence, other than ‘wait and see’, do we have that it will be better?
    2 – Why, when we had someone the calilber of Seymour (who has been beast in Oakland this year) and when the pure 3-4 players were difficult to find (supposedly), did the Pats not tweak defensive schemes earlier to take advantage of those strengths? Or at the very least, in knowing that they would change things up this year, why not go for prototypical 4-3 players in the draft? Their ‘answers’ (Haynesworth, Ellis, Anderson and Carter) weren’t on the roster until camp for understandable reasons (lockout), but seeing as they were in the middle of the lockout at draft time, you’d think they would look to address the defense to some degree then, simply for the fact that they didn’t know what options they would have when the lockout ended. In my opinion, the fact that they drafted a RB in rounds 2 and 3 is evidence, even if only slim evidence, that the draft got away from them and players they thought would be available weren’t, so they ended up in a ‘value’ situation and doubled up on a position that was not a glaring weakness early on.

    • I don’t believe this is George’s “point” at all. George’s point was to scream and yell about this team not having Clay Matthews and a defense that can rack up fantasy points for him and his fairweather friends.

      A discussion of why the defense has struggled, what the changes in the league and the rules have done to defensive game planning and why the team has focused on the areas it has is far beyond the pay grade and intellectual capabilities of the author. With all due respect, he’s a sports radio wannabe with poor writing skills and limited understanding. But I’m sure his buddies gave him some high-fives for his awesome takes.

      This is actually precisely the opposite of what we have come to read on this site over the years.

      • oldskool138 says:

        “George’s point was to scream and yell about this team not having Clay Matthews and a defense that can rack up fantasy points for him and his fairweather friends.”

        You couldn’t be more wrong. The fact that you see it this way means you’ve been blinded by the “in Bill we trust” mantra. You *can* say critical things about this franchise, as successful as they are, when they make mistakes and still be a die hard fan.

        I was a die hard fan during the Carroll years and, guess what? I was critical of the team and no one called me a bandwaggoner. Weird, huh?

        • Ooo, the Carroll years. That’s hard-core. It’s like they say, nothing drops testicles like your team going 8-8. That’s some street cred right there.

          • oldskool138 says:

            Sorry I can’t go back in time and experience the really shitty years you old bastard.

        • You’re missing the point. I don’t care when a fan becomes a fan. But you’re suggesting being a die-hard during a three-year period in which the team twice made the playoffs is somehow a feat. It’s not, and it only reinforces the idea that you’re spoiled as a Patriots fan.

    • Greg Doyle says:

      Seymour wasn’t much of a “beast” yesterday. And of the two, Wilfork had a better game.

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