By Bruce Allen, Patriots Daily Staff
Here are your New England Patriots, coming off a 14-2 season, and returning all their key players, while adding a new draft class, and veteran players such as Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, Andre Carter and Chad Ochocinco.
Should be an exciting season, no? One to look forward to?
Once again, if you listen to the local talkmasters on radio or television, you know that in reality, this team is in BIG trouble. Oh sure, the hosts will make sure they tell you once or twice a show that this team will finish 14-2 again and win the AFC East, but the other 99.9% of the time they are on the air, they’re letting you know that this team is a house of cards, just ready to be toppled by the slightest breeze.
The Patriots can’t draft. That is crystal clear. Belichick tries to get too clever every year, trading around, and all he ends up with are stiffs. Every year. He’s completely lost his touch at drafting, and now that all the players from the Parcells era are finally gone, this team has no home-grown talent that they haven’t completely lucked into.
Tom Brady’s window is closing. Unanimous MVP or not, he’s on the way down. He’s not the player he was when they were winning championships. Football isn’t his priority anymore. Globetrotting with his supermodel wife and his kids come first. His teammates wonder about his commitment. Even if Brady were still at the top of his game, the offensive line can’t protect him. Against a good or even decent line like the Jets, Ravens, Giants or even the freakin’ Detroit Lions or Cleveland Browns, the line folds up and Brady goes down. When Brady is getting hit he is an average or below average quarterback and the team can’t win. You think he’s going to repeat the miraculous season he had last year? No way. He’s good for double-digit picks this season.
Running game? BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a pedestrian back at best. Danny Woodhead is on the verge of brain damage from the hard hits he takes, and then you have a pair of fragile, injury-prone rookies who couldn’t get on the field in training camp. Good luck with that.
The receivers are aging. Did you know that Deion Branch didn’t catch a single pass in the preseason???? Welker is disgruntled about a lack of a contract extension, and Chad Ochocinco isn’t smart enough to pick up the Patriots offense and spends too much time Tweeting instead of studying the playbook. The other receivers have no talent and will hopefully never have to see the field. The tight ends will lose their focus this season after the team unceremoniously cut mentor Alge Crumpler. Bringing in another Gronkowski? Get ready for a frat party in the tight end meetings each day, and with Hernandez in that group, well, things could get illegal quickly.
The defense? You do realize that this was the worst third-down defense in franchise history, right? Even those 1-15 and 2-14 teams weren’t this bad. They only survived the season because they forced so many lucky turnovers. That’s not going to happen again.
Albert Haynesworth? You Patriots sycophants are willing to just give him a free pass on everything and think he’s going to actually be a model citizen here? He’s done. He can’t get on the field, he’s lazy, he’s going to have maybe one good game and then tank for the rest of the year. Shaun Ellis? You’re picking up Jets rejects now? Picking up players just because they had a good playoff game against you is no way to build a roster, Mr Belichick. Who’s going to rush the passer? The ancient Andre Carter? Sure, he looked OK against the scrubs of the Tampa Bay Bucs, but what’s he going to do against real offensive lines? Mark Anderson? They guy is a sieve against the run. They cut Gerard Warren? What are they thinking?
The linebacker except for Mayo are a bunch of JAGS and Mayo himself is overrated. The team cut their best two safeties in James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather and are relying on an injury-prone Pat Chung, who single-handedly (along with several others) cost the team the Jets playoff game with his ill-advised fake punt call. That’s your leader in the secondary? Who are the other guys? An undrafted second year player? A guy you grabbed off waivers from the Broncos last year? Another Jets retread? Good luck back there.
The defensive backs are all too big. There’s no way Devin McCourty is repeating his rookie season. He’s not that good. Darius Butler looked OK as a rookie too, remember? Leigh Bodden is coming off major surgery, and Ras-I Dowling is as sturdy as a 5000-year-old Ming Vase. Then you add a guy cut from the soon-to-be AFC South Champs, which are loaded with talent, but still…
This team cannot beat the Jets. The Jets are in the Patriots head, that much is crystal clear. Fact, not opinion.
Overall, you’ve just got to wonder about Bill Belichick’s commitment to this team. Did he try to load up this year, go all-in before he calls it quits? You have to admit, having the NFL Films documentary about him sure looked like he was trying to secure his legacy, Lombardi-style, before riding off into the sunset and taking the job he’s always really wanted, that of the New York Giants.
How do you feel about your season now, fanboys?