With the New England Patriots losing two straight games and having one of the worse defenses in the league for the past year and a half, despite having a 'genius' head coach who specializes in that side of the ball, you have to wonder if we are witnessing the end of an era. New England has been a staple of excellence in the NFL the past decade, making four SuperBowl appearances, winning three, and have always been a threat to go to the big game year after year. But now, this once feared team is frankly looking…gasp…average.
The reputation and mystique of this team is at such a high level that it's always a shock when they lose a game but the reality is that we shouldn't be surprised when they lose, we should save that for if they make the playoffs. Yes, the Patriots have one of the best coaches and QB combos in football history and they have one of the most reliable wideouts in the league in Wes Welker but beyond that, um, there isn't much to look at. They have no deep threat in that receiving corps, no premier rusher and that defense is as horrible as earlier described.
It's frankly a wonder that this team can win on a consistent basis.
Whatever Faustian deal that Bill Belichick bartered for to turn his fledgling coaching career into the stuff of legends is apparently wearing off as bad personnel moves and even worse drafts have left the Patriots in a state of severe talent deficiency. I guess you can only trade away your first rounders for multiple later round picks that you whiff on for so long before the talent pool of a team starts to whither.
In the media, the Pats coaches and players are all saying the right things but you know that things are starting to get tense in that locker room. Heck, there was a sense of panic from the team even before the season started as they went out and brought in two talented headcases known to disrupt locker-rooms in Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco, so you know that now that both these experiments have failed and the team is in a bad state of vulnerability, things must be getting pretty bad behind doors.
So where did it all go wrong?
To listen to experts, the main issue with the Patriots is also one their greatest assets, Bill Belichick. Belichick, an excellent x's and o's kinda guy, is severely lacking when it comes to talent recognition and personnel moves and he apparently has final say in all these moves, unlike during their SuperBowl runs when he had Scott Pioli keeping him in check. With nobody to challenge him, he's fumbling around like a drunk man in a dark room trying to patch together a winning team.
The Patriots are still going to get there respect on-field as long as Tom Brady is under center because that dude can win a game singlehandedly, it seems, but they are getting to the point where they are going to have to do some serious rebuilding before they can really prove to be a SuperBowl threat again.
The why of this thinking is simple and can best be described in the facts; The Patriots are respected for their four SuperBowl appearances in the past decade. The reality, however, is that they haven't won a playoff game since 2007.
It's that simple.
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