Took some time to reflect upon the Patriots disappointing 33-30 loss to the Panthers and now it’s time to quickly put it to rest. To bury the proverbial football if you will. There’s already another game in three short days, and in this case it’s a really good thing.
I try to avoid overreacting to anything early in the season, at least until we’ve got a sample size to work with. Now, four games in, we have the sample size and yes, the defense has been historically bad. It’s almost unfathomable how many points they’ve given up. They’re dead last or close to it in every defensive stat out there and they deserve to be. There is no silver lining. No “yeah, but”. They’re all out of sync and admitted to as much after the game.
This isn’t a talent issue. This is a fundamental “play the coverage called” issue, so that’s why there actually is some hope for the defense. I’ve seen and blogged extensively about untalented defenses like those in 2010 and 2011. Those were hodge podge crews that survived because they played zone defense that allowed them to prey on turnovers while giving up epic amounts of yardage. This is a defense that can and should vary coverages like they’ve won two of the last three Super Bowls with.
Could the pass rush be better? Always, but when there are just wide open receivers or a screen pass where no one is within a mile of the ball, those are coverage lapses that cannot happen. The first couple weeks of the season? I’ll give you a slight pass. Four-straight games to start the season? Unacceptable. And historically bad.
128 points allowed through four games is the worst in team history. How is that possible? We’ve seen one- and two-win teams, but this, a team coming off a Super Bowl win, a perennial 12-win team, is THAT bad? Mind boggling.
Okay, let’s talk about the offense, who once again almost had a chance for a last-minute victory. It wasn’t perfect for them, but as far as NFL offenses go and what we’ve come to expect, they’re going to be fine.
Schematically I do worry about the pounding Brady is taking as the team goes more vertical, but I think the short passing game will continue to grow as the season goes along. Some pass protection issues, an inconsistent ground game? All things we’ve seen and overcome before. So while we can discuss and dissect plenty of minutiae, as long as he’s upright, Brady’s going to find ways to put up 30 points like he did today.
Can the defense get on the same page and hold opponents under 30? That right now is the question of 2017.
Here are a bunch more quick-hit posits as we all trudge into work on a victory-less Monday.