By Bruce Allen, Patriots Daily Staff
This Patriots season is being anticipated with doom and gloom not seen in these parts since the end of the Pete Carroll era.
Here’s a sampling of opinions I’ve heard on the Patriots from the media and fans in recent weeks:
(And for the record, I’m not suggesting that all these are inaccurate.)
The defense already can’t get a pass rush, now with Ty Warren out, they’re going to have trouble stopping the run. Depth on the defensive line is an issue. With Leigh Bodden out, the secondary is too young and inexperienced. They’ve got no depth at outside linebacker. Their inside linebackers aren’t playmakers. Their Pro Bowl safety is not worthy of the honor, and is in fact so immature that the team has to keep turning back to James Sanders, who actually knows the defense. They’re going to get torched by the better offenses in the NFL. The Packers and Colts are going hang 40 on the Patriots defense – easily.
On the offensive side, they don’t have a lead running back. They don’t have their best offensive lineman, who is holding out and has demanded a trade. They’re trying to break in two rookie tight ends, and this offense has NEVER made the tight end a big part of the offense. They’ve got a quarterback who doesn’t have a new contract, and isn’t as devoted to the game as he’s been in the past. Randy Moss wants a new contract, and his quest might become a distraction if he doesn’t get the catches he feels he needs to get the biggest deal possible. Wes Welker won’t be the same player he’s been in the past. The other receivers are young and inexperienced.
On special teams, they’ve got a rookie punter who was inconsistent in camp. The return game was horrible last season, and rests hope on a second year receiver who missed almost his entire rookie season with a devastating knee injury.
The coaching staff is too small, and too inexperienced. Bill Belichick has spread himself too thin with no offensive or defensive coordinators. His ego has gotten out of control and he thinks he can take on way too much. The QB coach, who has been the primary playcaller, isn’t always on the same page as Tom Brady.
The owner is more concerned about saving money, and about his power within the NFL than he is with paying his star players and keeping a championship team. His son, the heir to the team is too concerned with building a shopping complex around the stadium and will use the money that should go to the players to add a new Bed, Bath and Beyond to the mall.
The schedule is way too tough. It’s the toughest schedule they’ve faced in years, especially within the division with the new powerhouse of the NFL, the New York Jets getting ready to embark on a historical campaign. The Miami Dolphins are going to be tough, like Bill Parcells-built teams always are. Third place is a likely scenario for the Patriots. Outside of the division, powerhouses such as Indianapolis, Baltimore, Green Bay, Minnesota and Pittsburgh lay in wait, just licking their chops and itching for the opportunity to stick it to the “team of the decade.”
OK, so what did I miss?
If you listen to the above, a 5-11 season sounds downright optimistic.
Good thing the games aren’t played based on opinions.