Re: Early season health paying dividends ...
posted at 11/30/2013 1:51 PM EST
In response to DeadAhead's comment:
Thanks. There is no question about the role Bill and the entire coaching staff (earlier McD and of late Matt Patricia) have mitigated the extreme roster turnover this season. I think it also vindicates the micro-management policy, where Ne is constantly eyeballing every last roster spot to the tune of a bevy of cryptic tiny personell decisions throughout the season. Ultimately those players contribute something.
We could also spend time lauding the sole veterans on the offense like Brady and Edelman who played enough mistake free football to win in what was the football IR list equivalent of the perfect storm. The offense wasn't in a position to excel, but it was in a position to help itself. New England is currently 5th in total giveaways despite playing with the all-NCAA team for the first seven weeks, and with a different starting cast each of the first eight weeks. And that comes after a game that featured 3 fumbles (NE was tied for second before last weeks butterfinger's eating competition).
And of course, the standout play of players on defense deserves a nod as well. A couple immense clutch performances from Talib (Demaryius Thomas and Jimmy Graham together combined for 41 yards and one TD) take front an center stage. Chad Jones' season long campaign for sack champion is as crucial as anything else. And Chris Jone's surprising play, the depth at LBer, Steve Gregory, Dennard, et al, provide a great frame for how resilient and competetive they have been on defense.
My thread is really about circumstances and the hidden fortune.
Early in the season while the board was really contentious, many people were commenting that, even if it was ugly, the situation that forced Thompkins, Dobson, Edelman, and Mulligan out there as a starting unit was a blessing in disguise.
I began to reflect on that. Perhaps if Gronk and Amendola were healthy from the get-go NE might have won against Cincinatti. But if Thompkins hadn't gotten those reps erarly on would NE have beaten Denver? When Dobson went down and Thompkins came in for three catches in the biggest drive of the game I really wondered that.
If Dobson and Hooman miss a few games down the stretch, and you are basically starting from square one with Thompkins, it would likley have been a larger impedement than it is now.
Outside of the great coaching, clutch situational play by veterans, and fantastic development by newer players ... this one circumstance, which no one would have wanted or would have tried, might be coming back to help the team overall as it grinds toward another playoff birth.