not just the ingredients (players), the recipe (schemes), or the cooks (coaches).
The good news is that the outcome (wins or losses) isn't too far off from being consistently good.
Let's face it, if McD decides to go spread offense and doesn't care about having a timely, effective running game - then the Patriots are going to win quite a few games if nothing else changes. The Patriots will simply have to accept that the team is prone to losing to those teams that have an effective pass rush and can cover. Plain in simple. The odds are that we would face a team like that somewhere in the playoffs; and would likely lose. Teams like the Giants (and Cardinals) are Kryptonite to the Patriots.
However, if the Patriots want to win another Superbowl - they will have to add some ingredients.
Consistent Pass Rush That Can Get To Opposing QBs. From last night's game, it's safe to say that our secondary is still suspect. So, if they want to continue masking our secondary weakness - they need to find a left DE that can put pressure on the QB opposite of Jones. Alternatively, the Patriots will need to find a "shut down" CB. Since the chances of that are slim, mebbe we can work on finding an above average left DE.
Developing a consistent rushing game. I'm not talking about "balance", I'm talking about moving the chains when the passing game is shut down, or when we need manage the clock, or when we simply need a tough yard. I don't like the fact that Woodhead is getting so many touches. IMO, McD should commit to Ridley getting the lion's share of touches whether it's a straight up run, play action, screen pass, or just plain blocking. In addition, it'd be nice to see a FB or TE blocking for him out front.
Obsession With Passing/Spread. I'm not nearly as concerned about the passing game as many other posters are. Yes, Hernandez' absence is going to hurt - BUT, if the OL has a good day protecting Brady - he, in turn, will more likely than not, hit his intended receivers.
Punter is fine, FG kicker is fine (although Ghost doesn't seem to have the leg he used to have on kickoffs). Not sure yet if our kickoff/punt coverage has improved or not. We certainly still could use some help w/ kickoff and punt returns. Demps surely would have been an interesting option, but that's water under the bridge at this point.
I know people are going to get pizzed off - so, let me make this clear - I'm not saying that coaches should be replaced or whatever. That being said, the coaches need to do a better job of calling offensive and defensive plays. IMO, the offensive play calling has questionable - and like many others have said, the defensive play calling has been suspect too.
The offensive play calling needs to be more unpredictable, the defensive play calling more imaginative and aggressive.
I'm not talking about trick plays, I'm not talking about blitzing 24 hours a day - I"m talking about creating opportunities that can change the tide of the game or put someone away.
THERE HAS BEEN NO KILLER INSTINCT ON EITHER SIDE OF THE BALL. Remember when the Ravens did an all out blitz on Brady and knocked him back? What an awesome call by the Ravens DC.
So, it's easier said than done. I think most of the ingredients are there. We're maybe 3-4 players away from having an awesome starting lineup (altho could use more for depth).
McD has to get his shyt together.
Matt Patricia (the DC) has to improve our secondary somehow and become more aggressive between the 40s.