Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

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    Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

         The probable loss of Wes Welker for the season makes this a disasterous  afternoon for the Patriots. Worse yet, the team imploded on the road in the 4th quarter again...as the Pats allowed the Texans to put up 21 unanswered points, in an ugly 34-27 loss. 

         This morning, I read an article by one of the few New England area sportswriters whom I hold in high regard, Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal. Having watched this game, and the Patriots all season, Donaldson seemed prophetic in his assessment of the team: http://www.projo.com/patriots/content/sp_fbn_jim_donaldson03_01-03-10_OOGVTFM_v3.278031c.html.

         Here are my grades:

         A.) OFFENSE: After dominating the Jaguars last week, the OL went back to their woossy ways today in Houston...and particularly in the 4th quarter. Though Julian Edelman performed admirably in his stead, losing Wes Welker was a horrific blow to the "O". 

    1.) QB: Well, now we know whats' been ailing Tom Brady. Playing with three broken ribs has to be painful. That said, today was a prime example of how a QB is only as good as his OL allows him to be. When Tom had the time, he was magnificent. Unfortunately, for most of this game, he was under heavy pressure. It didn't help that the ultimate safety valves, Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk, weren't at his disposal. Tom's 4th quarter interception was ugly. But, I'm hard pressed to pin it on him, considering the fierce pressure he was under by Mario Williams. Brian Hoyer flashed potential. But, I can't understand why, on a 4th and 4 with 18 seconds remaining, that he would throw a 2 yard pass? 
    GRADE: C-;

    2.) RBs: As was the case with the QBs, today was a prime example of how a RB is only as good as his OL. I became ill watching Patriots' RBs constantly get hit behind the line of scrimmage all afternoon. A combination of a poor hand-off exchange and wimpish blocking led to a Fred Taylor fumble in the end zone, costing the Pats a TD. As was the case with the QBs, I'm hard pressed to pin too much blame on the RBs, considering the horrific play of the OL.
    GRADE: D;

    3.) OL: After doing an adequate job in the first three quarters, this group completely fell apart in the 4th stanza. The pass protection was awful, as Mario Williams dominated the line of scrimmage. The run blocking was even worse, as the Pats running attack was non-existent. The result? The Pats were unable to close out yet another road game...this time blowing a 14 point lead in the final 10 minutes.
    GRADE: F;

    4.) TEs and WRs: Ben Watson got involved early, but disappeared as an option in the second half. This was because it was once again necessary to hold him in, to aid the pathetic OL in pass protection. Randy Moss could have been more of a weapon than he was, if Tom Brady was given a little time to find him. As stated above, Julian Edleman filled in for Wes Welker well, contibuting 10 receptions for 103 yards.
    GRADE: C;

         B.) DEFENSE:
    After performing reasonably well in a "bend but don't break" mode for three quarters, the wheels completely came off the the 4th quarter. NT Vince Wilfolk and DE Ty Warren were noticeably missed. A non-existent pass-rush led to the secondary getting exposed, yet again.

    1.) DL: Whoever filled in for Wilfolk and Warren should turn in their paychecks. For the most part, Texans' QB Matt Schaub was given all day to throw, as he completed 24/39 passes, for 303 yards. The boys up front were pushed around by the Texans' mediocre OL in the 4th quarter. That being the case, the Pats' "D"  allowed Houston, a team with statistically the worst running game in football, a 100 yard rusher...as rookie Arian Foster rushed 20 times for 119 yards:
    GRADE: F;

    2.) LBs: Though OLBs Derrick Burgess and Tully Banta-Cain had their moments, they were too few and far between. Adalius Thomas continued on his crusade to play his way out of New England. There were also a ton of missed tackles by the usually dependable ILB duo of Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton. Failure to contain on screens and running plays led to several big gains:
    GRADE: F;

    3.) SECONDARY: Darius Butler giveth, and Darius Butler taketh away. After covering fairly well in the first half, and an alert tip-drill pick, which he returned 92 yards for a TD, Butler was torched in the 4th quarter by mediocre WR, Jacoby Jones. Lots of tackles by the safeties, James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather. They were needed to stop Foster, who was constantly breaking into the secondary. Too much cushion was given up to Houston receivers, underneath. The Patriots can proudly point to holding all-pro Andre Johnson to under 70 yards for the game, thanks to some fine work from veteran CB Shawn Springs. But, short passes to RBs, TEs, and slot receivers proved to be a death by 1000 cuts. The Pats "D" couldn't get off the field on 3rd down, as Houston converted several 3rd and 9-12s. Schaub simply was given too much time to throw.
    GRADE: C;        

         C.) SPECIAL TEAMS: Other than a 51 yard FG by Stephen Gostkowski, this unit was horrible. As has been the case all year, the Pats got nothing from their kick return and punt return game. Kick coverage was terrible, as the Pats allowed an avverage of 36 yards per kick-off return. The Jacobi Jones 30 yard punt return led to an easy Texans' TD, to tie the game at 27...setting up the eventual Houston win.
    GRADE: F;

          D.) COACHING:
    BB is sure to be criticized by the national press for playing his top players. But, Wes Welker got injured on the Patriot's first series, on a play where he blew out his left knee, making a cut. In contrast, ol' Horseface played most of the first half in Buffalo, and came out unscaved. Folks...thats' just an awful case of bad luck.

         But, where I do question Bill was his decision to replace Tom Brady with Brian Hoyer, after the Pats had made a fine goal-line stand against the Texans. Why start off the inexperienced Hoyer in such a horrid situation? The result? Some poor blocking, and a messy hand-off later, Fred Taylor fumbles, and the Pats hand the Texans a TD. 

         Obviously, the Pats need more talent on defense. But, one must wonder whether Dean Pees is the right man for the job. We've seen these 4th quarter implosions far too many times this year. Its' been years since a Patriots' team has been so inept at closing out games:
    GRADE: D

          E.) PLAY OF THE GAME:
    The 31 yard punt return by Jacobi Jones, which set up the game tying score.

          F.) GAME BALLS:
    Arian Foster, Mario Williams, Matt Schaub, and Jacobi Jones.

          Here are the game stats: http://espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=300103034

         Thoughts?    
           


          
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Patsman2. Show Patsman2's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    Have to give the coaching staff a big fat F- for this game.  I think it was probably the worst coached game of BB's career in NE or at least in the last 5 years.  From who to start/rest, the substitutions during the game, play calling, half time adjustments, and on and on.  just plain horrible.

    Im still trying to figure out if they were playing to win this game or not with all the crazy substitutions.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from arxaquila3. Show arxaquila3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    As usual a clear insightful analysis of the game.  Only thing missing is a peak into BB's mind which I think may clarify why the 4th qtr fell apart. The outcome of the game only makes sense if you see BB's goals in the following order:

    1. Continue to use regular season games as opportunities to work on the team's weaknesses and develop younger players to the detriment of wins without sacrificing playoff opportunities.  (check).
    2. Get 4th seed. (check)
    3.  Keep players healthy till the post-season. (oops).

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from jedinate. Show jedinate's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    "I think it was probably the worst coached game of BB's career in NE or at least in the last 5 years"

    Let's take it, the next step, and say this his worst coached year, as the pats' coach. Agreed?
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from krismk. Show krismk's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    I have no problem with Welker playing and getting hurt...that's the breaks.  Some WR's manage to get killed when not even playing.

    If the intent of the crazy packages and play-calling was to get looks at new or inexperienced players, it certainly didn't help any Offensive flow or continuity, or help the Defensive team-building.

    Hopefully, a pissed-off Pat's team gets to host the Texan's in the snow next week to return the favor.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Patsman2. Show Patsman2's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    jedinate ---- Agreed, bad year for BB
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from DBAZ22. Show DBAZ22's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    Well TP again this team played three great quarters on the road, and the defense couldn't stop my flag football team in the fourth quarter, and the offense turtled once again.  But much to your coaching points - what was the purpose of reinserting TB to the game in the third quarter?  Even at that why even bring him back in after the 27-13 lead?  Too many headscratchers surrounding this one.  They did look very vanilla in the 4th quarter making one think that was on purpose, but they have looked very vanilla on O all season long on the road.  Bottom line it looks like the Ravens are coming to town next week, and that will be a battle, but one I see the Pats pulling out.  Then it is on to SD, where unless this team finds "lightning" in a bottle (pun intended) they could be on the golf course two weeks from tomorrow. 
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from darwk. Show darwk's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    Tex- Dean Pees is a disaster. The tale of the two halfs all season has proven that point. I could not believe they imploded once again on the road, blew a nice lead and the D and OL just stopped playing in the 4th.
    Of course the Wes injury only puts more salt on the wound, but that was a freak injury. On the other hand we were fortunate Tom wasn't carted off the field on a stretcher.
    I don't know what BB was thinking pulling Tom when he did and then putting him back in again. He won't tell us. Tom didn't make himself available for the press after the game, which is unusual. I thought he was throwing well, and like you agree that his pass protection (or lack there of) hurt him most of all.
    Another tough loss- especially after all the talk this week from players (including Tom) about building momentum and winning the game. I believed that in the first half.
    Whatever the injury is to Wes my best wishes to him for a speedy and full recovery.
    He is an Iron man- and the MVP of the team this season.
    I don't know what to think about the Pats chances s they move into play off season. The Jeckle and Hyde act is unacceptable.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Patsman2. Show Patsman2's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    Also J Gaffney today 12 catches 200 yards.  Wouldnt he make a nice 3rd reciever?  Along with the bad coaching decisions this year, this past offseason may wave been the worst they have had in a long time as well.  Plenty of guys they coulda shoulda resigned.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from dbeach48. Show dbeach48's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    4th kills em every time.
    BB has been mediocore since the horrible loss to Indy in 2008

    Pees has no imagination

    Another DISASTER in tx
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from sml1210. Show sml1210's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    "But, I can't understand why, on a 4th and 4 with 18 seconds remaining, that he would throw a 2 yard pass?"

    Bill O'Brien. Both he and can of Pees must go.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatFanInBA2. Show PatFanInBA2's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    Thanks TP.

    We are becoming frighteningly consistent - take a solid lead (9 points, 14 points, 17 points etc.) into the 4th quarter on the road and then inexplicably lose the game - on both offense and defense. 

    How the bloody hell can we be so damn consistent at this?

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from futbal. Show futbal's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    TP3, Great stuff...I did not see the game, only the box scrore and did not see any mention in the box on  Adalius Thomas (ie not tackles, assists, sacks or INT) so was not sure he played or not...What a POS...agentcooper, very interesting intelligence report; they may have looked whipped but it has been  a very up and down year and losing Welker was...a downer...
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from SICOFITALL. Show SICOFITALL's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    Sorry Im not as down on BB as the rest of you. This guy has no help, none. I dont take anyone serious who criticizes resting or playing the starters. And they felt Wes was gone, thats why 12 came back in. In all honesty this is a bad team making it to the palyoffs. Terrible p-calling, D that continues to struggle holding onto leads, I mean 21 unanwsered, cmon. And halftime adjustments, unles your going to "adjust" Woods for Willie, and so on, only so much you can do. Im hardly the smartest guy in the room or this forum, but its the players. We dont have the guys for our 34, 2 gap system. Guys on the D-line and Backers. Mayo is either hurt or regressed, he cant get off the block and continues to get beat around the edge. This offense depends on time and smart rec's. Pressure has been on 12 all year, even though they didnt give up that many sacks. We have no tight end, serious, our t.e dont/wont/cant go over the middle and get the ball. We only have 1 deep threat, count em' one! And Wes is/was great, but doesnt put points on the board, sorry its true. Why do U think every team we play puts two of their best on 81. That wears on ya too, Hes always got the best in front of him, in the form of Revis n Rhodes every game. Others should be able to step up. This O is as predictable as U can get. Was I the only one that called that Davis int, in the end zone. Or the Mike Mck's one at the 5yrd line. Its been like that all year. Actually reminds me of the first year Joe Gibbs came back, that was awful to watch. And our running game is inconsistent, from the players, and again to the play-calling.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

         Coop...you stated the following:

    "Saw the game live. Really grateful the Pats played and didn't "lay down."  

    RESPONSE: I could have gone to the game, but passed. After seeing what happened to Wes Welker, and seeing the Pats lay another 4th quarter egg, I'm glad I didn't go. In a word...depressing.

    Alas, tho, Texans marched up and down the field at will. Pass rush was anemic. Shaub had time for coffee while he decided which open receiver to throw to. And it was the first time I've seen the Texans o-line blowing people off the line when they ran. (okay, no vince and ty, but still).

    RESPONSE: Amen. I have seen several Texans' games this year. Its' the first time that I've seen their OL dominate anyone. The performance of the Pats' defensive front seven was shameful.

    Amazingly, though, it seemed the whole stadium had packed it in when the pats went up by two touchdowns (a kind of "here we go again" -- which happens when your kicker misses a PAT and two field goals).
     
    RESPONSE: Who can blame them? The Texans are big-time choke artists.

    Apparently, Pats bought into it too. The Texans march down the field again, the crowd, which had been asleep the whole game, came roaring to life, the Texans responded, and that was one thorough whipping the last 10 minutes of the game. Complete total domination. Embarrassing.
     
    RESPONSE: Yes...embarrassing sums it up. Its' so frustrating watching the Pats blow road games this season. Denver, Indy, Miami, and now, Houston. All four games should have been wins. 

    No way this Pats team wins more than one playoff game and I bet they lose next week.  They looked whipped at the end of the game. (sorry, know it sounds whiny, just basing it on what I saw). The Texans are a better team.

    RESPONSE: I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Texans are better than the Pats. Even with the Welker injury, they'll handle the Ravens. But, thats' where it ends. 

    On a positive note, Burgess actually looked good, and Edelman was outstanding. All the people around kept asking, "who is this guy? what, a 7th round draft pick converted from QB? Belichek is a genius...."

    RESPONSE: BB's made several personnel mistakes this year. Allowing Jabar Gaffney to walk, and replacing him with 59 year old Joey Galloway, was perhaps his worst mistake. Though its' too early to grade his 2009 draft, he passed on LBs Rey Maualuga and Clay Matthews, took damaged goods WR Brandon Tate over Mike Wallace, DT Ron Brace (40th overall selection)looks like a bust, and 34th overall pick Patrick Chung looks like a glorified special teamer. That said, 58th overall pick Sabastien Vollmer could develop into a Pro-Bowl OT.       
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

         In addition to playing with broken ribs, Tom Brady is playing with a broken index finger on his passing hand...which he says bothers him more than the rib injuries. 

         Got to have some luck to win it all...and the Pats seem to be rolling snake-eyes: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/01/03/brady-has-broken-finger-too/
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from 4Adam13. Show 4Adam13's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    Game ball to Edelmann. The guy had over 100 yrds today and really stepped up. How can you replace a Welker....you can't, but Edelmann performed extremely well.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from 4Adam13. Show 4Adam13's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    Hoyer made the throw because of inexperience. He showed some promise.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

         Extremely depressing seeing Welker go down. Tough dude. Nobody plays harder. He makes the Patriots' offense go. Aside from Tom Brady, he is the teams' MVP.       
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

         Patsman...you stated:


         "Have to give the coaching staff a big fat F- for this game...From who to start/rest, the substitutions during the game, play calling, half time adjustments, and on and on...just plain horrible. Im still trying to figure out if they were playing to win this game or not with all the crazy substitutions."

         Good point. It did seem as if BB was torn between trying to win this game, or rest Tom Brady. Brady playing with broken ribs and a broken index finger on his passing hand surely caused this dilema. If Tom were 100%, I have no doubt that BB would have gone all out to win. 

       

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

         arx...you stated the following:

         "...missing is a peak into BB's mind which I think may clarify why the 4th qtr fell apart. The outcome of the game only makes sense if you see BB's goals in the following order:

    1. Continue to use regular season games as opportunities to work on the team's weaknesses and develop younger players to the detriment of wins without sacrificing playoff opportunities.  (check).
    2. Get 4th seed. (check)
    3.  Keep players healthy till the post-season. (oops).

    RESPONSE: Had Tom Brady been 100%, I have no doubt that BB would not have played Brian Hoyer at all...but would have gone all out to win. As for the 4th quarter flop, its' the same ol' story. The Pats' have no pass rush...and the "O" is unable to establish a running game.
         
        
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

         DEBAZ22...you stated the following:

         "Well TP again this team played three great quarters on the road, and the defense couldn't stop my flag football team in the fourth quarter, and the offense turtled once again.  But much to your coaching points - what was the purpose of reinserting TB to the game in the third quarter?

    RESPONSE: BB intended to play this game to win. The "X" factor was that Tom Brady was playing hurt. I think that BB didn't want to expose Tom to what he felt would be a full blitz at the goal-line. So, you yanked Tom, and went with Hoyer. He re-inserted Tom because he was playing to win...and because Tom likely insisted.

    Even at that why even bring him back in after the 27-13 lead?  Too many headscratchers surrounding this one.

    RESPONSE: The only headscrather to me was BB's substitution of Brady at the goal-line. 

    They did look very vanilla in the 4th quarter making one think that was on purpose, but they have looked very vanilla on O all season long on the road.

    RESPONSE: Their OL was terrible in the 4th quarter today. No matter who the QB, RBs, or WRs are, if the OL is not protecting well, and opening holes for the RBs...the offense goes nowhere. Add to that no Welker and Faulk...and Tom's "life preservers" are gone.

    Bottom line it looks like the Ravens are coming to town next week, and that will be a battle, but one I see the Pats pulling out.

    RESPONSE: Even without Welker, the Pats should handle the Ravens.

    Then it is on to SD, where unless this team finds "lightning" in a bottle (pun intended) they could be on the golf course two weeks from tomorrow."

    RESPONSE: Agreed. Beating the Ravens will be their last hurrah.
     
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from carawaydj. Show carawaydj's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    I think it makes sense that Tom played more than expected after Welker went down.  Let's assume BB had some sort of hunch as to the potential severity of Welker's injury.  Wouldn't you want to give your next guy up as many snaps as possible with Brady at the helm in a game environment?  It's at least a little possible that Brady was targeting Edelman with a little extra purpose today.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Paul_K. Show Paul_K's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

    I'm a conspiracy theorist. 

    This is the first time that Bill Belichick has ever ducked a postgame interview.  Why?  What does he have to hide?  Inquiring minds want to know. 

    Here's my take on the game.  The Texans played poorly.  Even Brian Hoyer was slashing through their defense.  So, BB, wanting to play Baltimore next week and Indianapolis the week after, but not wanting to disturb his highly polished machine, ordered his minions to play well, then take a dive. 

    Putting the rookie Hoyer in during the second quarter, then taking him out for Brady, then putting Hoyer in one more time with the game on the line, is wack.  Shouldn't this funny behavior of BB's ring a bell?  Can we at least agree that BB had little interest in actually winning the game today?

    Now most of the rest of the game starts to make sense.

    Why, when the Pats put on a beautiful defensive stop at the 1 yard line, does BB yank Brady for Hoyer, who hands the ball to Fred Taylor, who uncharacteristically does not hang on to the football near the goal line.  If you, as a coach, wanted to deliberately lose a game, wouldn't that be a great time to give up 7 points?  The question is, did Fred Taylor hold the ball out to a Houston player in one hand?  Did the football have a bow on it and a gift card?

    Brady threw brilliant passes all night.  Then in one critical play he decides not to throw it away.  No, he throws a perfect shot way, way up in the air in case the Houston DBs couldn't catch a cold, to just beyond where his receiver was going to be, to the spot where the safety Pollard was going to be. 

    Then Houston fouls up a first and 10 on Hoyer.  First and 5.  Hoyer calls for someone to commit an offensive hold.  OK, first and 15.  Then BenJarvis Green-Ellis, last on the depth chart, rips off a 12 yard gain with too much time on the clock.  The second stringers are threatening to win the game against Houston's incompetent first stringers.  Like in "The Producers", oy vey!  So Hoyer uncharacteristically misses Edelman 8 yards away, twice, the same exact play so Houston will cover it better, like they can't trust anyone else on the Patriots team to muff the play twice in a row. 

    Did either Edelman or Hoyer look bad as they left the field in shame?  No way.  Did Brady look particularly ticked off on the sidelines?  Not at all.  Maybe that's why Brady didn't take the podium either.  Good QB, but he's not that good a liar.

    I refuse to give BB a "D" for coaching.  I think the master chess player got exactly what he wanted except for Wes Welker blowing out his knee in the open field.  All week long we're going to hear about "the Pats are folding" from the press.  Will press and pundit reports bother the team?  Not at all.  They'll probably come out against Baltimore like they came out against Jacksonville last week.

    P.S. When I saw that wide open touchdown pass by Houston early, I had to wonder, was that another dead obvious giveaway of 7 points to an incompetent team?  How come they never did anything that stupid in the Jacksonville game?
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Texans REPORT CARD

          simroy...you stated the following:

         "TP...I disagree with your assessment on TB's 4th quarter INT.  As an experienced (and future HOF) QB, he knows more than anyone that you don't toss that ball up for grab, especially in that field position.

    RESPONSE: If you taped the game, or see this interception replayed, you'll see that Mario Williams was all over Tom when he threw that pass. Many times, QBs throw to spots on the field...as was the case here. The formula to NFL success is: QB Pressure = Turnovers. 

    ...true to his nature, he'll be the first to whip himslef during post-game/tomorrow's interview rounds.  Just a bad play (take the sake or throw it so far out of bounds a cheerleader couldn't catch it) by a guy who knows better.

    RESPONSE: He probably will blame himself. But, he was under constant pressure in the 4th quarter...and the Pats needed a big play. He gambled, and lost. No gamble would have been necessary had the OL protected.

    Your point on special teams is well taken also, they've underachieved all year and quite frankly that's one of the most disheartening things about this team.

    RESPONSE: Sweeping changes are needed for next year. The Pats, now that Ellis Hobbs is gone, have no one who is a threat to bust a return. Wes Welker is an excellent punt returner. But someone else needs to relieve him of these duties. Don't know what happened with the coverage teams. They were terrible today. Punter Chris Hanson must go.

    Offense dying in the 2nd half of games and defensive miscommunications are one thing.  Special teams is all about attitude and intelligence and none of our kick returners are displaying any of those qualities.

    RESPONSE: Attitude and intelligence applies to kick coverage teams. Raw talent, speed, and inate ability applies to a great kick returner. The Pats lack talent in this area. It was hoped that Matt Slater, and later Brandon Tate, would step in to be the answer.

    At the end of the day, this is a rebuilding year and making the playoffs is a good thing.

    RESPONSE: Completely disagree. This team underachieved. Failing to execute in the clutch cost them at least four games.  

    I don't have much confidence in them going far (they'd have to play a very good team on the road and they just haven't proven they can beat one on the road this year).  That said, if a "rebuilding year" results in a 10-6 record and a trip to the playoffs, I bet there's about a dozen or so teams that wish they could "rebuild" in this fashion.

    RESPONSE: Its' SB or bust in New England. Celebrations for making the play-offs are for Jets' fans. The 2009 Patriots underachieved in the regular season. The Matt Cassel led Pats finished 11-5...even though they didn't make the play-offs. Tough road losses to Denver, Indy, and Miami really hurt. 
     
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