I don't post here very often, and I believe this is the first-ever thread I've started, but this article, written by a long-time buddy of mine and the founder of the CHFF site, pretty much nails it, in my opinion. This is how I've felt for a very long time about the Patriots' sudden, dramatic style-shift following the catastrophic (some would say rigged) defeat in the '06 AFCC at Indy. It's high time they get back to playing football the "old school" way--even though, yes, The Polian Rules don't allow for that type of football to be played without consequences all the time. Over the long haul, my view is that the refs can't call EVERYTHING, and that in the post-season they call fewer and fewer penalties anyway. So I say, roll the dice, put the "high-octane" offensive side show to bed and start grinding out wins again. It's what won them those first two Super Bowls (the third title team was simply one of the best and most balanced NFL teams of all time).
As for the 2013 Patriots, I do believe there's a severe overreaction going on among the fanbase and, of course, the BB-hating media. Young WRs are going to make mistakes, especially in a complicated offense such as NE's. The good news is that--unless my lying eyes need glasses--I thought I saw Dobson and Thompkins getting open on a consistent basis Thursday night. So clearly, the talent appears to be there; it just needs to be cultivated and they still have 15 weeks (including the bye) to get that accomplished. Amendola will return--he's not as fragile as is being advertised. His injuries with the Rams were the unavoidable football-types of injuries that could hit any player, and groin injuries happen to athletes. What can you do? Most of you old enough to remember the Pete Carroll era might also remember that Willie McGinest missed the better part of two seasons in the late 90s with constant groin pulls/tears, or whatever. He even underwent offseason abdominal surgery to lessen the likelihood of groin injuries popping up again. I'd say Willie's career worked out OK in the end.
For those of you pining for Welker's "toughness" over Amendola's "fragility", I would simply remind you that Welker did suffer a torn ACL during his Patriots career, but since it happened in Week 17 instead of Week 6, he only missed one playoff game and came back by opening day the following season. Had it happened earlier in the year, he would have missed several games, and then perhaps HIS durability would be in question, no? The timing of that torn ACL had a lot to do with Welker not missing significant playing time.
Oh, and the best TE in the world will be returning soon. Vereen was a tough loss, but as soon as Bolden is ready to roll, the depth at RB will start to look better as well.
As for the defense, we can nit-pick all day long, but the bottom line is that they have allowed 24 points this season (obviously, the 7 on the fumble return in Buffalo do not count). The coverage in the secondary has been much better, too, save for a couple of correctable breakdowns, which happen to ALL defenses in the modern NFL. I know it was only against two rookie QBs, and that much tougher tests lie ahead, but what I'm seeing is much tighter coverage in the secondary against teams that, for all of their QB issues, still ran receivers like Santonio Holmes and Steve Johnson out there the past couple of weeks.
As for Brady's antics: I understand his frustration, but he's got to tone it down. I lived in South Florida for five years in the early 90s--the last few good, productive years of Dan Marino's career--and I became increasingly embarrassed for him as he constantly berated his teammates whenever things would go wrong, regardless of whether or not the breakdowns were their fault. The good news is that I believe Brady, unlike Marino or even P. Manning, is more equipped mentally to deal with NOT being the central focus of the offense than those two guys are/were. He's been the "game manager" engine driving the bus before, and he can be that way again. Marino and Manning were used to having the teams built around THEM their entire careers, and neither could handle any kind of change--Marino's dust-ups with Jimmy Johnson, after JJ wanted to reshape the Miami offense into the image of the offenses he ran in Dallas, were legendary (if underpublicized by the Marino-worshipping So. Florida media).
Anyway, enjoy the article. Feel free to share your thoughts, of course. And keep the faith! The team is 2-0, and 2-0 in the division, and they don't award style points in the NFL....just wins and losses.