Did it really take him until after week 8 to figure this all out? I hope they find some answers this bye week and players get healthy because the Panthers will be a tough game and my gosh the Denver Brocos with Welkie is going to be a bit of a test. Can we hanfg 40+ on the Broncos to be able to stay in the game?
Everyone, especially the rabid fans in New England, wants to know what’s wrong with the Patriots’ offense. After watching film this week, here’s my quick synopsis: they stink.
All of them.
It’s not just the receivers. It’s not just the pass or run blocking. It’s not just Tom Brady’s inaccuracy. It’s a combination of everything. Basically, there isn’t one thing they do well. It looks like the Patriots coaches think that as well, because the game plan against the Dolphins last Sunday was bare bones. The Pats won, 27-17, but there wasn’t a whole lot of motion or variety. They stuck to a few basic runs, a handful of different pass concepts.
The Patriots looked like they were saying, “We aren’t doing anything well at this point, so let’s dial it back and start from the basics.” The problem is, they couldn’t even execute that game plan. The first half was one of the worst performances I’ve seen in some time from the Patriots’ offensive line, both run and pass. Left guard Logan Mankins, normally the stalwart, struggled mightily in all phases of the game. He might be toughing out some sort of lower body injury. That said, the run blocking was much cleaner in the fourth quarter, so that may be something to build off of. Although I have no clue why the Patriots aren’t playing Stevan Ridley more. He’s by far their best running back. It’s not even close.
As for Brady, he’s certainly part of the problem—but not a huge part. Yes, he has missed throws he normally makes and his ball placement has been shoddy. The hand injury he’s dealing with has probably caused some of that. What I also see is that Brady, in years prior, made his living down the middle of the field to Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowsi and Aaron Hernandez. With Danny Amendola not 100%, and Gronkowski shaking the rust off, Brady has lacked those kinds of targets. He’s had to rely more on throws to the boundary; those aren’t his strong suit, and they’re a lower percentage pass in general. But the bottom line is, the Patriots’ offense is far from a lost cause (even if swapping injured right tackle Sebastian Vollmer for Marcus Cannon is a huge step down). They’ve had so much flux in personnel, they are obviously discombobulated. If they get some stability there, the Patriots can regain some of their timing coming out of a bye in Week 10.