Re: Where do you stand?
posted at 9/13/2013 2:25 PM EDT
I am very optimistic - not because of how they played last night but the opportunities for becoming a really good team.
Over the past few years, my biggest complaint about the O was its predictability. It's the biggest difference between the recent version of the Pats and the SB-winning one. Ds back then really ahd no defense for the Pats in the playoffs because they did not know who to defend. The team was so well run. They did not have a lot of talent, so they brought the "untalented nobodies" to speed. Each was able to contribute positively.
I believe the 2001 team would not have won the SB with Bledsoe leading. Bledsoe had binkies. That made the team easy to defend. Speculation on my part but everyone including Bledsoe would have dismissed their chances of winning it all when BB put Glenn in the doghouse. People would have said they did not have enough talent to win.
Actually people were saying exactly that, the whole year of 2001. The Pats were the Cinderella that did not belong because of that. In fact people were still saying they did not have enough talent, all the way through 2003, until mid-season when it was clear, they were a juggernaut. In
In 2001, even the players themselves had doubts about how good they really were. Confidence was that high. Does anyone remember the story about BB gettign the entire team watch a movie that helped him convicne everyone that if they worked as a team, they could achieve a lot? I also think confidence turned up after the first STL game - when Martz said that they were a SB caliber team. That was the external valdiation that made things clicked in the minds of the Pats players.
Back to this team... This team has an opportunity to be as unpredictable in the playoffs. However, it will require a lot of work - getting the rookies ready to contribute even at very key moments in important games. The 2-0 record, particularly 2-0 in the div, plus 10 days to prepare for their next game gives them a bit of elbow room to progress on this path - to mind the details. Winning the next game is not as urgent.
The OLine needs to get better at run-blocking. They have good RBs. They need to give those guys a chance to get away.
The rookie receivers and TEs need to get more reliable catching the ball. TB needs to keep throwing. So long as they are not giving up turnovers doing it, things will work out.
They need help in DT. I don't know where they will get it, but they need it. The D is not as robust as it has seemed over the past two games.
Those fixed, they will not need DA, Gronk and/or Vereen to beat everyone other than Atlanta, Denver New Orleans and Houston. Those fixed + DA, Gronk and Vereen back, they will beat anyone (Vereen will not be back for NOS and Atlanta)