Ex-Patriot (and Jet and Chief and Bronco) Ty Law did the ESPN "car wash" deal the other day and, as you can see in the video above, was asked about the team with which is most closely associated.
"It's closing," Law said to Trey Wingo and the gang. "It's still open, because as long as you have Tom Brady on your team, you always got a chance. But where I think the Patriots made a mistake is they let too many of core guys at one time. You gotta leave somebody there to show the young guys 'The Patriot Way' and the way that we did things.
"And there are too many guys that are gone, and I think they're missing a lot of leadership inside the locker room."
After some panel discussion, Wingo followed up by referencing Tom Brady's comments to SI's Peter King last month that "We've got to start listening more to Coach Belichick", and asking whether or not Belichick has to re-assert his authority.
"I think they all understand because he's gonna let you know that 'I'm running the show' when he walk through the door," Law continued. "Like I said, it goes back to the leadership inside the locker room. You had so many guys there, and we built that there. We played together for a long time. You've got so many young guys there right now, and you're throwing them into the mix.
"And things were done a certain way. But when you don't have Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest, Richard Seymour, and all those guys are gone, who's gonna take that young guy by the arm and say, 'This is how we do it'? ...
"All the championship guys are gone. So that's why you probably find struggles right now with New England, especially on defense. You have that leadership on offense, because you have Tom Brady."
What they all seem to intimate -- What was special about those Patriots wasn't one leader or another; It was that everyone, in their own way, seemed to be one. Which is awfully hard to replicate.