It was an all-around embarrassment.
From Tom Brady’s on-field hissy-fits, to the ineptitude of rookie receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, to the increasingly transparent, stubborn offseason moves by Bill Belichick, to the unwatchable coverage provided by the NFL Network, Thursday night’s 13-10 Patriots win over the Jets was about as bad as football can get.
Without Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola (out a reported 2-6 with a groin problem, but don’t call him injury-prone), and Shane Vereen, not to mention Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker, for obvious reasons, the Patriots played the part of hapless combatant against New York, looking lackluster and lost for the bulk of the evening, and clearly at a crossroads despite being 2-0.
The circumstances obviously had Brady frustrated, but he simply needs to be better than that, both physically and emotionally. The quarterback was constantly barking at his overmatched receivers, put in a position they never should have been in had Belichick made defter or more logical moves in assembling this minor league squad. Brady also overthrew both Dobson and Julian Edelman, his only dependable receiver on the night, and consistently went back to the aforementioned Dobson even though the kid clearly had game night jitters. If Brady wants to portray himself the team leader we’re led to believe he is, maybe he ought to spend more time teaching the rookies rather than unceremoniously calling them out the way he has veterans Joey Galloway and Brandon Lloyd, who we can only assume was cackling over the demands he was going to have for the Pats should they call him back.
Why is Lloyd not here anyway? Who knows? Only Belichick has the answer why the team decided to cut bait with the wide receiver in the offseason despite an underrated 2012. If reports of him being an odd presence in the locker room were true, why would the team have reportedly renewed an inquiry in him recently? Desperation makes you do funny things, I suppose.
And let’s make no mistake, the Patriots are desperate, and it’s their own fault. They decided to save a few bucks on Welker in favor of Amendola, who has come just as advertised; tough player when he’s not in the tub, which is always. Nobody is denying that the former Ram isn’t a great wide receiver. Kerry Wood and Mark Prior were great pitchers too the four to five times they were able to make the mound in any given season.
No disrespect to Edelman, who was nails Thursday night, but when you go into any divisional game with him as your No. 1 wide receiver, your prospects against the likes of the Saints, Falcons, Broncos, etc. are not very reassuring, and the flip side is, he’s a ticking time bomb as well when it comes to being sidelined with an injury.
The team’s top three receiving options – Edelman, Amendola, and Gronkowski – are dependable, all right. To miss some time during the season. Meanwhile, the guy who missed all but one game during his time here is catching balls from Peyton Manning. It is a decision the Patriots made that is only going to become more ominous as the season wears on, despite how ungrateful Patriots fans want to pound their chests over Welker’s dropped ball history during his time here.
Have fun with Dobson, then.
If not for some terrible blown coverage by the Jets defense on the first drive of the game, we might be talking about a Patriots’ loss to one of the worst, most dysfunctional teams in the NFL. Why? The head coach’s arrogance? Bad luck? The fact that Brady, in the twilight of his career, with only a few more chances to win Super Bowl No. 4 was delivered a crop of weapons that would make Doug Gabriel giggle?
From the stupidity of the NFL Network pregame show (Marshall Faulk is still obsessed over how the Pats get away with the “dink and dunk?”) to the incessant commercials and banality of the play-by-play (I don’t want to say color analyst Mike Mayock stated the obvious all night, but at one point he told me I was wearing pants. I was.), right down to the product the ridiculously drawn-out broadcast delivered on a Thursday night in the rain, the whole thing was just unsightly, and a reminder of just how close the NFL is to oversaturation of itself by ignoring the time-honored creed, “less is more.”
That is, unless you’re talking about receivers. More is more. More is better. It’s not complicated.
Everybody is accountable for this mess, and the sobering, best-case scenario is only that the Patriots are decimated in Week 2, giving these rookies time to mold and mature for the second-half of the season.
Until then, it is what it is. And it is most definitely putrid.