Gresh's Grades: Complete failure for Patriots
By Andy Gresh
Special to CSNNE.com
This report card won’t be very long. This was the worst game of the Bill Belichick era. Defensively, it was a dumpster fire out there. No one was winning at the line of scrimmage on either side. There is zero confidence being projected from the quarterback when running the offense. The offensive line was better for a bit. The coaching staff went and got Darrelle Revis, but have been playing zone instead of man to man. Most troubling is that they are losing one-on-one battles everywhere. At some point pride has to set in. Let's hope it's soon.
While the offensive line showed some signs of life, there was no consistent running game and some guys just lost individual battles. Their third-down issues are across the board. Bad throw, a missed block, a sack . . . it was a little bit of everything. The bigger issue is the down and distance they keep finding themselves in, though Monday wasn't as bad as last week. They couldn't convert short, medium, or long third downs. As I wrote last week, they need confidence quickly.
Jimmy Garoppolo gets little credit in my book for his play because we, and the Chiefs, were completely checked out. But they scored, so there’s that. It was all about Tom Brady and the first unit. The first drive set the tone in a way, but there were times that TB12 had some time and delivered the ball. He has no confidence in the people around him minus Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. He also missed a wide-open James Develin on a first-down incompletion in the second quarter. He's got to get back to throwing to the open man. And the Pick 6 was horse crap.
RUNNING BACKS: C
Hard to hammer these guys for bad play, but hard to praise them for making great plays. Stevan Ridley ran hard; the problem was, he only had five carries. Shane Vereen is being used as an inside runner and that role doesn't fit him, but I love him in the passing game as he can make people miss in open space. James White finally got into a game and did okay. He needs confidence in himself to really 'let it fly.'
WIDE RECEIVERS: D
Brandon LaFell showed some signs of life, but missed a sight adjust on the first safety blitz on the third play of the game for the Pats on offense. He came back and nailed it the next time, but he just doesn't consistently get open or read blitzes. Edelman played hard, but he was mitigated through physicality. Danny Amendola tried to throw a good block on one play. Yay.
TIGHT ENDS: D-
Gronk still isn't Gronk. I thought this would be the night he got back on track. We saw a nice seam route for an 18-yard gain, but he's just not stretching the field like years past. The other guys did less than nothing. This Tim Wright thing needs to start working soon or the trade will look like an absolute disaster.
OFFENSIVE LINE: D-
I thought they took a step forward, but when you've been so bad how could you not? Bryan Stork was steady but not spectacular. On a terrible play call on third-and-two -- a toss to Vereen out of the shotgun -- Stork got smacked when he pulled. But I thought he was ok. Cameron Fleming gave up some pressures and needs work, but didn't look overmatched like Jordan Devey. Nate Solder missed his punch on the sack. Then he got sat down, which is quite a message from Bill Belichick. They haven't settled on five they can trust and it's now obvious that it's more than just Logan Mankins being gone.
The worst defensive performance of the year and one of, if not the, worst of the BB era. The defensive line didn’t get any push nor get off blocks in the run game consistently. The linebackers were lost in space and got manhandled in the running game. And the defensive backs weren't put in a great position to succeed with the zone coverage. But even they didn't get off blocks, allowed too much space, and at times took bad angles to the ball. Throw in a bad penalty as the cherry on top of the crap sundae.
DEFENSIVE LINE: F
Vince Wilfork was the only guy worth. He was primarily on the nose with the injury to Sealver Siliga, but he couldn't overcome the poor play of Joe Villano, who played less and less as the game went on. Chris Jones was okay; passable but did nothing great. Chandler Jones got steamrolled minus the first play of the game. When you run at Chandler, that's a problem. When you run side to side or east/west, that's his game. And I'm done with Rob Ninkovich. He's found his level and it's not good.
Jaime Collins gets pinballed around in the run game way too much. He can play in space, but dealing with physicality is a major problem. Dont’e Hightower was just okay and wasn't a factor behind the line of scrimmage the way they needed him to be. Jerod Mayo at times played well in the box, then there are times where he can't get off blocks and gets rolled. I'm worried about him in coverage as he seems to get lost and is chasing.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: F
Part of this grade is on the coaches, because you don't get Revis and then play zone. Let him play up and be physical. Logan Ryan had a massive missed tackle and the killer penalty that gave KC three points at the end of the first half. Devin McCourty played just okay but got lost at times in coverage, and Pat Chung took some awful angles to the ball. Tavon Wilson lost his feet too many times to have been out there and Malcolm Butler reminds us why guys who come out of the blue in the preseason usually don't work out long term. He was overmatched.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Ryan Allen was the star of the game as he helped give the Pats some field position while battling themselves. He's been so good, he had his first touchback in this one. And Matthew Slater has done a fantastic job making tackles while running full speed. The kickoff game was good on both sides. This was the only group worth a damn.
"IT AIN'T BROKE"
1) Special teams. After week 1, they've been money.
2) Penalties. They've done a nice job of trimming the numbers down, but need to eliminate the untimely foul.
3) Revis. Don't hammer him unless he gives up catches in man-to-man.
"BUT IT NEEDS FIXING"
1) Winning at the line of scrimmage on both side of the ball.
2) Confidence. This team needs something to hang their hats on.
3) Coaching. Stop with the zone D. Lock em up.
Andy Gresh is a talkshow host on 98.5 The Sports Hub and for 10 years has worked pre and post game analysis on the Patriots Radio Network. He is also co-author of the book “The Great Book of Boston Sports Lists.”