Right now the Patriots feel like a rudderless ship. Where in the world are they headed?
We (myself included) fell into a spell of disillusionment early this season.
Cam Newton, with his couture outfits, 1,000-watt smile, and scrambling ability made us all feel like something was possible.
Maybe the Patriots wouldn’t slip into oblivion ATB (After Tom Brady). Maybe they would continue their reign atop the AFC East. Heck, maybe they would once again claim the top spot in the whole conference.
That’s the sound of us being forced awake from a dream.
The reality is the Patriots are average.
Once teams had some tape on the offense, opposing defenses started stacking the box to stop the run, forcing the Patriots to the air. As my esteemed colleague Phil Perry has pointed out, no one fears this offense.
Which has left me wondering Carrie Bradshaw style ... did the Patriots miss an opportunity to hit the reset button?
What is the long-term plan here? They aren’t in “go-for-it” mode. They aren’t in rebuild mode. They are just ... there.
We all love watching Cam play, but it’s not like they put any weapons around him to vault into contender status. I suppose you could argue the coaching staff felt like N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, and Damiere Byrd would benefit from a more kid-friendly QB. You could also argue they assumed Julian Edelman would limp his way to another 1,000-yard season.
But at the end of the day, don’t the Patriots feel like a middling team with no real direction?
You don’t know what you have in Jarrett Stidham. You don’t have any offensive weapons to build around. You are putting a ton of pressure on your defense. And for what? An 8-8, 9-7, or 7-9 record?
Sure, the Bills could (will) choke away the East and the Patriots might sneak into the postseason. Cool. Another year, another one (or two) and done. What you’ll be left with is a mid-first round draft pick which Bill Belichick will probably trade away.
And you are no closer than the last few years toward building for the future.