Patriots Demise Syndrome, the symptoms and how to cope

Patriots Demise Syndrome, the symptoms and how to cope

The Patriots are 1-2. An ugly 1-2. We haven’t even turned back the clocks. And it’s over. It’s all over. They’re all gone.

You’re angry.

Bill the GM finally killed Bill the coach. Selfish Brady and stupid Gronk ruined everything with their offseason of self-discovery. Also, if Robert Kraft worried about his team as much as he worried about Meek Mill and getting into the Hall of Fame this wouldn’t have happened. Bill should have played Butler, paid Dola, kept Cooks, cut everyone from Rutgers, never kicked Alex off the sidelines, never allowed Alex in the facility, drafted a linebacker, kept Jimmy (scratch that …), gotten more for Jimmy and never traded Chandler, Jamie or Logan. All these thoughts swirl through your mind. It’s a mental tornado and your mind’s eye sees the faces of Nate Solder and Dion Lewis in the dirty swirl like helpless cows lifted from the ground.

You’re sad.

These are your guys. This is your team. Ride or die. You firmly believe they hate us cuz they ain’t us, you take no days off, you got stripes tattooed in bright pink around your biceps (sup, Ernie… respect). Mostly, you’re sad because you also have tickets for the Titans game in Nashville in November. You were really looking forward to that and now you might not go because why do you want to spend 1,500 bucks to watch a shit team get its ass beat by Mike Vrabel and Marcus Mariota?


You’re scared and confused.

How does one go about following an NFL team which may or may not win each week? Do people really do this? Do they live with the uncertainty of whether or not their team will score more than their opponents EVERY. FRICKIN. WEEK?! You knew this day would come. Now it’s here. And you aren’t ready.

You’re experiencing Patriots Demise Syndrome (PDS).

If you were born prior to 2003, you may have experienced some of these symptoms previously. Those born prior to 1987 will feel the symptoms more acutely. Anyone born before 1970 is particularly susceptible to PDS and may recall similar minor outbreaks in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008. The very serious 2009 pandemic (Adalius Thomas Strain) wiped out many fans’ interest in the Patriots. Fortunately, all of them recovered by November of 2010 but studies performed after the 2010 playoff loss to the Jets showed that, once a person is diagnosed with PDS, their threshold for recurrence is lowered.

Symptoms can be fleeting. A wave of PDS invaded the New England region on February 5, 2017, at around 8:20 p.m. By 10:30 p.m., zero cases were reported.

If you have PDS, you may be experiencing irritability, listlessness and an urge to directly punch the face of that donkey you work with. The one who grew up in Belchertown or someplace you wouldn’t go to if someone tried to force you at gunpoint? Right. Dolphins fan, somehow. Got a lot to say this week including, “Gonna kick some Cheatriot aaaassssss on Sunday…”

PDS sufferers will sometimes resort to mild self-harm. Example? Listening to the radio between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. or finding yourself “wondering what Tanguay and Adam Jones think” then seeking to find out even though you told yourself that today was nothing but podcasts while you drive. A PDS sufferer may feel shortness of breath, jaw soreness and aching/spasming in their fingers and forearms in the immediately following this kind of exposure. You may need a friend or family member to help pry your fingers from the steering wheel. ASK FOR HELP!

Here are some “best practices” and/or things to remember if you’re suffering from PDS.  

Whether it’s at friends or acquaintances in texts, email chains or on Twitter and Facebook, if you go Krakatoa when someone pollutes your laptop or mobile device with some vapid-ass observation like, “They should have traded Brady’s whiny ass…” you will be marked as someone not to be trifled with and can expect to be excised from further communications. You can apologize later. Or not. If they are that moronic, why do you want to go past “How ARE YOUUUU?!?!?!” in the future?

Because of course, it does. It feels different because you don’t know how things are going to turn out just like you didn’t know how things would turn out after the Patriots lost to Kansas City in primetime in Week 4 of the 2014 season or after they looked like pooh in the rain against the Jets in 2013 or they were down 21-3 at halftime of the Super Bowl or down 24-14 in the fourth quarter of another Super Bowl, or after the mortar kick or whatever. Your PDS was just as acute then, you little liar.

QUIETLY TELL YOURSELF “...but it feels different...”
Because it really is. Non-competitive in back-to-back weeks? One week it’s against with a great defense and a C-grade offense (Jacksonville), the next it’s against an average-at-best team that gave greater effort even though the previous week was as listless as it was? That’s different. And so is a locker room in which a player (Gronk) proudly confirms that, “Yes, I refused an offseason trade by threatening to retire …” without fear of  … well, fear of anything. Since last summer, Bill Belichick has been trying to get his players to heel with escalating punishments. From taking away Brady’s trainer to benching Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl, to trying to trade Gronk they’ve all kind of backfired. Make your brain refrain from using the phrase, “Bill lost the locker room!!!!!!” The locker room is in the same place it’s always been. The dig-out for the team is different because they are worse than they’ve been talent-wise; the buy-in from the players is different because there’s unprecedented pushback against Bill Belichick from his best players.

The hell did he do? Second game of his career? So he dropped a couple of passes. He runs hard, gets his shoulders square, doesn’t go down on first contact, knows what the hell he’s doing in pass protection. If you want to compare him to Laurence Maroney, go ahead. It just marks you as someone who doesn’t know what they’re looking at.

This time of year, that vibrant color around your home (or even in your dorm room or apartment) can really brighten your mood.

But it is raining butcher knives. Anything can happen. Stay loose. Josh Gordon might go for eight catches and 241 yards on Sunday. He might be found shirtless in the Foxboro PD parking lot. Julian Edelman will be back from his four-game suspension next week. He may fix everything!  Or, he may look like a guy who hasn't played in a real game since the Patriots beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl. Dont'a Hightower's performance so far has been an aberration and he's going to return to being Dont'a Hightower. Or, he isn't Dont'a Hightower anymore. Belichick will strike exactly the right chord with his players this week in practice and you'll see 53 players rowing in unison. Or it's war and some asses are getting benched and/or shipped out of town. 

PDS. Remember, it's never as bad as you think. Unless this really is. 



Gunner Olszewski earning trust of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick with hard work

Gunner Olszewski earning trust of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick with hard work

The New England Patriots have had an unsettled receiver room for most of the 2019 season. At one time, it seemed like they had one of the best groups in the league. But the release of Antonio Brown and the team's decision to trade Demaryius Thomas left them a bit weaker at the position. And in recent weeks, they have been thin at the position due to injuries.

Phillip Dorsett (hamstring), Josh Gordon (knee/ankle), and Julian Edelman (chest) have all been dealing with various maladies over the course of the first six weeks of the season. Additionally, first-round rookie N'Keal Harry has been on IR since just after the team's final cuts.

With these absences, some unexpected contributors have been able to step up. And one of them is Gunner Olszewski. The undrafted rookie out of Bemidji State has earned a big role as a return man and has recently seen an increase in offensive action. And so far, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been impressed with his energy and effort.

"Gunner works really hard," Belichick told reporters at Saturday's media availability. "He gives a lot of effort to do, again, whatever we ask him to do. Whether that’s return kicks, cover kicks, block, catch – he works really hard. Just gives his best all of the time, so you can’t ask for anything more than that. He keeps getting better, so we’ll see where it goes. But, yeah, he’s a good, hard worker."

Of course, hard work is only part of the equation. In the Patriots' offense, it's important to have chemistry with Tom Brady. Has Olszewski done enough to earn Brady's trust so far?

"Yeah, definitely," Brady said when asked about his level of trust in Olszewski. "I think they’re – like I said, those guys are – when you’re young, you gain trust in practice, and a lot of it’s doing the right thing over and over and over again. Those guys are working at it. I mean, they’ve been here a short period of time, so try to get as many reps as you can and talk about things. You get coached up, and any young player, they’re trying to earn the trust of the coach and the players every day."

This is seemingly the most positive Brady has felt about his young receiving weapons this year. Perhaps the team's success against the New York Giants despite being limited to only one formation because of their lack of healthy personnel had an impact on Brady. And maybe that helped him to become more confidence in Olszewski and fellow undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers.

Either way, Brady will likely have to look Olszewski's way a bit more than usual on Monday night against the New York Jets. Josh Gordon is out for the game and so too are tight ends Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo. That should afford Olszewski a good opportunity to make his presence felt.

Tom E. Curran's Patriots-Jets Week 7 Preview>>>

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Tom E. Curran's Patriots-Jets Preview: Pats facing MNF challenge

Tom E. Curran's Patriots-Jets Preview: Pats facing MNF challenge

The Patriots have had one game in which there was even a shred of doubt about the outcome into the fourth quarter. And even then, did anyone figure the Bills were going to score? Exactly.

But Monday night at MetLife the Patriots could get their second decent challenge of the season.

Despite their 1-4 record, the Jets just got capable quarterback Sam Darnold back and his presence made a huge difference in the team’s win over Dallas last week. As for the Patriots offense, which isn’t working at optimal potency, the Jets did a nice job against the Patriots in the first meeting between the teams after New England walked through them on their first three drives.

With 11 days to prepare for this, Josh McDaniels is sure to have hatched something to get Gregg Williams’ defense off-balance. But the Patriots are still hamstrung on offense by their personnel so this one could turn into a slugfest.

Click here for Tom E. Curran's full Week 7 Patriots preview>>>