Ty Law knows a thing or two about success in the NFL.
The former All-Pro cornerback spent 10 seasons with the New England Patriots after they drafted him in 1995. He played a key role in helping the franchise win three Super Bowl titles in 2001, 2003 and 2004. Law was one of the best defensive players of his generation and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year.
He joined NFL Network before Thursday night's Week 14 game between the Patriots and Los Angeles Rams to share his thoughts on how his former team is performing in 2020.
"They lost a couple pieces. I think people fail to realize a lot of key guys opted out, and that makes a big difference when that many guys opt out, no matter what type of program you have or what type of coach you have," Law explained. "They lost their quarterback who had been there for 20 years. I'm not making excuses for them by any means -- but at the same time, players have to be available on the field, especially your top guys in order to compete and win in this league.
"It was just an unfortunate year. Julian Edelman, one of the veteran guys, he's been injured. Tom Brady is gone, and the list goes on as far as the guys who also opted out. So, I think they're doing pretty good, considering.
"I don't think anyone would assume, that even if Tom Brady was their quarterback -- I think Cam Newton is doing a hell of a job, for what it's worth -- but I don't think Tom Brady would be guiding them to the Super Bowl with what they're putting out on the field right now, either. I think everyone should put it in perspective."
Law is optimistic about the Patriots' future, however, and he thinks a full and normal training camp before next season would be a huge benefit to this group.
"Next year, I think they'll be ready to go," Law said. "I think that goes to show you the genius of coach Bill Belichick as well, not having all of those pieces and still being competitive. Right now, they have to win pretty much every game to get into the playoffs, but when you still have coach Belichick, there's always a chance and he's always taking it one game at a time.
"I just think they are a couple pieces away, and by the time they get to go through a whole training camp next year and some of those guys come back, they'll be right back in the mix."
The Patriots' 11-year postseason appearance streak is in jeopardy of ending this season, and they need a win against the Rams to have any chance of returning to the playoffs. New England has won six consecutive games against the Rams franchise, dating back to a Super Bowl XXXVI win where Law made one of the biggest plays with interception returned for a touchdown.