Friday, December 11, 2009

A Tale Of Two Teams

Looks like I spoke too soon last week when I said that the Pats had a virtual lock on the AFC East. I expected this to be a rocky season, but come on. Brady’s getting hammered, the tight ends are missing in action, and as inexperienced as the secondary is, they can’t take all the blame on defense. Coverage becomes really difficult when the opposing QB has all day in the pocket.

It’s been a tale of two teams all season. There’s the first half (quarter?) Pats, that come out firing on all cylinders, and then there’s the second half Pats, who sputter and stall, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory all too often. Why are they breaking down so consistently? Maybe the goings on this week in Foxboro gives us a clue.

Four players were sent home for arriving late for practice on Wednesday. Although it was a nasty morning, Bill wasn’t taking any excuses and he sent them packing. That the coach would send Moss and Thomas home at a time when he needs them most says a lot. It says that he needs their attention more than they need practice. They have the ability; they just don’t have the drive.

I’m in awe of Moss and his abilities most of the time, but the trailing off on routes stuff just ticks me off, and maybe it ticks Bill off a little also. I know Adalius should be a force to reckon with, but this year he’s not. Belichick has already sat him out with no apparent injuries, and his sound bites are those of an unhappy man.

Now I’m not saying these guys are the main problem with this team, but I am saying they are symptomatic of the bigger picture. You can have all the talent in the world on your team, but it won’t matter a bit unless you are a team, and the ’09 Patriots are not.

Are they unhappy with the coaching? Maybe. This team needs an offensive coordinator desperately. They’re just too predictable, and they fail to make the adjustments needed as the game progresses. There’s also been some pretty strange play calling and a clear lack of communication amongst the coaching staff and the team, evidenced by the delay of game penalties, unnecessary time outs, punt team coming on even though Belichick is waving the offense to stay out there… I smell confusion in the ranks.

Are they lost without a clear leader amongst them? Maybe. A lot of the on field leadership left with Bruschi, Vrabel, Seymour and Harrison, and no one seems to be stepping up to fill those shoes.

They clearly needed a slap to wake them up, hell, they need an epiphany. Is it too late? No, but it will be soon. A team can gain a lot of momentum sweeping out, even against inferior teams. It’s a confidence builder and it gets a team rolling downhill into the playoffs.

Would they go far we’re they to make it? Yes, but only if they get that team thing going. The most memorable image for me of Super Bowl 36 will always be the way they came out onto the field en masse, and then stood huddled together on the sideline, hopping and chanting. You just knew they we’re there to kick some ass, and they did.

Come on guys, how about a little of that ass kicking attitude this Sunday? I know you’ve got it in you.

That is all.

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