That was a terrible game for the team from New England. Before I write the section below I want to congratulate the Baltimore Ravens on their victory. The Ravens played excellent playoff football and executed their game plan to perfection. A great win and I would appreciate it if you could bounce Peyton Manning and the Colts from the playoffs next week.
My Open Letter to the New England Patriots
Dear New England Patriots,
What you need to understand is that I love you guys. I appreciate the excitement and the fun you have provided over the past 10 years. What I am about to write is done out of my desire to try and help you become better as a team and as an organization. I have remained silent for 4 seasons but now I feel the time is right to help you take a hard look at reality and hopefully right what has become a lost ship at sea.
I want to start right here because this has been the biggest disappointment for some time.
To be a top tier team you need top tier players. For some time it has been standard operating procedure to hire low budget free agents and fill in holes with older veterans. It does not work. For FOUR YEARS the Patriots defense has been weak at best and outright despicable at worst, like this year. You passed on names such as Albert Haynesworth and Julius Peppers because the price tags were too high. I would agree, but what you want to do and what you have to do sometimes are far apart. We are there.
The entire defensive squad needs overhaul. The secondary is so weak at times it seemed like practice drills for opposing offenses. There is not one pass rusher that can generate pressure even when single blocked. Ask yourself this: if any member of the defense became available as a free agent or on waivers, would you jump at the chance to grab them? I did not think so.
Going beyond personnel, the defensive system is outdated. Zones and cover packages do not confuse top quarterbacks anymore. Even Mark Sanchez, a rookie who passed on his senior year in college, can sit back and eat up a zone coverage. Playing like this just allows opposing offenses to carve up the secondary. We need to go in a different direction.
It will not stand to continue to field a defense that is as bad as things have been for the past 4 years.
For a decade we have been blessed with one of the games best quarterbacks. Why on Earth in TEN YEARS have we been unable to get a bona fide featured running back to take some of the enormous pressure off of Tom Brady? I know you thought Laurence Maroney was going to be that player, but it's time to move on. Between the constant injuries and the constant fumbles he has never been the answer and he is never on the field at key moments because you know it as well. Come December you have to be able to run the football here in the cold, we need a running game that is at least believable.
Randy Moss has been hurt this year but he would benefit from a realistic second receiver on the other side. Here too you have settled for journeymen lesser players. Wes Welker should be back next year around week 8-10 and he is one bright spot but he is not a deep threat to back defenses off.
I would implore you to get the support the offense needs. Time is not on our side. Tom Brady has already suffered a major injury and you only have a small window of time while he is in his prime.
This year was the first time I can remember seeing so many blown coverages, players being benched while healthy, and general poor effort level and level of execution. Find out what the problems are and get rid of them. Any and all of them. I will understand we are rebuilding, but you have to have a solid base on which to start.
In closing I want to say I am writing this because I have seen enough over the past 4 years to make me concerned that you either are unaware of these issues or refuse to address them for whatever reason. I understand that there simply are not enough quality players in any one draft or in free agency that can fix all the issues the Patriots have. I am trying to get a commitment from you that you understand what needs to be done and will do the best you can to make the needed additions and changes to return this team to the top level.
A Concerned Fan out of New England
Have a good night.