Pats biggest problems
posted at 12/4/2009 7:53 PM EST
1. 3rd receiver.
Blunder to let Gaffney go. Which follows a year after we let Stallworth go. Our 2007 team flourished also because of the teams inability to cover our 3rd/4th awesome receivers of Stallworth/Gaffney if they doubled Moss/Welker. Our replacements for these were Galloway and Lewis, both of which turned out to be disasters and cut. Hope was put on Tate who is now on IR. Now our 3rd/4th receivers are Aiken (a special teamer who doesn't run precise routes and can only get open when defence screws up aka not a WR) and Stanback (a QB who doesn't run precise routes and can only get open when defence screws up aka not a WR). Edelman is a slot receiver and it's rare enough for him to see the field with Welker there. And it's impossible to see him run deep routes and out-jump anyone.
This last week NO double-teamed BOTH Moss and Welker the whole game with impunity. They dared Brady to either run or throw to Aiken/Stanback to win. Brady managed to do neither. Aiken still caught team high in catches/yards but that isn't saying much. Just like picking up Stallworth and Gaffney in FA was a huge boon for us, Galloway/Lewis turned out to be disasters. Seems we just got lucky more than anything else. Pats have a history of blowing WR draft picks and I shudder to think what Draft/FA brings next year.
2. Pass Rush
Noone remembers Vrabel's 11 sack 2007 season or the consistent pressure he provided all year even when not sacking from the edge. Let alone the dominating teams from earlier in the decade. Our inability to pressure the QB even when blitzing is shameful. On the 75 yd run for TD in the Saints game, Butler rushed the QB from the edge and he was picked up. We sent 6 or 7 on that play. Yeah the safety blew the coverage from the Brees pump fake but equally pathetic is that noone got to even pressure Brees. Forget sacks, we don't even make them move around in the pocket. Burgess is quickly turning out to be a woeful waste of 3rd and 5th round draft picks. Thomas is turning out to be dead weight worth almost $10m in cap space who is preventing us from signing others we need. Another critical need.
What really bugs me is that when last season ended if you had drawn up our biggest requirements the list would have been the same. Even if Fred Taylor hadn't come and we had resigned LaMont Jordan I think we would have done fine. Jordan ran hard and decent. Our two biggest needs were still 3rd Receiver and Pass Rush and after the year will end those needs remain. Some can argue cornerback and I agree to an extent. And we did strike gold with Bodden. That just shows that the front office started believing in its own hype of finding diamonds in the rough a bit too much. Gaffney could have been a cheap re-signing. Is Burgess really better than Vrabel (for 2 draft picks on top?). Too many obvious blunders because they were looking for another steal. It seems in looking for a steal all the time they are missing the obvious deals.
Now as we approach the offseason the most obvious re-signing looming is Bodden. This reminds me of the Gaffney deal. Some mid/late 20s guy, who was talented but his career was floundering, came to the Pats on a 1 yr deal to resuscitate his career before heading to some other team for the payout. I am frankly getting sick of this. Getting 1 good year only from every player is not turning out to be a steal since we seem to miss as often as we hit and it keeps the roster constantly churning at a much higher rate than other teams, which makes it harder for newer players to adjust and which also means we always seem to have gaping holes and requirements everywhere.
In some ways I guess I am questioning the whole philosophy of the front office of short signing, and turning away star players for the cheap steals. Lots of other teams manage to lock in star players for the long term better than we do and they are all contending. Steelers, Colts, etc.
I think it's time the front office showed it's maturity pay Bodden the 5/6 mil per year he wants and lock him in. I am tired of hearing how we gave up anotehr 5th, 6th or etc round pick for some washed up CB hoping he will do good here next year and only to be disappointed.