By: Russ Goldman
Each week I like to mention different subjects that are on my mind regarding the Pats, and last week gave me plenty to think about.
The number one thought of the week has to be the victory for the Patriots against the Bengals. What was shocking about this game had to be how well the defense played. I was pleasantly surprised by the intensity and speed of this unit, and I have to say they have given me hope for the future.
Besides the victory, there were many other subjects involving the team this week. I took the time to look over some of the challenges facing the team this week, and there’s plenty of things to discuss.
So below are my “Ten Things I Think About The New England Patriots” for this week.
1. The Patriots victory over the Bengals was a complete team effort. During their 38-24 win last Sunday at Gillette Stadium over the Bengals, the Patriots dominated in all phases of the game.
The offense was not really challenged at all during the game, as Tom Brady had his way for most of the afternoon with the Bengals defense. He also threw for 3 touchdowns, including two to Wes Welker. This unit is already in top form.
On defense, this unit was fast and aggressive, and they were an integral part of New England’s 1-0 start. Even though the defense gave up 24 points, they were very active and helped decide the game in the first half.
On special teams, this unit helped give the Pats great field position, and also were involved in scoring after Brandon Tate ran back a kickoff to begin the second half for a touchdown.
2. The speed of the Patriots defense was a pleasant surprise. Watching the opening game, the first thought that came to my mind was how fast the Pats defense looked. They were flying around, and swarming to the ball.
Patrick Chung is one player that completely stood out. He was constantly around the football. He certainly did a very good Rodney Harrison impression with his play on Sunday. The corners also stuck right with Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, and up until the second half more or less held them in check.
But, the defensive speed seemed to be in all levels of the defense. This unit is young and they’re going to make mistakes. However, I have already seen the type of defense I hope the Pats show for years to come. Speed kills and it was on display against the Bengals.
3. Rob Gronkowski is a physical force who can catch the ball. This player has really impressed me with his physical presence. When he caught his touchdown reception he made the defender look very small.
He also showed the ability to block as he helped pave the way for Wes Welker’s first touchdown. Gronkowski might be more of an asset than I first imagined. He might be the entire package as a tight end.
Randy Moss after the Patriots game was reality television at its best. (FILE PHOTO:Icon/SMI)
4. Randy Moss after the Patriots game was reality television at its best. When Randy Moss took the stage at the press conference after the game I was shocked by the fact he decided rather than talk about their win over Cincinnati, he opted to instead talk about his contract. For 15 minutes I watched with my mouth open thinking why is he doing this?
Looking back at it now, he really did not say anything offensive. I just think his timing was really bad. I thought the good news was that in a way he showed everyone he actually wants to stay in New England. I think that is the silver lining from a very entertaining 15 minutes of reality television.
5. I would offer Randy Moss a short term contract extension. I have changed my mind on offering Moss a contract. I thought the Pats should move on from Moss after this season. However, he showed me his desire to want to stay in New England so I think they should try and find a way to keep him here.
If I am the Patriots I would offer him a 2-year deal for decent money. I think if he is interested in a short term deal I would like Moss to come back. However, if he is looking for four years I would not offer him that type of a deal. I am now hoping the Pats do offer him a contract, and hope they can get it done.
6. I disagree with trading Laurence Maroney. I might be in the minority when it comes to Maroney. He definitely was not a bust with the Pats. I think he would have helped the Pats this season when Taylor and Morris get hurt.
7. Gary Guyton could be an asset on passing downs for the Patriots. I now see the value of Gary Guyton, and it is on third down and other situations that involve him dropping back into coverage. He is very fast and can actually cover tight ends very well. We saw this Sunday when Carson Palmer tried to connect on a pass to Jermaine Gresham and Guyton stepped in front and ran it back for a touchdown.
Guyton used in these situations might be very valuable. He has the speed to stay with a player like Dallas Clark. Guyton I think now has a real role on this defense.
8. The offensive line continues to improve and play well. This unit will definitely be tested against the Jets. However, they played great against the Bengals. They kept Tom Brady pretty clean, and also opened up holes for the running game. Dan Connolly is really doing his job filling in for Logan Mankins. He might be the most pleasant surprise so far this season.
9. The lack of crowd noise is an issue at Gillette Stadium. I have already written about this subject. I think it is time the fans really made a difference in the game.
The fans should be allowed to stand up and make noise during the game. I don’t understand why this is discouraged by some stadium staff who have asked myself and fans to sit down. I have also been told by other fans to sit down as well. It is time to make a player like Peyton Manning a little more uncomfortable at the line with some serious noise to disrupt his concentration.
10. I am predicting a 21 – 14 victory for the Patriots against the Jets. This game is going to be very difficult for the Patriots on Sunday.
All of a sudden this game is a must win for the Jets. They really need this victory. They are on the road next week in Miami. They cannot afford to go into that game 0-2. So I believe it’s going to be a bit test, and I expect that they will be throwing the kitchen sink at the Patriots Sunday.
I do think the Jets will score some points against New England. I believe Sanchez is going to come out throwing and they may try and go deep early against this young secondary. I think Darius Butler and Devin McCourty will be tested once again, but I actually think as the game goes on the Pats defense will get stronger.
On offense, I think it might take Brady a few drives to really get going. In the end he can still get the Patriots three touchdowns, and that should be enough for a victory.
What part of the Patriots offense or defense is on your mind? I’d love to hear from you, so be sure and post your thoughts in the comments section located directly below this post.