Just the facts please
With all of the speculation and conjecture out there about aliens abducting Brady and replacing him with a replicant who may or may not have told Deion Branch to fire his agent who in turn stole the Pats playbook leaving josh McDaniels with only two plays for the whole season, can we just put a little timeline together so we are working with some basic facts about how we arrived where we are. I'll start and please fill in the gaps where I am incorrect. Focus is mainly on offense and the WR spot since that seems to be the hot topic at the moment. Forget about Adam V and Willie Mac for just a second.
Feb 2005 -Pats win thrid SB in 4 years, starting at WR are Deion Branch, an undersized 2 nd round pick possesion receiver and David Givens, who did not play WR in cllege. Post SB 39 Weis and Crennel leave - Mangini is made DC, no OC is named
May 2005 - Brady gets contract extension worth $60MM (in real cash) through 2010 season. Contract is seen as pretty low respective to other elite QB's. Brady makes overtures to media about wanting team to have flexibility to sign and retain talent to keep team competitive
Free agency 2005 - Pats make efforts to sign Derrick Mason - widely regarded as a "true number 1" NFL receiver - he signs with Baltimore
Pats sign Andre Davis from Cleveland (traded for fifth) who is supposed to be a deep threat, goes on to get injured in camp, never quite gets up to speed and is on & off the team throughout the year
Pats sign WR Tim Dwight - mostly for ST duty, but he becomes the #3-4 receiver depending on injuries, good role player
Pre TC 2005 - Seymour threatens hold out - misses some camp, eventually gets contract extension, but not a new contract
2005 season - Still no official OC, but it becomes clear that Josh McDaniels is calling in plays from sideline - Brady puts up best passing numbers of career, mostly as a result of no running game.
2006 playoffs - no SB for us
2006 offseason - Josh McDaniel named OC. Mangini leaves for Jets. Pees named DC
2006 owners meetings - new CBA approved. Krafts vocal opponents of new contract - cap raised giving almost all teams extra money - fewer player cuts expected as a result
2006 Free agency - Givens leaves for TN for #1 type money
WR FA class is by all accounts thin. no true #1 available. Pats acquire Reche Caldwell from SD - a number 2-3 type with lots of ???? but obvious potential
2006 draft - Pats take Chad Jackson early 2nd round - called a steal by most experts
May 2006 Pats make offer to extend Branch's contract - Branch and company do not counter -
TC 2006 - Branch holds out - Agent communicates through press that his client should earn number 1 WR money despite lack of #1 stats. Negotiations are at a stand still as neither side has any contact with each other for weeks. Chad jackson gets hurt
Game 1 - Pats beat Bills with Troy Brown and Reche Caldwell starting at WR
Deion Branch traded to Seattle for 2007 #1 pick day after
Pats aquire Doug Gabriel from OAK - - a number 2-3 type with lots of ???? but obvious potential
Game 2 - Pats beat Jets with Troy Brown and Chad Jackson starting at WR - Jackson leaves game early - will not play in game 3
Game 3 - Pats lose to Denver - Poor game for Brady against a team that has owned him and Belichick-led Pats in recent history. Late in game Doug Gabriel shows promise. Chad Jackson is a game time scratch when he tightens up in warmups.
And there we are. Look at that and tell me honestly what the Pats should have done differently, or why everyone is freaking out?
Sign Givens? - He wanted a big contract and someone was willing to give it to him
Bring in a big time OC? The same OC was here when Brady had his biggest year even when teams knew he was going to throw 40-50x a game. They went out and got him a running game this year which by all accounts should be more valuable to him than any single receiver, since he is the first to say that his favorite receiver is the one that's open and in making teams resepect the run more guys should be open.
Extend Branch's contract? – Pats tried. Can’t negotiate with someone who doesn’t understand how the process works
Extra Cap money – Who to spend it on? No real FA stars out there because everyone had the money this year to keep their players. Seymour, Brady will get paid early and hopefully Koppen, Graham and Samuel will get extensions.
One last question? Tell the truth. Let’s just say that Givens had stuck around (contract aside) and the Pats were 2-1 and Givens’ stat line was the same as Caldwell/Jackson/Gabriel combined which would be something like 2 TD’s and 200 yards. But there were some miscues, ugly drops overthrows and other stuff. Would we still be freaking out?
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