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patfanken

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So this is what the OTHER 31 cities who have NFL teams feel like. For the first time since 2000 the Pats will not have a winning season. For the first time since 2000 the Pats will not be in playoff contention on the last game of the season. This is new territory for all of us in this oddest of odd years we are living through. Maybe it took a global pandemic to push the Pats out of the NFL playoff picture, aaaand maybe it was just time for a reset. So in this edition I'd not only like to review the pluses and minuses of this game, I'd like to begin the process of looking down the road to this off season, and what it's like to go into April and not be picking up the crumbs at the bottom of every round. So lets begin...in no apparent order.

1. What sucked:

a. I have no idea what's happened to Cam Newton. I can only fathom that this was the "cliff" that Max Kellerman was predicting for Tommy, only it happened so very quickly for a former MVP QB who has simply taken too many shots over the years. By ALL reports, he works hard, and is a smart guy, but his footwork and inaccuracy isn't worthy of an NFL starting QB. And while he cracked the 200 yd mark, he constantly missed open receivers, often threw a pass 5 yds over the LOS when he had an open receiver 10 yds downfield. And when he finally DID hit an open receiver in stride vois la, it turned into a 34 yd gain. Who would have thought. Imagine what might have been if he'd thrown more of his completions to in stride receivers.

His pocket presence is again almost non-existent. His escapability doesn't exist. Even his running is more like lumbering FB than someone like Mahomes, Watson, or Allen. Cam was getting caught from behind by DLmen. That would have never happened in his prime years when he was out running LB's.

b. I don't know what Bill was asked in his post game comments, but I'm sure SOMEONE had to ask if Cam was going to start next week. I will be interested in know what he said, because I don't see the point in putting him out there again for more of the same. It is now time to give Jared Stidham his 2 week tryout to establish if there is any reason to think he can be a long term starter in this league. And I say this knowing that it is really unfair to judge any player over just a 2 week timeframe. But fair or not, it's only common sense to get some film on the kid and start thinking about what your QB strategy is going to be for next season. More on that later

c. Run Defense - Think about it. Our run defense gave up 250 yds rushing to the worst run offense in the LEAGUE! :eek: Bottom line THIS was the main reason the Pats lost this game, and I'm not exactly sure why it happened. This is the same basic front seven that has controlled run games that are a LOT better than the Dolphins this year. Could it be that the early loss of JBentley really left THAT much of a hole in the defense. And while I thought the same front seven did an excellent job containing and pressuring Tua, they really sucked at run defense.

d. After a string of some very strong games, Chase Winovich was almost blanked on the stat sheet (0 tackles and 1 QB hit)

e What disturbed me the most while watching the toothless Phins run rampant over our run defense was the fact that we never made the adjustments needed to stem the tide and FORCE Tua to throw the ball. I can't recall another game where they didn't EVENTUALLY start to slow down a great running attack. It was almost as ugly to watch as Cam play QB.

f. 2 stats that don't get a lot of play, but are of critical importance to establish why a team wins or loses are: 1. time of possession and 2 the difference is the number of offensive plays. The Pats ran 39 offensive plays. The Dolphins ran 62. :eek: VERY very hard to win games with that kind of disparity.

g. I hated seeing Stephan Gilmore going down with an injury that will likely cause him to miss the next 2 games. There has been a lot of speculation that this was likely Gilmore's last game. I for one will hate to see that happen. If this turns out to be an ACL or MCL injury perhaps his market price will drop enough for him to stay here. He's been worth every penny he's gotten from the Pats

f. Does anyone know if JJWilliams was a healthy scratch this week. If he was I am truly disappointed. He was a binky of mine after I saw him several times at camp his rookie year. I thought he showed well in limited action that year covering big Wide outs and TE's. This season it seems that he just can't find a place with JJones, JCJackson, MCourty, and Gilmore ahead of him at CB, and McCourty, Philips, and Dugger ahead of him at S. But if he was a healthy scratch today that means he's fallen behind some guy named Bryant that I didn't even know was on the team. Not good.

Ever the optimist, here is what I liked:

a. I felt that by and large our 2 rookie 6th round pick OT's held up very well this week. It certainly wasn't perfect, but for the most part they gave Cam plenty of time to throw the ball (even on 2 of his sacks) and blocked well enough to help Sony run at over 7 ypc.

Now I'm not certain when or if Wynn is coming back, but he was, by all accounts, our best OLman this season before he was hurt, but it bodes well for an already elite OL, that Owenu and Herron have shown so well, so early. Having a good OL can mitigate a lot of other issues. I can only see this OL being very good for a while.

b. Harris has done such a great job running the ball, we seem to have forgotten that Sony Michel was coming off his best game as a Patriot when he got hurt, and the only thing we can complain about him today is that he probably didn't get enough touches,

c. The growth of Jacoby Myers - He seems to be getting better all the time. Too bad about the fumble in this game, but still he seems to be getting open more often though I felt Cam went to him a couple of times (at least) when he had open people further down the field, yet threw it to Meyers.

d. Another guy who's shown continued improvement this season is Nick Folk. He has really gotten into a great rhythm right now. Every kick seems to be straight with none of those pesky hooks and slices we saw early this season which seemed to occur even when he made the kick. Lets be frank, he's probably our offensive MVP.

e. Our special teams in general have been excellent recently. Baily has been superb punting for both length and accuracy. The coverage has been great on KO coverage to the point where they are trying to force the receiving team to return the ball and daring them to get it past the 25. Gunner has gained almost an Edelman like swagger on his returns. He's both more aggressive and confident at this point of the season. Much better than earlier in the season.

3. OK now that this is out of the way, I'd like start with an opinion and a discussion on what we should do this off season.

a. It is my opinion that we AREN'T entering a period of mediocrity and finally cracking under the mind numbing forces of the NFL forced mediocrity system. I think we can be a strong contender for the playoffs as early as next season. Here' why,.

1. We will have a very strong position in cap space AND draft capital going into this PARTICULAR off season. It will be a year when the Pats will have relatively a lot of cap space in a year when there will be a good number of teams who will be in deep in Cap space hell if the $175MM cap limit that being projected comes to pass. That will mean the Pats will be in decent shape to both resign their own FA's, while also being able to sign significant FA's from other teams.

That $175MM cap projection will result in a VERY deep FA class. So deep that it will likely lower the price of some very good players. It SHOULD be a buyer's market with a lot of good deals coming out of this class.

2. When I look at this team I see a lot of strengths. We SHOULD have an elite OL next season. My expectation will be that the Pats will allow Joe Thuney to test FA, like they have done with a of their players. Some go and some come back. My gut says they will offer Thuney a slightly discounted deal to him and hope the buyers market will put their deal in the ball park. I think he'll be back. But even if he doesn't return, I think the development of Herron and Owenu will bode will.

I see strength at the RB position with Michell White and Harris leading a strong group

3. The secondary will also be strong next season even if Gilmore goes elsewhere. Jackson looks like he going to be annual a pro bowl CB Jones is an excellent slot guy who plays bigger than he is. Williams I HOPE will get a shot at the rotation if Gilmore leaves. I think Jason McCourty will be upgraded in FA.

I LOVE the combination of DMcCourty to go along with Phillips and Dugger at S.

4. Now areas that we need to improve on are pretty much known by everyone, We need a redo at WR. We need to add a proven TE and hope Assiasi and Keene develop. We need a big run stopper in the middle and go back to the 3-4 Bill really wants to run, Guy, Wise, and Cowart are all guys who would be better suited to be 3-4 DE's, and while you can use Butler in the middle on passing downs, you really need a true thumper over the nose of the C. If I were Bill, I'd identify the best FA NT out there and sign him. And if he's not out there in FA, then Draft him early

5 The LB corps will immediately improve with the addition of Dante Hightower next season, but I'd love to have a true sideline to sideline athletic ILB to balance the thumper that HIghtower/Bentley are. Winovich, Simon and Uche will make a fine rotation of OLB;s

6. WR is a position that really needs speed. THAT would be first criteria when I'm looking for a WR. We need to draft a WR in one of the first 3 rounds and a one in FA But in the end, speed and explosiveness is what we need to surround our next QB We already have some guys with size.

7. Now to the elephant in the room. What should be our QB strategy.

a. Lets assume that Bill has already decided that Stidham is NOT the guy and we have to start from Scratch. That will mean that EVERY guy who has started more than a dozen games will immediately get linked to the Pats either in a trade or in FA. Get ready for that.

b. I've been going over some of the QB's who will be coming out this year an2 by all accounts there are only 2 "sure things" in this draft and they will go 1 and 2. Even if the Pats drop the next 2 games, they don't have the draft capital to move up that far AND the 2 teams that will be picking in those spots are NOT going to pass on those 2 guys. For that reason I don't want to draft a QB in any of the first 3 rounds. Just too risky. I don't see anyone beyond those top 2 guys that I'd risk a first round pick on. HOWEVER this is a guy that interests me that was rated #7 on the Walters site. Jamie Newman. This kid has good size and speed 6'4-230/4.6), and was supposed to be Georgia's QB this season, but opted out. This is a guy with a lot of raw talent that will slip in the draft because he didn't play this season. I'd love to pick him up in the 4th or the end of the 3rd. EVERY QB you draft, even ones in the first round, is a shot in the dark, so why not take a true shot in the dark with a kid like Newman.

c. Keep the culture - I want them to win these next 2 games, though Buffalo is playing REALLY well. And Josh Allen is proof that players DO improve over time in the NFL and first impressions are NOT always what you get over time. People forget that Brady WAS just a game manager until the end of the 2003 season IMHO.

BTW- those who will want the Pats to blow the Jets game to not only get a better draft position, but to keep the Jets from getting Lawrence. But what about this scenario. The Jets draft Lawrence and the Pats acquire Sam Darnold and turn into a winning QB here in NE. Now that's a scenario the Joker would appreciate. ;)

Well we know the needs. Now we have to put some names to the positions we need to get to get back to the playoffs NEXT year.
 

Boomer B

In the Starting Line-Up
I’m not as optimistic as you about being a contender next year. We have a lot of holes to fill and until we get a decent QB we won’t be contending. We also need an influx of talent at WR and TE. Our offence has been a high school level offence all year. Our best WR Meyers, who I like, is a number 3 on most teams. None of our TEs start on other teams.

From what I’ve been reading the league won’t let there be cap hell next year. There was a PFT article last week that they are in discussions and they don’t believe there will be the huge hit some thought there’d be, which sucks for us.

QB - the most important position and the biggest key for the Pats to become contenders again. I’m not a draft guy like others here but from I what I’ve read there’s more then 2 potential quality starters in this draft. If Bill feels there’s an impact player beyond the first 2 let’s do what we need to do to get him.

I really hope the Pats don’t dick around with low level free agents. If we can trade for Strafford or Jimmy G, I’m on board. We can win games with them and they’ve still got some years left. Probably take our 2nd rounder. If not try for Tyrod Taylor as an interm QB (big upgrade on Cam) and draft our next one in the first if we believe he’s a future star.

WR - we need to hit the FA market and also try again in the draft. Robinson, Godwin, Fuller, Golloday, Smith-Shuster...they won’t come cheap, but we need a number 1 WR.

TE - another need. Hope and pray one of our rookies makes a jump and also look at FA. Gerald Everett on the Rams likely won’t break the bank but is a decent player and much better then what we have.

D - we need an upgrade at D tackle, D end, and speed at ILB. Combination of draft and FA. These are areas I trust Bill most to improve. He can build a D.

Draft - the most important thing is to find our next QB, and that likely should be in the 1st round. In the next few rounds a WR with speed who can separate and an impact defender at either d-line or ILB. Please do not pick a DB early, another RB, or a kicker.

I think it’s a 2-3 year plan to get back to contenders. If we draft a QB we gotta expect to see a learning curve. Very rare to see someone like Herbert come in and light it up right away. We absolutely positively need to hit on the next few drafts. Not just serviceable players or starters, we need some studs.
 

Scotty

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
Two good posts from Ken and Boomer which lays out in plain terms what is needed. Apart from being sad as to why we are in this position I do look forward with excitement and interest as to how this will pan out.
 

neckroll#14

Practice Squad Player
The more i reflect on how we got here (and why BB let it happen) the more I think it was designed so no QB of the future had to be "the guy who replaced TB12". BB went and got mercenary with nothing to lose to be that guy... No pressure now on the real QB of the future when the page is turned to next season. There are countless examples of young guys in sports who wilt under the burden of replacing a legend...
 
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DarrylS

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I share the optimism about the future, but think the Pats are 2 years away from being contenders..

I like Cam, but not sure what has happened here.. he has lost so much, so quickly. In 9 years with Carolina he threw for 187 TD's and 118 int, in one year with the Pats he has has thrown for 5 TD's and 10 Int. He has fallen off the cliff, once and a while he shows hope, but for the most part has been an absolute failure. Even his catchable balls are off target.. never leads the receivers, can't throw the short pass. He is not the answer at QB... maybe the old BB adage about breaking ties with an older player a year early rather than a year late is bearing fruit.

QB is a huge problem for this Offense, when you look at FA QB's for 2021 there is not a lot of talent there, would they take a chance on someone like Trubisky who might be able to be "coached up"?? Is Stidham the answer or are there gems in the '21 draft?? We are so used to good QB play witnessing this year's edition makes it even less palatable.

QB is the first part of this puzzle, BB & braintrust have got to figure this out.

Receiving options.. once again Meyers was the primary guy (10 targets, 7 Receptions, 1 fumble), Harry 2 targets 1 reception, our new TE's 1 target combined.. combined with our QB play this is a glaring weakness ( I know this has been discussed ad infinitum on this board). This whole crew has pretty much crapped the bed, is it the QB or the receivers.. probably a combination.

Not sure what happened to the D, Higtower opting out?? Even if he comes back, is he really into it?? Leading tackler for the Pats yesterday Terez Hall.. the three top Miami receivers did not even dress...

Have not enjoyed this Pat's season as much as I usually do, but hold out hope for the future.. meanwhile this AM the Pats have the 15th pick in the 1st Round..

Miami has laid solid groundwork for the future, and with a couple of draft picks in the 1st round this year may even become better. Flores is a good coach, and Tua is their future.. with them and Buffalo the AFC East looks competitive for a while.
 

Nunchucks

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Patriots could not set the edge, it looked more like undisciplined play more than losing physically.

JJ Williams was a healthy scratch. Maybe we will see him going forward? Who knows how Belichick will treat these games, but I just want the Cam Newton era to end.
 

luuked

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I have no idea what's happened to Cam Newton. I can only fathom that this was the "cliff" that Max Kellerman was predicting for Tommy, only it happened so very quickly for a former MVP QB who has simply taken too many shots over the years. By ALL reports, he works hard, and is a smart guy, but his footwork and inaccuracy isn't worthy of an NFL starting QB. And while he cracked the 200 yd mark, he constantly missed open receivers, often threw a pass 5 yds over the LOS when he had an open receiver 10 yds downfield. And when he finally DID hit an open receiver in stride vois la, it turned into a 34 yd gain. Who would have thought. Imagine what might have been if he'd thrown more of his completions to in stride receivers.

I thought he played an average game, which was an improvement over the last two games. Can't remember too many missed passes and only one really horrific one. What I do remember were drops by Asiasi who couldn't haul in a pass right over his head and another drop by Harry on third down. Now were those excellent passes ? No. But as someone in the media said "accurate" and "catchable" don't always need to align and both passes were absolutely catchable.

My main issue with him over the last couple of weeks is that he became the almost bizarro Brady and locked onto Meyers way too much. Which was pretty evident in that one really horrific pass he threw all day which could have easily been picked. He just doesn't like taking shorter/checkdown passes which simply doesn't work in this offense.

His pocket presence is again almost non-existent. His escapability doesn't exist. Even his running is more like lumbering FB than someone like Mahomes, Watson, or Allen. Cam was getting caught from behind by DLmen. That would have never happened in his prime years when he was out running LB's.

The inconsistent pass protection of the offensive line doesn't help much. Whether it is Andrews getting bullrushed yards into the backfield or Herron beat multiple times to the outside (while having inside help !!!!). Whenever he actually gets time to go for deep/intermediate passes without being hurried up he seemed to be pretty decent. And his deep ball accuracy has been pretty good this season but he just doesn't get enough time and attempts to unpack this part of his toolbox.

It is now time to give Jared Stidham his 2 week tryout to establish if there is any reason to think he can be a long term starter in this league. And I say this knowing that it is really unfair to judge any player over just a 2 week timeframe. But fair or not, it's only common sense to get some film on the kid and start thinking about what your QB strategy is going to be for next season. More on that later

Now that the playoffs are done with it is definitely time to give Stidham some first team reps in practice and gametime to see how he responds. As you are saying we (i.e. the fans) will not learn much either way. But the coaching staff will learn a lot about him in this environment and that information is worth sitting Cam because they already know who he is.

Run Defense - Think about it. Our run defense gave up 250 yds rushing to the worst run offense in the LEAGUE! :eek: Bottom line THIS was the main reason the Pats lost this game, and I'm not exactly sure why it happened. This is the same basic front seven that has controlled run games that are a LOT better than the Dolphins this year. Could it be that the early loss of JBentley really left THAT much of a hole in the defense. And while I thought the same front seven did an excellent job containing and pressuring Tua, they really sucked at run defense.

The run defense was our achilles heel through almost all of the season. In some games they were able to scheme it up or keep it together more than in others but it is pretty clear that we need to get a lot more stout in the interior but also have (a lot) more edge discipline. The good news here is that we will have a shot at whoever is DT1 this year in the draft in the first round. Hopefully it is a year where there are highly talented run stuffers available.

After a string of some very strong games, Chase Winovich was almost blanked on the stat sheet (0 tackles and 1 QB hit)

This goes hand in hand with the run defense. Winovich is still not -- and might never be -- a three down player. If you can't get the opponents into passing situations he will barely be on the field. He played like 26% of the snaps.

I hated seeing Stephan Gilmore going down with an injury that will likely cause him to miss the next 2 games. There has been a lot of speculation that this was likely Gilmore's last game. I for one will hate to see that happen. If this turns out to be an ACL or MCL injury perhaps his market price will drop enough for him to stay here. He's been worth every penny he's gotten from the Pats

Early reports were that it wasn't as bad as it seemed and he avoided a knee injury. Fingers crossed this is true and he will be ready for OTAs / camp in 2021.

Does anyone know if JJWilliams was a healthy scratch this week. If he was I am truly disappointed. He was a binky of mine after I saw him several times at camp his rookie year. I thought he showed well in limited action that year covering big Wide outs and TE's. This season it seems that he just can't find a place with JJones, JCJackson, MCourty, and Gilmore ahead of him at CB, and McCourty, Philips, and Dugger ahead of him at S. But if he was a healthy scratch today that means he's fallen behind some guy named Bryant that I didn't even know was on the team. Not good.

If Gesicki was active I am sure JJ would have been active as well. He is just buried too deep on the depth chart. Next offseason will be huge for him. Gotta make a move.

I felt that by and large our 2 rookie 6th round pick OT's held up very well this week. It certainly wasn't perfect, but for the most part they gave Cam plenty of time to throw the ball (even on 2 of his sacks) and blocked well enough to help Sony run at over 7 ypc.

I disagree here. I don't care if he is a sixth round pick or not but Herron was bad yesterday and it repeatedly screwed Cam. Even when he got help inside by Thuney, Herron still got beat twice on the outside which just can't happen.

Having a good OL can mitigate a lot of other issues. I can only see this OL being very good for a while.

Pass protection in general has been below average in the last month. The one thing they are doing really well is run blocking. Even with Wynn on the field they have been inconsistent. I feel like because of the amount of times we have run the ball this year people have a wrong impression about the OL being good-to-great. This only applies to the run game because pass protection and screens have been very hit or miss.

Harris has done such a great job running the ball, we seem to have forgotten that Sony Michel was coming off his best game as a Patriot when he got hurt, and the only thing we can complain about him today is that he probably didn't get enough touches,

I don't think there is as much of a gap between Harris and Michel as many seem to think. But then again most of those people have been biased against Michel for years now so that's not surprising.
 

farn

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The more i reflect on how we got here (and why BB let it happen) the more I think it was designed so no QB of the future had to be "the guy who replaced TB12". BB went and got mercenary with nothing to lose to be that guy... No pressure now on the real QB of the future when the page is turned to next season. There are countless examples of young guys in sports who wilt under the burden of replacing a legend...
Cam has broad shoulders, a big personality, and the support of the locker. I agree that it’s possible « being the holder of the position after Brady » might have been a consideration. Add the pandemic, and BB might’ve decided a reset was worth it.
 

luuked

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OK now that this is out of the way, I'd like start with an opinion and a discussion on what we should do this off season.

I think we are a couple of pieces away of being pretty competitive in the playoff race.


Personally, I am excited that we will draft in a place where we might finally snag an interior DT that will have the talent and quality to help the run game. Getting that DT in the first round is much more interesting to me than a QB given that the tier 1 talents will be out of our range. Stabilizing the run game would have a much bigger impact on our defense than anything else really.

We could finally leverage the uber-talented secondary a lot more, put Winovich and Uche into more pass rush situations and be in better control of the flow of the game. It is too bad Beau Allen never recovered from his preseason injury.

Similarly, we need more quality at LB especially if the rumors about HT not coming back turn out to be true. Bentley is what he is at this point and you can't predict how much of a jump Jennings and Hall will make over the offseason. But that might also be a position that could be targeted through FA.

The third piece of the puzzle seems to be a chess piece on offense. That can be a WR1 type player but also a very talented TE that can be moved all over the place (Hello Hunter Henry). Again this could be a situation where the collapsed salary cap works into our favor and makes some players available via trade that would normally not be as cheap.


In terms of QB I am not as stressed about top 10 talent as others. There have been more disappointments than hits for teams taking a QB in the top 10 in the past 10 years. The reality is that even if we'd pick in the top 3 that QB would most likely still end up with mostly a redshirt year while doing extra hours with BB and McDaniels outside practice.

The formula is pretty clear: VetQB, Stidham, RookieQB

I have said it before and will say it again but the VetQB spot is not as easy as get "best available player". It will need to hit a sweetspot in terms of assets needed for acquisition -- especially in a year where Kraft productions have cost us a third round pick -- and salary. Which is why Stafford and Carr are not particularly realistic as trade targets to me. They will both require a lot of assets and you still end up with a 20m APY salary.

I would have loved to get my hands on Mariota for a third round pick but that will remain a pipedream after his outing against the Chargers. Odds are he will actually be the QB for the Raiders next year and either work out for them or put Gruden into a position to pick his own QB in the draft.

I know people will hate to read it but if Cam is amendable to another cheap deal I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him here next year. Reportedly he has shown all the intangibles in the locker room and one could easily see that if you give the coaching staff an entire offseason to build a playbook more catering to his strengths that he'd look a lot better than this year.

The reality is that there really is not much out there in FA that would be an immediate upgrade in terms of consistency at QB unless you are prepared to pay in picks and cap space for someone like Stafford.

I have no strong opinion on any of it and it certainly looks like one of the most interesting plots until FA opens in March.
 

borg

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Sorry but I'm going full Debbie-Downer here.
I don't believe mediocrity is coming soon.

First off....this offseason or in the next year or so, I fully expect NE to lose two McCourtys, one Chung, one Hightower, one Gilmore....leaving massive holes in addition to the massive holes already on defense....LB, DT, DE.
We could be looking at a 2/3's rebuild on D very soon

Next, the O line that has been worthy of some love has at a minimum two major problems......Thuney's contract expectations and Wynn's constant injury status. In 3 years, Wynn has missed 16, 8, and 4 games so far. In other words, he has played in 18 of 46 games since drafted. I highly doubt management feels comfortable extending and/or counting on Wynn as a long term solution. Then there is the future of Marcus Cannon.

Looking at WR.....here lies a conundrum. No quality free agent WR will choose to sign with NE for many reasons. No QB on roster to allow them to shine and secure their next big contract, and future QB options will be either JAG veterans or rookie neophytes handcuffed with a basic offense. Then there's NE's short passing offensive philosophy that doesn't translate to big future pay days for self impressed WRs.
Too often, WR careers die in NE.
Players know this, and more importantly, agents know this.

How will Bill secure quality WRs?
Overpay? Not in his DNA. Paying 8 figures to a player who might touch the ball 6 times on a good day is bad economics in Bill's world.
Via trade? Utilizing premium draft picks at WR reduces chips to be used filling the other dozen+ holes.
Through the draft? Yikes!
It is a conundrum.

TE
Reading Cam's quote yesterday about players that “don’t get it"......I have to believe NE's rookie TEs and their one catch apiece this season were being lumped in together with our boy Harry. Setting aside their non production, their ordinary athleticism doesn't inspire too much optimism.
I watched the over-hyped, top of the TE draft board, Florida TE prospect Kyle Pitts Saturday and wondered why he was called a TE at all. More an oversized WR without the frame to block.
My point.......finding a do-it-all TE could be a long term issue for a team that typically constructs its offense around this position.

Assets
Let's assume Bill bites the bullet and drafts a first round QB.....a player likely to offer little initial impact for the team.
How many holes can Bill fill with the rest of the draft?
Hopefully.....many.
Realistically....a few.
Getting immediate impact....maybe late season

How will Bill shop?
Typically, he avoids big ticket players unless a too-important to ignore hole needs to be filled that will directly translate into instant success (Moss, Talib, Revis, Gilmore).
The Patriots are not one premium player away from glory so ignore all big ticket binkies.
More likely, Bill will shop in the mid-level free agent bin of players not offered significant next contracts by their former teams.
Is this how Bill will secure his team's next foundation pieces? From other teams' cast offs?
Typically, these players are quality NFL caliber but with blemishes/holes in their games. Bill had much success in the past shopping in this bin....if you exclude WR from this conversation. Some were long term projects that eventually flourished, others immediately filled holes.


The major issue at hand.....Securing long term foundation pieces for a team so lacking across its roster....starting at QB.
This isn't similar to the 2000 team full of bonafide pieces
As I see it.....this is a major rebuild that will take several years even if NE finds their next QB soon.
 
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Doctor DDS

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
At a time when it has never been easier to throw the ball in the NFL having a starting QB with 5 TD passes through 13 starts is truly stunning. I was never a huge Cam fan but I expected him to be at least league average. Assumed his ability to move/run would offset his below average passing ability but he actually has almost zero pocket awareness and his planned runs and occasional scrambles never really amounted to much outside of a couple games. I just do not believe a run first game plan can be effective in todays NFL as it requires way too many 3rd down conversions to consistently score points and becomes neutered when the team is behind. Pats have plenty of pieces in place for it to be an important complimentary weapon but they need a passing game that can produce 4,000 yards to compete with the top teams in the league. Putting this in place has to be priority 1 through 5.

BB has historically done a great job turning prior disappointments (Van Noy, Branch, T. Brown) into crucial assets and he should have a ton of cap space to find a number of these type of players this off season. Shop at the bargain bin plus add 1 or 2 high end FA and there is no reason the Pats cannot have a similar turnaround as the Dolphins just did.
 

haripi2

On the Game Day Roster
I am just hoping Bill has seen something with stidham and wanted to protect him this year as people will have unfair comparisons replacing brady. Now that he is replacing newton, expectations will be set a bar lower and he can play with more freedom.

This is the optimist in me. And hoping stidham turns out to be our QB of future so that we don't need to go on the QB carousel and can immediately start stockpiling picks on all other sides of the team to get ready for playoff contention.
 

lancerman

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
At a time when it has never been easier to throw the ball in the NFL having a starting QB with 5 TD passes through 13 starts is truly stunning. I was never a huge Cam fan but I expected him to be at least league average. Assumed his ability to move/run would offset his below average passing ability but he actually has almost zero pocket awareness and his planned runs and occasional scrambles never really amounted to much outside of a couple games. I just do not believe a run first game plan can be effective in todays NFL as it requires way too many 3rd down conversions to consistently score points and becomes neutered when the team is behind. Pats have plenty of pieces in place for it to be an important complimentary weapon but they need a passing game that can produce 4,000 yards to compete with the top teams in the league. Putting this in place has to be priority 1 through 5.

BB has historically done a great job turning prior disappointments (Van Noy, Branch, T. Brown) into crucial assets and he should have a ton of cap space to find a number of these type of players this off season. Shop at the bargain bin plus add 1 or 2 high end FA and there is no reason the Pats cannot have a similar turnaround as the Dolphins just did.
The Dolphins had a completely tear down year, which I don't think we are going to do. The Cardinals and the Niner's recently did the same thing. You can be rebuild fast if you are willing to say screw it and bite the bullet for a year or two. Will a 68 year old Bill Belichick want that? This team iss too devoid of talent to get back with reclamation projects. We need influxes at multiple position groups.
 

PatsFanInVa

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2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
I am just hoping Bill has seen something with stidham and wanted to protect him this year as people will have unfair comparisons replacing brady. Now that he is replacing newton, expectations will be set a bar lower and he can play with more freedom.

This is the optimist in me. And hoping stidham turns out to be our QB of future so that we don't need to go on the QB carousel and can immediately start stockpiling picks on all other sides of the team to get ready for playoff contention.
Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that what he sees in Stidham is "A guy I drafted." But he hasn't been sentimental like that in the past.

While we have split hairs about whether TFB was better than whatever sensation came out (e.g., Mahomes most recently, Manning originally), we haven't really had our eye on the difference between a good QB and a JAG or bad QB until this year. Teams go a decade between stretches of "Franchise QB"ing. It's been a big dose of "Welcome to the wilderness" and may it be short lived.
 

Doctor DDS

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
The Dolphins had a completely tear down year, which I don't think we are going to do. The Cardinals and the Niner's recently did the same thing. You can be rebuild fast if you are willing to say screw it and bite the bullet for a year or two. Will a 68 year old Bill Belichick want that? This team iss too devoid of talent to get back with reclamation projects. We need influxes at multiple position groups.
The Patriots went into this season down there top 4 LB's plus starting and key backup safeties and stating nose tackle. On offense they moved on from their HOF QB, starting center (Karras) and starting RT. They cleared out a ton of cap space. I assume they will let a few more vets go this off season and clear up even more cap space. If that is not a "tear down" I am really sure what is.
 

PATSYLICIOUS

Pro Bowl Player
2001, 2003, and 2010 shows were never as far from being a contender as we think. Need a good offseason and a solid qb. Given the talent that should be available and our cap space, qb is my only real concern being able to fill.

Offensively you should have a pretty strong ol and very nice 1-2 in harris/ michel at rb. Wr we have good secondary options in meyers/byrd, need help there and te depending on keene /asiasi. Qb the obvious big need.

Defensively im excited about our core with jcj/dmc / hopefully Gilmore/ jones/ wino/phillips/ dugger / uche / hopefully reaign guy and butler/ t hall / cowart. Will need a run stuffing dt and upgrades to simon and jmc. Don’t think we’re terribly far off from fielding a defense that bb can have performing.

if folk is still this good next year, we have dominant st’s which can offset many deficiencies.
 

lancerman

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
The Patriots went into this season down there top 4 LB's plus starting and key backup safeties and stating nose tackle. On offense they moved on from their HOF QB, starting center (Karras) and starting RT. They cleared out a ton of cap space. I assume they will let a few more vets go this off season and clear up even more cap space. If that is not a "tear down" I am really sure what is.
We have an entire secondary full of older guys who will not be here in 3 years imo (Gilmore, the McCourtey's, Chung). We have an offensive line with one guy fighting for a contract we probably won't give him and another who is injured more than he plays.

Clearing the cap space was huge but we still have real problems to address. We get WR's and Defensive lineman this year, next year we have to focus on the CB's and the offensive line. We still need to find one TE somewhere. Notice I didn't even bring up QB.
 

betterthanthealternative

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There's only one position group that doesn't need to be addressed: RB. I guess Kickers, too, if old man Folk holds up another couple of years.
Every other position group needs resources thrown at it: QB, WR, TE, OL, DL, LB, DB's.
The league-wide cap problems will help, but can they help enough? I don't see it.
We have to assume there won't be another lightening strike like they got with Brady in Round 6.
This will take a while.
And Miami and Buffalo will be good for at least 2 more years. Miami perhaps longer.
But, it'll be a fun puzzle to watch them address. I'm in for the ride, just for that.
 

DarrylS

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2019 Weekly Picks Winner
The Patriots went into this season down there top 4 LB's plus starting and key backup safeties and stating nose tackle. On offense they moved on from their HOF QB, starting center (Karras) and starting RT. They cleared out a ton of cap space. I assume they will let a few more vets go this off season and clear up even more cap space. If that is not a "tear down" I am really sure what is.

Hightower, Cannon, Chung were all voluntary opt outs.

Andrews was and is the starting center, Karras was a fill in after Andrews injury.

The reason they got more cap space this year were settlements in the Hernandez ($2.25M) and Antonio Brown($4.3M)... their cap space increased to $7.79M. Those settlements occurred in July, when most of the "shopping" for FA's was done.. they also added to their #'s when Hightower et al opted out in August.

Next year they have something like #60-70 Million cap dollars available., so expect to seem something different on the field next year..
 

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