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The decline, unit-by-unit

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Sep 12th

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ivanvamp

In the Starting Line-Up
The end of the dynasty thread got me thinking about a unit-by-unit comparison between the last Patriots' championship team (2018) and their current team. Just two years removed. Just the starters. For the 2020 roster, I'm color coding them - black if they're equivalent to 2018, blue if they're an improvement, and red if they're a downgrade.

2018
Offense
QB: Tom Brady
RB: Sony Michel, James Develin
RB (receiving back): James White
WR: Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Philip Dorsett
TE: Rob Gronkowski
OL: Trent Brown, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon

Defense
DL: Trey Flowers, Lawrence Guy, Malcom Brown
LB: Dont'a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts
CB: Jason McCourty, Stephon Gilmore
S: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung

Special Teams
K: Stephen Gostkowski
P: Ryan Allen
LS: Joe Cardona

2020
Offense
QB: Cam Newton
RB: Damien Harris, Jakob Johnson
RB (receiving back): James White (White has been worse this year than in 2018)
WR: Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers
TE: Ryan Izzo
OL: Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Michael Onwenu

Defense
DL: John Simon, Byron Cowart, Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise
LB: Ja'Whaun Bentley, Chase Winovich
CB: Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson, Jason McCourty (much worse than the 2018 version of JMac)
S: Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips (DMac isn't as good as he was in 2018)

Special Teams
K: Nick Folk
P: Jake Bailey
LS: Joe Cardona

It was hard to determine some of the starters for 2020 because so many guys have taken turns starting, but that's my best shot at it. But the way I see it, they have one guy on offense who is better than his counterpart in 2018: Damien Harris, who is better this year than Sony was in 2018, but Sony came up huge in the playoffs and was healthy all year, unlike Harris in 2020. So even then it might even out. On defense, only one guy is an upgrade: Phillips over Chung. Chung was solid in 2018 but I think Phillips has been really good. Otherwise, there are 7 spots on D where the 2020 version is worse. In special teams, Folk has been really good this year, but doesn't have the leg that Ghost had, so I call that a wash. Cardona is the same. Bailey is an upgrade over Allen, who was a good punter in his own right. Bailey is just the best in the sport right now.

So in total, I see 15 downgrades, 3 upgrades, and 8 spots that are basically even. I mean, that's a LOT of downgrades compared to upgrades. Especially at the skill positions, where basically every single spot in 2018 was better (significantly so in many ways) than 2020.

It's not hard to see why the 2020 Pats aren't close to what the 2018 Pats were.
 

DropKickFlutie

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Defense had so many opt outs. Still good next year. Special teams is better. It's the offense that is terrible and hasn't developed anyone. We need a new offensive coordinator.
 

TheRainMaker

I'm getting my res at Dorsia
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2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
That 2018 team was really bad on paper and benefited from the Chargers choking away HFA. Hard to believe they were able to put that run together.

WR/TE and DL stand out the most. The last two drafts have neglected both of these dire needs and they are going into their 3rd offseason without addressing this.

LB is now a big need as well.
 

mgteich

PatsFans.com Veteran
PatsFans.com Supporter
LB is now a big need as well.
Sure, I guess we should believe that Belichick does not know how to evaluate LB's as well as every other position. Bentley, Winovich, Uche, Jennings, Hightower. I guess, for you, these are a bunch of scrubs. And, we have Hall as a RUN-stopping LB. Also Dugger player lots of LB when needed. Finally, Williams covers the TE is certain set.
====
Sure, if we assume that Hightower is gone, then we need a veteran replacement. And, as if often the case, Bill look for midlevel free agents at LB.
=============
Belichick chose not to trade for a NT. Guy, Butler, and Allen all have had injuries. We were awful inside.

It is clear that the defenseive focus this offseason needs to be at DT, and replacing any retirements or trades.
 

TheRainMaker

I'm getting my res at Dorsia
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Sure, I guess we should believe that Belichick does not know how to evaluate LB's as well as every other position. Bentley, Winovich, Uche, Jennings, Hightower. I guess, for you, these are a bunch of scrubs.
HT was not on the team this year. Bentley sucks. Uche has had 9 tackles in 9 games averaging 1 tackle per game on a team that can't stop the run. Winovich is regressing. Jennings is averaging just over a tackle a game. That's not good dude.
And, we have Hall as a RUN-stopping LB
Brandon Spikes 2.0. He can hit, but he's terrible in space which the Bills exposed on MNF.
Also Dugger player lots of LB when needed. Finally, Williams covers the TE is certain set.
Dugger is a JAG. Williams was a waste of pick.
 

holyredeemer

In the Starting Line-Up
Sure, I guess we should believe that Belichick does not know how to evaluate LB's as well as every other position. Bentley, Winovich, Uche, Jennings, Hightower. I guess, for you, these are a bunch of scrubs. And, we have Hall as a RUN-stopping LB. Also Dugger player lots of LB when needed. Finally, Williams covers the TE is certain set.
====
Sure, if we assume that Hightower is gone, then we need a veteran replacement. And, as if often the case, Bill look for midlevel free agents at LB.
=============
Belichick chose not to trade for a NT. Guy, Butler, and Allen all have had injuries. We were awful inside.

It is clear that the defenseive focus this offseason needs to be at DT, and replacing any retirements or trades.
Do you truly believe that we have the talent we need at LB? If HT comes back, that will give us a strong veteran presence. I’ll give you that one. Was a year off good for his body? Will he be more prone to injury? No idea. One would hope that Jennings and Uche would develop, but there’s still no way to know. Everyone else is a role player. Hall isn’t a 3 down LB. He just doesn’t have the athleticism for it. I do like him though. I’m admittedly a big Bentley hater. Wino unfortunately regressed/got on Bills bad side etc.. I don’t even know if he has a future on this team. DT is a very big need, but so is a playmaking 3 down LB.
 

mgteich

PatsFans.com Veteran
PatsFans.com Supporter
Brandon Spikes 2.0. He can hit, but he's terrible in space which the Bills exposed on MNF.


Do you truly believe that we have the talent we need at LB? If HT comes back, that will give us a strong veteran presence. I’ll give you that one. Was a year off good for his body? Will he be more prone to injury? No idea. One would hope that Jennings and Uche would develop, but there’s still no way to know. Everyone else is a role player. Hall isn’t a 3 down LB. He just doesn’t have the athleticism for it. I do like him though. I’m admittedly a big Bentley hater. Wino unfortunately regressed/got on Bills bad side etc.. I don’t even know if he has a future on this team.

I believe that Belichick will add a LB or two. He does almost every year. He has been especially successful; in bringing 2nd tier veterans. I presume that we would get an upgrade over Calhoun. And yes, I would be fine with an upgrade of Bentley.

Hightower, Jennings, Uche, Winovich
Bentley, Hall
rookie or vet


My point is that this is just normal business, rather than a major priority like DT.
 

FCB02062

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
The end of the dynasty thread got me thinking about a unit-by-unit comparison between the last Patriots' championship team (2018) and their current team. Just two years removed. Just the starters. For the 2020 roster, I'm color coding them - black if they're equivalent to 2018, blue if they're an improvement, and red if they're a downgrade.

2018
Offense
QB: Tom Brady
RB: Sony Michel, James Develin
RB (receiving back): James White
WR: Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Philip Dorsett
TE: Rob Gronkowski
OL: Trent Brown, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon

Defense
DL: Trey Flowers, Lawrence Guy, Malcom Brown
LB: Dont'a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts
CB: Jason McCourty, Stephon Gilmore
S: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung

Special Teams
K: Stephen Gostkowski
P: Ryan Allen
LS: Joe Cardona

2020
Offense
QB: Cam Newton
RB: Damien Harris, Jakob Johnson
RB (receiving back): James White (White has been worse this year than in 2018)
WR: Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers
TE: Ryan Izzo
OL: Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Michael Onwenu

Defense
DL: John Simon, Byron Cowart, Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise
LB: Ja'Whaun Bentley, Chase Winovich
CB: Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson, Jason McCourty (much worse than the 2018 version of JMac)
S: Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips (DMac isn't as good as he was in 2018)

Special Teams
K: Nick Folk
P: Jake Bailey
LS: Joe Cardona

It was hard to determine some of the starters for 2020 because so many guys have taken turns starting, but that's my best shot at it. But the way I see it, they have one guy on offense who is better than his counterpart in 2018: Damien Harris, who is better this year than Sony was in 2018, but Sony came up huge in the playoffs and was healthy all year, unlike Harris in 2020. So even then it might even out. On defense, only one guy is an upgrade: Phillips over Chung. Chung was solid in 2018 but I think Phillips has been really good. Otherwise, there are 7 spots on D where the 2020 version is worse. In special teams, Folk has been really good this year, but doesn't have the leg that Ghost had, so I call that a wash. Cardona is the same. Bailey is an upgrade over Allen, who was a good punter in his own right. Bailey is just the best in the sport right now.

So in total, I see 15 downgrades, 3 upgrades, and 8 spots that are basically even. I mean, that's a LOT of downgrades compared to upgrades. Especially at the skill positions, where basically every single spot in 2018 was better (significantly so in many ways) than 2020.

It's not hard to see why the 2020 Pats aren't close to what the 2018 Pats were.
the 18 Pat's really caught lightning in a bottle and I like their SB to either of the NYG recent titles - unexpected and the team got really hot in the playoffs.

A better comparison is the difference between the 2017 Patriots and this year. And that will show you how far this team has fallen.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
That 2018 team was really bad on paper and benefited from the Chargers choking away HFA. Hard to believe they were able to put that run together.

WR/TE and DL stand out the most. The last two drafts have neglected both of these dire needs and they are going into their 3rd offseason without addressing this.

LB is now a big need as well.

They were a championship team on paper; it just took Skippy the entire regular season to realize that Gronk had lost a step and Hogan had lost two steps and to stop with his stubborn spread formations. They had a devastating jumbo-like package with an elite offensive line, Gronk, Allen, and Develin. The defense took a little while to become elite but did in the postseason, which carried over to a near record setting 2019.
 

holyredeemer

In the Starting Line-Up
I believe that Belichick will add a LB or two. He does almost every year. He has been especially successful; in bringing 2nd tier veterans. I presume that we would get an upgrade over Calhoun. And yes, I would be fine with an upgrade of Bentley.

Hightower, Jennings, Uche, Winovich
Bentley, Hall
rookie or vet


My point is that this is just normal business, rather than a major priority like DT.
I misunderstood what you were saying. I apologize. I’d like to see us retain Guy and Butler, and really go to town via draft & FA with some really big fellas that can clog up that whole OL. The impact that would have on guys like Uche, Wino, Dugger, and Phillips would be HUGE! If he stays healthy, I can see Jennings becoming a top tier B player for us.
 

Doctor DDS

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Hard to assess talent on defense with so many young players. If several of them take big leaps like Bruschi, Samuel, Chung, Flowers and others did after slow rookie years the defense should be in good shape - if not they will likely need to bring in a number of veterans.
 

Wozzy

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Devin McCourty and Gilmore haven't fallen off at all, Gilmore was the DPOY last year and Dev is as fast as he's always been. Jason McCourty is what he always has been, he gets beat, he makes a great play, he was never considered elite but solid. What's fallen off substantially is the defensive front, the DB's were put in a bad spot this year. They had no true NT this year with Beau Allen hurt, they had no beef behind him waiting in the wings. Carl Davis the guy hired to replace him hasn't been able to stay healthy and their best all purpose DT's Guy and Butler have been hurt off and on. If you're starting Nick Thurman with the frequency they have due to injury, expect to be bad. The linebackers now are a bunch of kids that need reps and experience, along with some vets who are experienced but not all that athletic or OLB's (Simon and Copeland before he got hurt) who are often being asked to play out of position.

On offense if he can stay healthy Wynn isn't a downgrade, he's a really good player. Onwenu has been dominant and Eluemenour has also been very good and Herron has yet to disappoint. The 2020 Patriots offensive line is one of the best in the league, if anything they're deeper than 2018. The RB's are also better and deeper in 2020. The TE play is obviously worse. Gronk and Dwayne Allen were a force as blockers and a little long in the tooth as receivers, the rookies in 2020 are inexperienced and clueless, they had a few bright spots but considering Cam can't see the field nor check it down to the flats their talents were wasted. We'll need a QB before we see how they progress as receivers but they need to continue to improve as blockers... but they have talent. Byrd replaced Dorsett at the flanker WR position and if anything has been better, especially with a substantially worse QB. Edelman hasn't changed but his body is failing him, it also doesn't help when your QB locks onto WR's for an entire series or game. The rest of the Patriots WR's are young, they have no QB. We were told the 2018 WR's had "no talent" and were old and slow... so it shouldn't be hard to improve upon those. We'll see how good these 2019 kids can be once they're given a new better QB. Gunner is second in punt return yards and tied for first in return TD's, all three of these guys have shown they have the athleticism to play WR in the NFL.

The biggest deficiency on this 2020 team was QB, it's the biggest "need" heading into the offseason. Cam is toast. Stidham plays like his pants are on fire in the pocket, he has happy feet. That may or may not go away, but in the meantime he's not the answer. It was a reset year after going all in the last 5-6 years, they had 1 million combined guaranteed dollars invested in both QB's this year. In short this team was broke... salary cap broke. Also they had to roll over and get younger across the entire roster, the late dynastic period for this team got old.

They have a good base to add and build upon, with among the most cap space and draft picks in the NFL in 2021. The future is ahead, learn to enjoy the process again... ignore the trolls, Negative Nancys and media haters who have been waiting two decades to dance on this team's grave. A year from now this will be a competitive team again health provided. The same people telling you this team is irredeemable were telling us we had "no talent" in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018... in short, that's the only note they know how to play.
 

Nikolai

Football Atheist
PatsFans.com Supporter
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Devin McCourty and Gilmore haven't fallen off at all, Gilmore was the DPOY last year and Dev is as fast as he's always been. Jason McCourty is what he always has been, he gets beat, he makes a great play, he was never considered elite but solid. What's fallen off substantially is the defensive front, the DB's were put in a bad spot this year. They had no true NT this year with Beau Allen hurt, they had no beef behind him waiting in the wings. Carl Davis the guy hired to replace him hasn't been able to stay healthy and their best all purpose DT's Guy and Butler have been hurt off and on. If you're starting Nick Thurman with the frequency they have due to injury, expect to be bad. The linebackers now are a bunch of kids that need reps and experience, along with some vets who are experienced but not all that athletic or OLB's (Simon and Copeland before he got hurt) who are often being asked to play out of position.

On offense if he can stay healthy Wynn isn't a downgrade, he's a really good player. Onwenu has been dominant and Eluemenour has also been very good and Herron has yet to disappoint. The 2020 Patriots offensive line is one of the best in the league, if anything they're deeper than 2018. The RB's are also better and deeper in 2020. The TE play is obviously worse. Gronk and Dwayne Allen were a force as blockers and a little long in the tooth as receivers, the rookies in 2020 are inexperienced and clueless, they had a few bright spots but considering Cam can't see the field nor check it down to the flats their talents were wasted. We'll need a QB before we see how they progress as receivers but they need to continue to improve as blockers... but they have talent. Byrd replaced Dorsett at the flanker WR position and if anything has been better, especially with a substantially worse QB. Edelman hasn't changed but his body is failing him, it also doesn't help when your QB locks onto WR's for an entire series or game. The rest of the Patriots WR's are young, they have no QB. We were told the 2018 WR's had "no talent" and were old and slow... so it shouldn't be hard to improve upon those. We'll see how good these 2019 kids can be once they're given a new better QB. Gunner is second in punt return yards and tied for first in return TD's, all three of these guys have shown they have the athleticism to play WR in the NFL.

The biggest deficiency on this 2020 team was QB, it's the biggest "need" heading into the offseason. Cam is toast. Stidham plays like his pants are on fire in the pocket, he has happy feet. That may or may not go away, but in the meantime he's not the answer. It was a reset year after going all in the last 5-6 years, they had 1 million combined guaranteed dollars invested in both QB's this year. In short this team was broke... salary cap broke. Also they had to roll over and get younger across the entire roster, the late dynastic period for this team got old.

They have a good base to add and build upon, with among the most cap space and draft picks in the NFL in 2021. The future is ahead, learn to enjoy the process again... ignore the trolls, Negative Nancys and media haters who have been waiting two decades to dance on this team's grave. A year from now this will be a competitive team again health provided. The same people telling you this team is irredeemable were telling us we had "no talent" in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018... in short, that's the only note they know how to play.

Wish I could Like and "Winner" this post. Outstanding and I agree on pretty much all fronts. The common sense "take" that needs to be repeated and often.
 

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