Panic In the Streets as Patriots Stumble Through Another Lost Season

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I’ll get this out of the way quickly. It’s impossible to look at the Patriots defense right now and say that their performance is acceptable. They’ve been bad. Very bad.

According to Greg Bedard in the Globe today says that Sunday’s performance against the Bills “had to be among the worst performances by a Bill Belichick defense in his tenure with the Patriots.

OK, maybe it was. But then the next sentence is “In an effort to quantify how bad this was, we went through our data, which goes back to the start of the 2011 season in this regard.

I’m not really sure how you can compare 12 ½ seasons with less than two years worth of data, but hey, knock yourself out.

I’m not trying  to pick on Greg too much, because I do think he does a very good job overall, but on Twitter the other day he said he hadn’t watched the film from the game yet because he was “afraid.” That’s just silly. It feeds the panicked element of the fan base.

To his credit though does acknowledge something that anyone who has actually followed the team over the years realizes. They’re likely to get better. Maybe not this week, but soon.

The stuff you see on Twitter, and heard on the radio and read on websites is just mind-blowing. It’s as if this is the very first time people have ever watched a football season.

The defense is bad right now. Can anyone remember a season ago? Their stats are almost exactly the same as they were last year at this time. This is a much younger team. Right now six rookies are seeing significant playing time on defense.If they look lost at times, they are. They’re rookies. But they’re probably going to get better.

The defense is creating turnovers, and they seem to happen right when they need them the most. (Some thanks to this guy.) That’s not luck or coincidence. The offense isn’t turning the ball over. If they can tighten some things up over the second half of the season, they’re going to be fine.

It kills me to see Troy Brown and Ty Law killing the Patriots week after week. Some of it we can attribute to, as one reader put it, the “letterman” status. The retired players who look at the current squad and think they can do nothing right, certainly nothing approaching what they did back when they were playing.

If Law and Brown were commentators back then, what do you think they would say about this game? Offense jumps out to a nice lead, the other team comes charging back, shredding the defense, and is driving for the winning score when they are stopped on the last play of the game. How about this one – holding a 28-17 lead with under three minutes to go, and losing? You can say sure, those games were anomalies, but they happened. There are others, too.

It’s hard to win in the NFL, and I think 90% of fans and media forget that. Just calm down, everyone. Things are going to be fine.

Just a few quick links this morning:

Avery key cog for Celts – I think the Celtics have missed Avery Bradley in the early going. Steve Bulpett has Bradley eager to get back on the floor.

Kalish hopes Sox look within – Joe McDonald has outfielder Ryan Kalish knowing that he has a lot to prove.

Fishing for Trout: Do Red Sox prospects move too slowly? – Alex Speier looks at whether the Red Sox keep their prospects in the minors too long.

Get all links at PatriotsLinks.com and CelticsLinks.com.

  • Div

    Safari didn’t hang in there. : (

    • Guest

      Steve Jobs = Bill Belichick

  • http://twitter.com/theaisleseatcom Andy Dursin

    Has anybody said “Worst 6-3 team in the history of the NFL!!!” yet?

    I tuned out on local sports talk when election season kicked into gear in August. When I went back to listen to the local shows, it took a few seconds to realize this was all the same conversation we heard last year. “What do we really know about this team? What does this win actually tell us? The defense is horrible. They are what they are.” and on and on. I agree with Bruce completely that the conversation actually seems worse than last year, even though the team is younger defensively, which accounts for something of what we’re seeing. Overall, I’m happy I tuned out. I haven’t missed anything but getting frustrated with the predictable talking points and “conversation” starters from the usual suspects. IMO Gresh and Zo, their flaws notwithstanding, are the only show in this market that will accurately analyze this team.

    • Frank

      Seriously, if you had told me 5 years ago, that Gresh and Zo would be the best local radio show for Pats coverage I would have laughed in your face. Funny how things work out.
      They still suck on every other sport.

  • http://twitter.com/DryHeave1 DryHeave

    as far as Ty Law and Troy Brown, it may very well be their “letterman status”….but deep down I think it’s a FEAR of being labeled as “homers”. They are media members now and media members around here would rather be called “child-molesters” than the dreaded “H-word”

  • dan

    Guys…this defense is simply not good enough to win it all. I’ve noticed for the last several years here that you guys get all riled up because their are some local media members who you feel are not being fair to the Pats and or just don’t know what their talking about.
    And every year you guys keep saying like today that it’s going to be alright and we should just trust Bill. Well the bottom line has been since 07 the defense here can not make a stop at the end of the game to win the Super Bowl…that is the bottom line. And after this season is over and they lose in the AFC title game or the Super Bowl…again in another late drive then maybe you’ll believe.
    I hope to god that Talib set’s everything right so maybe this year will be different but my gut tells me more of the same.

    • N N

      …they won the AFC title game by stopping the late drive… shouldn’t that count for something? Also, the game Sunday was an example of when the team DID stop the late drive. My point is that we have no idea whether the season will come down to stopping one drive, and if it does, we can’t be certain that they won’t stop it.

      Also, the Giants in ’08, the Steelers in ’09, and the Patriots in ’04 all WON the super bowl after giving up late 4th quarter lead-surrendering drives.

      No one is disputing that the defense is not good. But they do have the best offense; no other team is all that close to them in points scored. So the bad defense doesn’t necessarily doom them when they have such a good offense, as we saw the team (bad defense and all) come within a RCH of winning the championship last year.

      • John

        As soon as they run into a good defense in the playoffs and Brady only puts up 17 pts, their defense will doom them, just like it has over the past several years. This team relies way too much on the QB. They need a little more balance. This team is exactly like last years team and so on. Whats changed?

        • N N

          It didn’t “doom” them against the Ravens or Broncos in the playoffs last year – both good defenses.

          It’s a GOOD thing that not too much has changed from a team that was that close to winning the super bowl.

        • DrakeW

          Downvote (I’m doing this from now on when I want to downvote something).

        • John

          Are you seriously bringing up the Broncos playoff game? ha. The Broncos didn’t have a good defense last year. Yes it did doom them. If the Ravens didn’t choke all over themselves they would have gone to the superbowl.

        • N N

          Yes in an alternate universe in which unicorns run down gumdrop lane, they lost to the Ravens. But in reality, they won.

  • Yahtzee

    In the absence of the Board, I have to post this. Remind me not to rely on Mike for anything requiring intelligence:

    Nick — I have great respect for you as a writer but also someone who seems to always get it right with the Sox. My question is: name the three top choices the Sox would acquire if available.
    Mike, Branford, Conn.

    • yahtzee

      Of course his answer includes someone who wasn’t available but smiles a lot — Torii Hunter

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