4. The Patriots have given up 33 passing plays of over 20 yards and 5 passing plays of over 40 yards through six games.
Those numbers are almost inconceivable. An average of 5.5 passing plays of over 20 yards per game is just unacceptable. I haven’t seen much to signal that things are going to get much better. It’s simple to say that a personnel change would make things better. Ras-I Dowling can’t be any worse than what we have seen, right?
With the way the defense is aligned and the plays are called in, it makes me wonder if it would even matter if good players where back there. The ball skills that the Patriots exhibit are pathetic. Players who looked good in college suddenly lose their ability to locate the ball and make plays when the ball is in the air. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. It makes me seriously question just how and what they are being taught on the practice field.
5. It also makes me wonder if the way Bill Belichick coaches defensive backs is a thing of the pass.
It’s clear that he has been slow to adjust to the rise of the spread offenses. It’s astounding to watch someone who is considered so innovative and usually ahead of his time on most things schematically related struggle to adjust to the spread offense.
6. My last point is something that Ty Law brought up on CSNNE after the game last night.
He said something to the degree that with Bill Belichick so instrumental in all phases of the Patriots program, that when it comes to finding defensive backs and drafting in general, there is no way he can put in the same time and effort that he does into coaching the football team.
Belichick has done a fantastic job picking in the first round, look at the track record, there are very few busts. But, when it comes to drafting in the second, third and fourth rounds he has struggled as of late and struggled badly (except for 2010). Especially when it comes to defensive backs and wide receivers.
It makes me wonder if he is really spending the time and effort that is necessary to find the best of to the best at these positions. Or is how he evaluates those players and the traits he looks for in those players the wrong ones for the NFL in this day and age. It’s much easier to draft in the first round, but as the draft goes on it’s becomes tougher to find talent, more preparation and studying needs to be done.
All the decisions of an organization can’t fall on one person.
The Tavon Wilson pick has Bill Belichick’s finger prints all over it. Wilson was consensus ranked much lower than the Patriots took him. I haven’t heard one person tell me, that’s where we had him ranked or hear that they needed to take him there because he wouldn’t have lasted. Believe me he would have lasted at least a round longer.
I find it tough to believe that the Patriots Head Scout Jon Robinson would stump for a player who is so far down draft boards in the 2nd round. They talk to other scouts, they know where a player is ranked across the NFL. It was Belichick’s decision. I don’t know that for sure, but I know it.
As I said at the time of last year’s draft the Patriots need another voice in the organization when it comes to personnel moves. Someone who will stand up to Bill Belichick and challenge him on moves like that or free agent signings.
When I started this article I posed the question who is to blame. Well, in this case it has to be blamed on the coaches. They are the ones choosing which players are out there and what coverages they will be in. They are the ones coaching them on technique and ball skills and they are the ones trying to develop them.
In the Patriots case the coach just so happens to be the one who picks the players as well. The blame for the poor secondary play has to be put on Bill Belichick.
He must do something to fix it and even if that means completely abandoning what he is so accustomed to doing; so be it. One thing is for sure I have had enough and I’m sure other Patriots fans have as well.