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  • The New England Patriots Dynasty Lives!

    Here's an essay I wrote on the Patriots today. I'm so proud of it...almost brings a tear to my eye. I figured some of you might like to check it out. Let me know what you think!

    The New England Patriots Dynasty Lives!
    by RavenOfProphecy

    It seems like lately there are a lot of fans, writers, and analysts jumping on the anti-Patriots bandwagon. New England has blown a few second-half leads and was thoroughly dismantled by the Saints a few weeks ago, and their team is looking more like the 2008 squad that went 11-5 than the 2007 unit that almost ran the table. Almost every player on the team has been subject to a ridiculous amount of criticism –Hall of Fame locks Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Randy Moss in particular. Are these criticisms warranted? In my opinion, they are not. Let’s face it, there were some extremely unrealistic expectations for the Patriots going into the season. This is a team that missed out on the playoffs last year and lost a lot of veteran leadership on defense, but who some considered the favorites to win the Super Bowl. A big reason for the hype was the team’s head coach, Bill Belichick.

    I don’t think anyone would argue with the opinion that Belichick is going down as one of the greatest coaches of all time. He’s won three titles as a head coach and upon retiring will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At this point, he has earned the right to stay with the Patriots for as long as he wants – Robert Kraft would have to completely lose his mind to fire Bill. Belichick has built some of the finest defenses of the decade – everyone remembers the classic 3-4 defenses anchored by players like Richard Seymour, Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Asante Samuel, and Rodney Harrison. But guess what? None of those players are on the team this year. In fact, the defense lost a total of five starters from last year – Seymour, Bruschi, Vrabel, Harrison, and starting cornerback Ellis Hobbs, not to mention a few players who were worked into the rotation.

    This is a defense that is clearly in rebuilding mode – Belichick decided to clean house before the team grew too old, and in its place is an almost unrecognizable unit that has even abandoned the 3-4 at times for a 4-3 look. The leadership on the team is in serious question, and at times it has felt like the most vocal player on the team is disgruntled free agent bust Adalius Thomas, who has been deactivated for critical comments and a lack of production. This guy is allergic to making plays. It seems like the secondary has been torched fairly consistently, and the front seven hasn’t done them any favors with a pass rush that could be fairly described as lackluster. Some have been wondering whether Belichick has lost his touch.

    So I’m assuming it would come as quite a surprise to learn that in terms of yards allowed, the Patriots defense ranks as the 11th best in the entire league, ahead of teams like the San Diego Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, and New Orleans Saints – teams that have drawn praise for their ability to lock down opponents. In terms of points per game, the team is seventh. It might not rank in the top five like we’ve come to expect from Belichick, but that this is his least talented defense is indisputable – many key contributors are either just entering the league or are on their way out, pulled off the scrap heap for one last season. I’m sure there are 25 teams in the league that wish they were allowing 18 points per game instead of what they have thus far. The Patriots could desperately use an elite pass rusher and a top-notch cover corner, but every team in the league has needs.

    On the offensive side of the ball, the most scrutinized player has been quarterback Tom Brady, another player who is a lock for Canton. Brady missed all of last season (save for about seven minutes) after suffering a devastating ACL injury that had to go under the knife twice in order to be repaired. Many were expecting him to rebound with another 2007, a season in which he threw for 50 touchdowns and almost 5,000 yards. That was unrealistic – it’s rare that a quarterback even comes close to those numbers, and this is a guy who was coming off of an injury that led some to question whether he would even be back this year. Brady struggled a little bit at first, especially during the first two or three weeks, but since he has settled down and is playing pretty well, at times flashing the form he displayed earlier. He’s already passed for over 3,800 yards, which ranks as the third-best total of his career, and in terms of passer rating, this is his second-best season next to 2007.

    People had this impression of Brady as Superman, and ever since he was unable to keep up with Drew Brees and the Saints’ high-powered offense a few weeks ago, people have been questioning whether he even ranks as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He does, by almost any metric you’d like. FootballOutsiders.com is the go-to football sabermetrics site on the internet, and in terms of DYAR (Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement), Brady ranks first in the league. In terms of DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Above Replacement), he ranks third, ahead of guys like Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. Brady’s Effective Yards far exceed his total yards, which indicates that he has “played better than standard stats would otherwise indicate”, again ranking first in this category. In short, this year he has been playing about as well as he has throughout his career – people just have a hard time remembering a time when he didn’t throw upwards of three touchdowns a game like he did in 2007.

    This week, the culprit has been Randy Moss – in New England’s sloppy win over Carolina on Sunday, he was held to just one catch, a pass he immediately fumbled away. Belichick and Brady have come to his defense, and while it is difficult to argue with those who claim he wasn’t giving it his all last week, a few down games from an aging receiver are hardly cause to jettison him from the team at the end of the year like some have suggested. Moss is an all-time great at wide receiver and easily one of the most talented to ever have played the position. Just two years ago, he caught 23 touchdowns, an NFL record. Do I think he shut it down a little bit last week? Yes. But I don’t expect that it will become a regular occurrence. He’s had trouble this year, but he still ranks sixth in the NFL in receiving yards this year, and it would be difficult to leave him off of a list of the top ten or so wide receivers in the league. He’s become an integral part of the Patriots offense, not someone you can just throw away because they had a bad game.

    Someone once said that pain makes people act and think irrationally. For football fans everywhere, losing causes pain, and when a team loses, fingers are quickly pointed. Everyone wants to assign blame. And this year, the Patriots have done more losing than we’ve come to expect over the last eight or nine years. New England’s fans aren’t used to this anymore – they’ve grown too accustomed to winning. And so everyone on the team is getting a lot more tough questions after the games. Still, this is a team that is 8-5 and on top of a division which boasts two other talented teams with winning records. There’s a pretty good shot that New England will win out this year, finishing at 11-5. Maybe people have come to expect something more from them, but that’s more of a testament to just how well this organization has been run during Belichick’s tenure. I know there are a lot of fans out there who would be ecstatic to see their team host a home playoff game – something New England is on pace to do. You’d have to be crazy to argue that this year, the Patriots are one of the absolute best teams in the league. But you’d also have to be crazy to think that the only teams that have a shot once the playoffs start are the Colts and the Saints – once you’re in the playoffs, it’s a crapshoot. New England knows this better than anyone – they got bounced in the Super Bowl two years ago after coming into the game with an 18-0 record. Like Kevin Garnett, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!


  • #2
    Great write up. Too bad the title was apparently enough to make everyone ignore it!


    "with a pass rush that could be fairly described as lackluster"

    A bit understated . . .



    The questions about BB are warranted, even though they are a bit overblown. But everyone loves to trample a guy who is not a media darling - meaning they don't bend over a barrel and give the media everything it wants at all times - see: Woods, Tiger.

    Specifically, if it's a defensive rebuilding phase, WTF is the point of trading down over and over while passing on many potential replacements at key positions? Matthews and Muaulaga would look so damn good on our D right now. :(

    Sig img shamelessly stolen from teh interwebs

    Comment


    • #3
      You talk a lot about how those three are hall of fame locks and how the team is rebuilding, but I don't really see how this helps prove your point. You bring up how Brady and Moss still have good stats, but I just don't see a whole argument for why they are still a dangerous team or why the "dynasty lives", other than maybe Brady magic. It's my belief that their defense won't put them over the top in most playoff situations, and I don't really care for the sabermetrics.

      Sure, I give New England a chance against any team, easily. But it seems like you're really falling back on your closing statement of "anything's possible". I know this essay is supposed to come at a time like this, but they have looked quite unimpressive over the last three weeks.

      Also, the fact that you're finally going to lose to the Bills this week is proof positive that the dynasty is over.

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      • #4
        I may be one of the few that never thought of the Patriots as a dynasty. They enver wowed me, they just knew how to win. The Ming Dynasty didn't just kill one more person than the enemies they faced time in and time out. The word Dynasty is over used more than the word love. Nothing about the Patriots reign was dynastic. IF they won the 3 rings, out scored the teams by 20-28 points night in night out and didn't win less than half of the games by under 10 points then I would consider that dynastic. Get over yourselves. Dominance is not a running back getting 1000 yards 10 straight seasons but never eclisping 1200 yards. Dominance is a running back going 7 straight seasons over 1400 yards. Some people just over blow things so much.
        Originally posted by njx9
        i mean, why wouldn't the broncos take cam newton? they can play him at quarterback WITH tebow!

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        • #5
          Good read, but let me put all this thing simple:

          We're screwed.

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          • #6
            Another interesting fact regarding Tom Brady - the Patriots have had the misfortune of playing eight games against teams ranked in the top 10 in terms of defensive passer rating - Buffalo (#1), NY Jets twice (#2), New Orleans (#3), Carolina (#5), Denver (#7), Baltimore (#8), Indianapolis (#10.) This is with a string of injuries to both himself and the guys up front protecting him. As mentioned before, he's got a passer rating this year which tops his career mark, so he's actually doing a very good job. It's easy to look at tape of a quarterback and pick out two or three plays in a game where they overthrow a guy or make a questionable decision, but I think people have really overlooked some of the good things Brady's done this year.

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            • #7
              impulse homer response:

              why does no one ever mention the fact that there have been some major scandals during this Patriots dynasty...

              -Say what you will about Spygate, but something did happen, as evidenced by the Pats losing a first round draft pick and being fined.
              -I guess everyone is turning a blind eye to what seems like half of the Patriots defense getting caught for steroid use.
              -The ******* Tuck Rule
              Penn State University - Detroit Red Wings - New York Jets - Red Bull New York - Fulham FC

              Comment


              • #8
                excellent writeup from one of the better posters here...but my oh my do I have a picture in my photobucket I wanna post here...but I'll hold back
                We ALL bleed scarlet
                New York Giants Super Bowl 46 Champs
                UNITED: I actually attend the college I root for
                Originally posted by PalmerToCJ
                BTW, if it's 3rd and 97... I'm throwing a screen pass to Brian Leonard and he will convert.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TimDris View Post
                  impulse homer response:

                  why does no one ever mention the fact that there have been some major scandals during this Patriots dynasty...

                  -Say what you will about Spygate, but something did happen, as evidenced by the Pats losing a first round draft pick and being fined.
                  -I guess everyone is turning a blind eye to what seems like half of the Patriots defense getting caught for steroid use.
                  -The ******* Tuck Rule
                  Um do you want to post links to this, I dont seem to remeber anyone but Harrison using HGH on our defense getting caught? And please are we about to act like noone else in the NFL uses steroids to begin with? Oh no only the evil Patriots and their son of satan coach


                  Originally posted by WMD
                  Jesse realizing Walt was Santa Claus could really shake things up.
                  Originally posted by gpngc
                  I don't know how old you are, but if you can get to 24/25 without getting arrested or killed, you've done well for yourself lol.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TimDris View Post
                    impulse homer response:

                    why does no one ever mention the fact that there have been some major scandals during this Patriots dynasty...

                    -Say what you will about Spygate, but something did happen, as evidenced by the Pats losing a first round draft pick and being fined.
                    -I guess everyone is turning a blind eye to what seems like half of the Patriots defense getting caught for steroid use.
                    -The ******* Tuck Rule
                    I don't know what you remember about Spygate but a lot of Patriots fans on here including myself were pretty angry about it. Also, no one besides Harrison was caught for steroid use. The tuck rule is a rule, not some kind of cheat the Patriots got away with - I'll admit it shouldn't really have been a rule but it's not like New England did something dastardly during that game.

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                    • #11
                      I think in their present state they're closer to mediocrity than dynasty. They can probably right the ship with a great draft and offseason but as of today i think they're teetering a bit.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RavenOfProphecy View Post
                        I don't know what you remember about Spygate but a lot of Patriots fans on here including myself were pretty angry about it. Also, no one besides Harrison was caught for steroid use. The tuck rule is a rule, not some kind of cheat the Patriots got away with - I'll admit it shouldn't really have been a rule but it's not like New England did something dastardly during that game.
                        Also, earlier that season, the Rams benefitted from that same rule against the Pats. As soon as I saw the play, I was yelling at the TV for the tuck rule (well, it wasn't called that then).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Babylon View Post
                          I think in their present state they're closer to mediocrity than dynasty. They can probably right the ship with a great draft and offseason but as of today i think they're teetering a bit.
                          A fair analysis, imo. This team has some serious holes that need to be filled. The ammunition is there over the next two years with three 1st round picks and four 2nds.

                          dem mofos in da front office betta draft us sum talent, yo

                          Sig img shamelessly stolen from teh interwebs

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The Patriots ruined the franchise of St. Louis Rams, so I hate them.

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                            • #15
                              The Patriots defense is still tied for third in defense. If you think back to some of the losses, the defense has actually played pretty well too. Really, only the Colts and Saints have made them look bad, and those teams can score on just about anyone. The pass rush actually looked good yesterday too, even without Wilfork and Warren. Tully Banta-Cain is sitting at 8.5 sacks so far.

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