Brian Billick said recently, ’it is a mistake to read too much into the preseason, but it is also a mistake to completely ignore what you see in the preseason.’ So keeping this in mind, here are 5 concerns about the Patriots.
1) Will the offensive find its rhythm?
You can’t just assume that because Tom Brady is under center that everything is going to work out. The Patriots only showed barely a glimmer of any real offensive rhythm in the preseason. This doesn’t have to do with scheming which they obviously did very little of in the preseason, but more to do with chemistry. The addition of Brandon Lloyd has not shown itself yet and can’t be assumed to be a real asset until we see it in game action.
2) How have some of BB’s Free Agent moves improved the team?
A favorite topic of conversation seems to be the debate on BB’s acumen as a general manager. He always makes curious moves, sometimes he hits homeruns (Gronk & Hernandez) and other times he whiffs (Darius Butler, Wheatley & Chad Jackson). So once again one is puzzled by the FA moves with Gaffney, Stallworth & Fanene. Plus what was the reasoning behind releasing Deon Branch? One thing is for sure, Mr. Kraft paid out some serious change for these moves?
Perhaps BB just places a premium on competition in training camp, or maybe he just made some mistakes, but what was the point of ending up with the current receiving corps plus Salas and Hoomanawanui?
Obviously BB is a brilliant coach, but he seems inconsistent as a GM. Lately it seems like he strikes out more than he hits homeruns.
Well, they may bring Branch back, after all he’s still got a locker (but apparently so does Drew Bledsoe…ha ha).
3) Youth vs Experience
This is the youngest Patriots team in the BB era. There are some good veterans like Brady,Welker, Wilfork and Mayo but it’s a team that relies heavily on youth especially on the defensive side. Chandler Jones and Donta Hightower are exciting additions but they are rookies and can make rookie mistakes. Plus the secondary was one of the weakest in the league last year and seem perhaps marginally better this year with the vet Gregory and the another rookie Tavon Wilson.
4) The Offensive Line
Are they good enough? This obviously could be a big part of why there was no offensive rhythm in the preseason. Also it brings up concerns about the safety of our 35 year old franchise QB.
I think most Pat fans are spoiled by Dante Scarnecchia and the consistency of the O-line over the years. It’s safe to say that most fans are worried by this. Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly are the most consistent players with a not very confident Nate Solder and always unhealthy Sebastian Vollmer at tackles, you can see why. Which leads me to the final point…
5) What the bleep is going on with Brian Waters?
One explanation I’ve heard is that he may not want to play the whole season and they bring him in to shore up the line in mid season. It makes some sense, but there’s much confusion on this subject you know BB’s not going to clear it up, plus part of BB’s charm is his complete indifference to the worries of the fan base.
I think a lot of fans wished we had seen a little more chemistry on the field when the offense was on the field in the preseason. Also, it would have been nice if more of the sexy FA moves had worked out. But the truth is many of these preseason jitters will be gone if the Patriots have a strong showing against the Titans in the opener.