Well no kidding.
The classic broker's warning (PP is NG of FP) works on two scales: We were great last year, but that's no guarantee of greatness today. On the other hand, our poor play so far is also no guarantee that we'll be poor all year. But it won't be easy.
I had no idea Duane Starks had changed his name. Deltha O'Neal does sound better.
tm from Cleary the Elder, 10:38pm, Sunday
More tasty goodness inside.
Since I've been saying that it would take six weeks for us to really get a handle on who this team is, now is probably a good time to break my silence and share my thoughts. And my main thought is this: 6-10 is not out of the question. Not without a significant up-tick in two areas, one of which is possible.
The possible: The Patriots defense finds itself. Color me unimpressed with our Dom Capers secondary. There are a lot of moving parts there, a couple of youngsters and a recent addition. But I don't think that entirely excuses their output. Even against the 49ers, receivers were running wide open. We were fortunate that they all seemed to have a case of the dropsies, or that game would have been different (even against their output that day--it would have been even worse). Deltha O'Neal must be sick to his stomach today--that's if the Chargers have given it back: they own every piece of him right now. As they say down south: Bless his heart, he's trying.
Do we miss Asante? Yep. Should we have paid him? Maybe--but I don't think this team would ever have matched the market price. Hobbs is now playing hurt, as is Meriweather. Nevertheless, things could improve as the young guys adapt to the system. Oh, one other point: Rodney Harrison is officially done. I love the guy, but I think he's done. Too slow now: father time has caught his legs. You can tell, because he's getting beat and his response is to complain to the refs. He's frustrated. I'm sorry, too. A great player.
Jarvis Green is now playing hurt. But the front third of the defense should be able to improve, right? I keep saying this to myself because what was once arguably the best defensive line in the league now has no pass rush. They're doing a better job of stifling the run (though they do get ripped from time to time), but there has been very little in the way of a pass rush. Of course, this works in tandem with the DB's, who can't seem to cover anyone. Past performance...
The D should get better. It's the other piece I'm more concerned about, and it's why the D must get better if we don't want to settle in to the winter with a 6 and 10 record.
I'll just start by noting that our starting right tackle is now Mark LeVoir. Who is Mark LeVoir? Mark LeVoir is in his second year out of Notre Dame. This is his third team in two years and his prior history looks like this: Undrafted FA with the Bears, waived, signed to practice squad, signed to roster, waived, signed to practice squad, poached by the Rams, waived on August 31 of 2008. That makes the right side of our once proud offensive line LeVoir and Yates. And no blocking tight end.
Thank goodness they're on the right: at least Cassel will be able to see who hits him. Seems like he can't see anything else--at least not and process the information to pull the trigger. Anything over 7 yards down field is a crapshoot right now. With time and experience, Cassel will certainly improve. He clearly has all the right tools and doesn't seem to get too rattled. But this team wasn't ready to train a new QB, particularly not with this o-line.
Jordan is hurt and Maroney, with his recurring shoulder injury, probably has 2 years left in his career and it's not going to be the stunning one we all hoped it would be. Expect to see some Kevin O'Connell before the season is over. My current feeling is that, with two key components in disarray (OL and DB), an underperforming D-line and a true newbie at QB, this team is treading water until 2009.
Why the long face, you ask? Well, after that shellacking by the Chargers (hey--you can say we competed, but how many first downs do you really need when you get big plays? If you score, you score. We should know: you don't need to drive if you can score from your own 20), I took a look at the schedule. Here are the teams I feel confident we can beat right now:
Rams, Seahawks, Raiders.
Right now, everyone else on tap is playing better football than the Patriots are. An honest assesment, sorry if it hurts. How's this for a turnaround? We are, right now, the worst team in the AFC east.
The market is wacky. There is a small fistfull of teams playing solid football right now, and all but the Titans took a tumble this weekend. This year, parity means mediocrity. Heck, the mighty Giants got beat by the hapless Browns. I guess they have some hap after all.
Maybe we do too.