Remember when the Patriots were the best at half-time adjustments? When you went into the half feeling confident the team would come back and take care of business, whether they were up 14-10 or down 10-7 after two quarters of play?
Sadly those days are gone. Even though New England won the AFC East last year, there were a number of second-half collapses on both sides of the ball. This tendency showed its ugly head again Sunday. The Pats had moved the ball very well on offense in the first half and should have been up at least 17-10.
The second half turned out to be a disaster, offensively and defensively. Brady & Co could hardly move the ball and didn’t really threaten to score again. They had been figured out and Rex Ryan had adjusted his scheme to counter the short passing game over the middle. Forcing the ball to Randy Moss didn’t help either.
Defensively the Patriots dominated early and then fell apart. The Sanchize looked like a pro-bowler and once the Jets got the ball moving in the second quarter, the Patriots never again found a way to get significant pressure on the quarterback or a solution to Dustin Keller and Braylon Edwards.
The Pats are, in short, no longer the masters of in-game adjustments. On defense that might partly be explained by the lack of veteran leadership on a retooled unit, but regarding the offense that line of thought doesn’t add up.
I’m starting to think that the issue might be a shortage of strategic coaching. Over the last couple of years, Bill Belichick has taken on more and more responsibility as the staff has sustained a serious brain drain. (Crennel, Weis, Mangini, McDaniels)
Am I imagining things or has the in-game coaching suffered as a result? BB and the rest of the coaching staff seems perfectly able to come up with a great game-plan during the week, but once the game gets under way and the, let’s admit it, also clever guys on the other sideline starts countering, the Pats just seem bad at finding new ways to open them up and shutting them down.
For all his abilities, even Belichick has his limits. He cannot oversee everything at once, and even if he could, he doesn’t have time to take care of all in-game. Does he get adequate support or are we a bit thin at the choaching depth-chart?