Cameron O asked some Saints fans over on the OTA thread to give their opinion on the Patriots. Since I am an old windbag in need of a good editor, I couldn't fit this into the comments section without it looking like I copy and pasted the U.S. constitution, so I decided to put it here as a Fanpost. I hope ya'll don't mind.
Before I begin, let me say that I'm not just some fan of another team offering an opinion on your squad without any forethought or at least some knowledge of your team.
I'm old enough to have followed the Patriots since the days of Jim Nance and Gino Cappelletti. I remember the days of Grogan, Sam "Bam" Cunningham, Mike Haynes, and their battles with the Raiders. I also remember when the Patriots had the prettiest looking set of wide receivers in the whole league (in their uniforms)....Stanley Morgan, Irving Fryar, Stephen Starring, and Cedric Jones....they looked "mah-va-lus".
Just saying....I did not come here to bury the Patriots, I'm here to.....oh hell, you know the rest.
Anyway, after 4 games it's too early to tell, because things are still being worked out on the defensive side of the ball. But, I will say that contrary to what some Patriots fans seem to think, when it comes to the success or failure of the Patriots, it's not about the defense.
I will use a line by Pats Pulpit's own ISN...."Juggernaut offense, suspect defense".
That seems to be the prevailing thought of quite a few Pats fans I've talked to. While the defense is definitely suspect, the only Juggernaut offense I've seen so far this season has been Green Bay (and I don't know how long that will last). Yes, the Pats have a high scoring offense, just like the Saints and Texans, but if the greatest Juggernaut offense in the history of the NFL (for 16 games) couldn't get it done in 2007 simply by outscoring teams, then I don't see that happening with this group.
Kerry Byrne and the crew over at CHFF have made a big deal about how the Pats have not won a Super Bowl since the 2004 team and putting the blame squarely on the defense. They even trotted out a bunch of completely one-sided examples that supposedly "prove" their point about how the Pats defense has continually folded and let the team down when they needed them most.
The problem with that is the only game that the Patriots defense has "choked" away has been the AFC Championship game with the Colts following the 2006 season when the Patriots were up 21-6 at the half and 34-31 in the 4th quarter.
It's understandable how they would feel that way given the performance of the defense during the Super Bowl seasons but it's not an accurate picture. Other than that game against the Colts, when the Patriots scored 34 points, the offense has scored 13, 14, 14 and 21 points in their four other playoff losses since the 2004 team.
They have lost.....
Byrne loves to talk about how the Colts lost all those playoff games, not because of a horrible Colts defense, but because the Colts offense never put up enough points to win those games. Somehow, he is not able to apply that same logic to the Patriots offense.
Right now, I want to exclude the loss to the Broncos for a moment and concentrate on the three losses which have occurred since the Patriots changed their offensive focus following the 2006 season and the collapse to the Colts in the AFC championship game.
It was decided after that season that the Patriots needed more offensive firepower to continue to compete for a championship. After all, it was the dropped passes by mediocre receivers in that game that lost the Pats another shot a Super Bowl, right? So, the Pats went out and loaded up on offensive talent and the 2007 season was born.
But since then, no championships have followed. The offense continues to score even with all the personnel changes (Because you only really need Brady, right?). So, it must be all the defense' fault....right?
Plus, Moss got booted out of town and the offense was able to go back to the "death by a thousand cuts" philosophy in which Brady spread the ball around to everyone and didn't just concentrate on Moss and Welker.
Here's the problem, with that. The "death by a thousand cuts" offense was based on having a dependable running game (notice I said "dependable"), which the Pats have not had in years.
Just because Brady is spreading the ball around to different receivers does not make this a return to the championship formula offense from 2003 and 2004. The running game is not reliable. And, come playoff time, against teams with good defenses who are much more focused and prepared (because it's the playoffs), the Pats offense gets exposed. Just like the Colts offense would get exposed every year when Peyton Manning was 0-for-whatever in playoff games.
Because of all this focus on Brady and how he is such a great quarterback (He definitely is), and how much the offense scores, people just naturally blame the defense for the Patriots not winning another championship.
It doesn't help that they are getting lit up for big yardage by everyone they play right now (so is Green Bay), but that's not what has stopped them from winning a playoff game the last two seasons and it is not what has stopped them from winning a Super Bowl the last 6 seasons (except for the 2006 collapse).
It has been the vaunted Patriots offense coming up small in the playoffs. Just like the Colts did all those years with Manning.
Some Patriots fans may not want to hear this, but unless that offense can prove that it can do something in the playoffs besides get stopped by team with a good defense, the Patriots are not going to win anything.
Or, they will need a return to the opportunistic defense that could rise up and stop teams at crunch time before all their best defensive players got too old for their contracts and shipped out of town. (Which is what every Pats fan has been hoping and praying)
Don't worry Patriots fans, Belichick is working on that right now. Just give him a little time to mesh these youngsters and veterans together into the current defensive scheme. I think you may be pleasantly surprised....this season.
Please, don't kick an old Saints fan around too hard with your comments. I rooted for ya'll against the Packers in Super Bowl 31. I was also so depressed after Patriots loss in Super Bowl 42 that I could not watch football during the 2008 season until after week 8.
(I really wanted that undefeated season)
Besides this is all Cameron O's fault anyway.....he ASKED for my opinion.