At the beginning of the season, I wrote blog about who will make plays for the Patriots' defense. Who will step up to the plate to assume the role or roles for limiting the opposing team and their opportunities. The answer was Bill Belichick, the defensive staff, and the entire defense. T-e-a-m ball. And nothing better could have happened.
Now I will not pose another question such as that. But I will offer another opinion on the Patriots and their up coming game with the Ravens. Other than the Jets and the brash talk of Sexy Rex, I'm not sure there is a more hated team in football than NE. There maybe, but I'm not sure there is. But the fact remains that these Patriots, despite flaws, is a tougher team that any of the past 5 incarnations. Especially the previous 3. More after the jump.
2007-Did not finalize the deal. I'm sure there are some who would disagree. But looking back now, there is no way a team who had been caught cheating should have won the title that season. It would have been bad for everyone. And yes it hurt like HELL to watch it all go down. But with clear thinking, it would have been even more embarrassing to the NFL if that had happened.
2009 team- Unstable. Tom was coming back from knee surgery. Was sharp at times but skittish in the pocket too. Limited in weapons. Wes Welker and Randy Moss were the only reliable targets he could throw to. Ben Watson, Chris Baker, and Sam Aikens were the other players on offense. None of these players are with the team now. And thankfully more were let go. The 09 team was the most unstable of Bill's tenure in NE. It was only right for them to get blown out at home. It made our coach go to work and lay the foundation for better things to come. He cleaned the locker room of several players who didn't bring the right mentality to his team.
2010-Too Young. Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and Devin McCourty were all youthful and wise acquisitions to the Patriots. Things had come full circle. Or so I thought, and now we would see how things would materialize! And beyond my wildest hopes and dreams, the team went 14-2. But these guys weren't Patriots yet. There were some players on the team who had been hunted. But not the young ones. Unfortunately they truly became Patriots in the loss to the Jets in the Divisional playoffs. But the humbleness of that loss has set the stage for this season.
2011-Ready!!!!! You know as much as we talk about Tom being a possible MVP. I think both Rob Gronk and Aaron should be co-MVPs of the league.
I like the toughness of this team. I knew it is this point of the season that they will be judged by. It took me some time to get over the loss to the Jets. But I got over it. But it also made me see that if the Patriots used that as motivation, they would be a better team. I knew coming in that this season would be rocky. I knew that they would have to cut themselves free of different things that would plague them. And I knew some of the fans would feel like the end was near. I never felt like they couldn't do it. Anxious and excited, YES! But doubt no.
Fact is the Green Bay Packers were US yesterday. That was NE last season. Aaron Rodgers had too much time off. He didn't play against Detroit in the final game. 3 weeks is a long time not to play a football game. And he looked like it. Truthfully, I had the Giants beating Green Bay anyway, because they had played them before. The Giants wouldn't be intimidated by them at all. But I have the Giants losing to San Fran.
As always, I invite wisdom and constructive criticism. Thanks.