New England Patriots Links 2/15/12 - 2011: One of Belichick's Best?

2011 may have been one of Bill Belichick's toughest coaching challenges of his career.

Mike Reiss notes Greg Cosell, the executive producer of NFL Matchup and a senior producer at NFL Films for 31 years, calls the 2011 season some of Bill Belichick's finest work.

"It can easily be argued that Belichick did one of the best coaching jobs of his career this season," Cosell writes. "I broke down every game on tape, ending of course with the Super Bowl. It struck me as I finished reviewing all my notes that New England was not an overly talented team in 2011. What they achieved was remarkable given their overall deficiencies."

Cosell goes on to note one of the big deficiencies in the team's offensive attack -- the lack of a vertical threat.

"I understand that a more fortuitous bounce of the ball on 2 occasions could have given the Patriots another championship, but that only validates the point," Cosell writes. "This team won 15 games, and was in position to win the Super Bowl without a critical offensive component, one that every team covets and is necessary for a complete and multi-dimensional offense. The ability to overcome that deficiency was the result of outstanding coaching and elite quarterback play."

Then Cosell touches on the defense.

"Belichick made it clear just how poor his team was in the back end with his use of personnel. Matthew Slater? Julian Edelman? I know he’s utilized offensive players in the past (Troy Brown) with some success, but this year’s version was not genius, it was desperation," he writes. "My guess is Belichick felt the same way. ... The simple truth was the Patriots had a poor defense in 2011. We can blame personnel decisions but that’s a different conversation. They still had to line up and play with what they had, and the fact that Belichick was able to get this team to the Super Bowl was extraordinary."

Rob Gronkowski returns to the Twitter-sphere to thank his fans.

"Thanks for all the support too throughout my surgery! Grinding everyday to get back & already excited for what next season brings! Love ya!"

"Shout out to all #Patsnation and #Gronknation fans! Thanks for all the support throughout the year! All of you are amazing!"

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