I'm guessing the majority of you are annoyed with how this team has been playing these past two weeks. Now I'm not really sure to begin with this so I guess I'll just start by saying that there is no need to worry about the 2012 Patriots. Infact, you should remain more optimistic about this year's squad than last year's (Phillip Adams who?)
This team is getting there. They aren't at their prime just yet but think of them kind of like 'the little engine that could.'
Remember last year how the Giants suffered various losses? And embarrassing ones at that. These early losses better this team to make a Superbowl run after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Right now, we're still trying to figure out this team's limits. I fully expect there to be that Sunday after Thanksgiving, when the 2012 Patriots are all on the same page and they will know their identity. Only then, can they put together a Superbowl run.
We have our challenges to overcome.
Aaron Hernandez's temporary loss is huge. But we all know that. But what else?
Julian Edelman has been taking over some of Wes Welker's snaps in these first 3 games. Why? I believe that Bill Belichick is looking to find out what he has in Edelman. Can he provide what Welker provides? If he can, why should we bother paying Welker what he is asking when Edelman can do it for cheaper? Why should we then even have Welker at all? (There are rumors that the Patriots may be looking to trade him before the deadline in late October.)
Where has Ras-I Dowling been? I wish I can give you an answer but he rightfully deserves the No. 2 spot across from McCourty on the field. Arrington has weak coverage skills, and he can't make plays on the ball.
"But he had tied the league-high for most interceptions last year!"
Yes he did, but a lot of those came from tipped balls and what not. Not based off of instincts and natural play-making ability.
Dowling is a physical, and athletic corner with all the necessary intangibles to make this secondary great. He has the potential to be a lock-down cornerback. Just as McCourty does.
Speaking of McCourty, how did he fair last night against the Ravens? McCourty actually played a pretty good game. Except for a few miscues and missed tackles. He held his own. Arrington did not. And he needs to be replaced if this secondary intends on getting better.
The running game. Where was Ridley? Ridley is more of a physical, between-the-tackles type back for the Patriots. Woodhead is the quick, change-of-pace back. It was obvious within the first quarter that the Patriots wanted to be quicker on offense and catch the Ravens defense off guard. But Woodhead ran poorly. And part of it was to do with poor run blocking. (Haloti Ngata) When Shane Vereen gets back, expect to see a lot more of him than Woodhead.
The pass rush. We generated one quarterback hit the entire game. (Credit: Kyle Love) Not good. And because of that, Flacco was able to pick apart the secondary. Ninkovich has been awful these first 3 weeks. Chandler Jones was indeed actually the Patriots best pass rusher last night. If we can find consistent pass rush upfront, and dominate the trenches. That game would have been ours.
The refs. We can't sit here and complain about the refs but I do believe that they are the reason we lost this game. They were just terrible and you could see it from the emotion on Belichick's face and through his actions. These replacement referee's are a danger to the players. They are unaware of what is legal and what isn't. Something needs to change soon.
In the end, there is a lot of promise with this 2012 Patriots team. Don't frown over two lost games. They will get better and have the tools to put together a Superbowl run. In Bill We Trust.