FanPost

Character Building Season

The Pats are 3-0 despite losing their 3 top play makers, who happen to be still injured. The Pats have shown some resiliency and despite lackluster play are 3-0. Now in the past few years we masked our flaws with huge blow away wins, but never were tested during the season. Having a tough schedule and gutting out some games is just what the Pats need. Last few years it was too easy and they weren't playoff tested by the time the post season rolled around and folded when they got punched in the mouth. This year they have shown the ability to win when not playing well. The D stepped up for the offense and the rookies are getting lots of reps.. This way is the better way. It helps them mentally and physically. The fact that we have Gronk Ammendola and Vareen out is allowing valuable reps for the rookies, Bolden and Blount. Next week we likely get Gronk back, and yes he will look rusty and the press will jump in and say we have no weapons or Gronk is done, but a season isn't made in 3 games its a progression. We have seen it every year and the bonus this year is that the rookies are getting live reps while the play makers are out. The rookie receivers while having growing pains have shown great ability to leave defenders in the dust at the line, create separation, and get behind the defense all of which we haven't had in the past 3 years. Would you rather have a Dobson that has seen only 2 reps a game in the playoffs or one that has been asked to make the catch on 4th and 5. You ask me this team may not be the offensive Juggernaut of the past, but you are moving from old receivers to the new and they are getting reps. They have a hell of a lot more upside than Branch or Lloyd at their respective ages and perhaps for a change we won't see 8 men in the box come playoffs. The Defense is certainly better than last year and has kept the Pats in all the games while the offense was trying to find its stride. Belichik has been experimenting now that this D has had a full season together under their belt. We have seen a 4 2 5, a 3 3 5 this week and i am sure the complexity will grow as he sees what fits with what. We will be getting Gronk, Ammendola and Vareen back for the push for the playoffs, which will add a huge boost, but at the same time our rookies will be battle tested.

Our first real test comes the next 3 games one of which we will likely lose, hopefully not more. The Pats will likely activate Gronk for the Atlanta game and probably using him sparingly as he gets into game shape. I would expect to see him in the red zone maybe in a few series, but less than 50% of snaps as he gets his legs back. Whether effective or not his first game back, it will be huge boost and force defenders to account for him which will leave other opportunities. Keep in mind that teams have yet to have to double anyone and as you get play makers back the rookies will present mismatches. The also will have been battle tested.

If you ask me this is the most balanced team we have had since the Superbowl years. A defense that is showing promise, a decent run game and for a change some receivers that can get behind the defense. Rookies that are getting valuable experience while the D is being asked to carry the load. Baring more key injuries this team can make a nice progression and will have faced some quality teams. I know its nice to be up 31-10 at the half, but those games mask the problems and do not build character. What we are getting now is the building blocks for a balanced push into the playoffs. I also do expect the offense to hold its own as players get back on the field, but we need these smelly wins to get to the next level.

The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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