I feel like they need to expend all options and opportunities to build to win now.
First of all, the AFC is not going to remain as open for them as it is now. Any number of teams may be built to dominate by 2015... the Colts could continue to improve, the Steelers could rebound... the Texans could find a QB...
The one team that will likely be in the mix next season is the Broncos. But I will get to that later on.
The Patriots just took a huge blow, the loss of Pepper and Scar. Those two had as much to do with this team’s personality and success as any members on BB’s staff. No one is going to come in and do better than they did… which means we can’t expect improvement from seasons past, not in those areas… that’s not being negative, just accepting what will be.
They have plenty of players that are going to be hitting FA in 2015, a lot more than they have hitting FA this year. That is going to require some rebuilding no matter how you slice it… the Backs, the DTs, back-up QB, all will be turning over to some degree, if not totally. That also means there are a lot of players playing for a big/new contract next year, or are playing out their last year before retirement… which means added motivation to succeed and excel.
Brady isn’t getting any younger, and now the O-line is a question mark going forward, especially past 2014, when Scar’s influence and molding really wears off and newer players come in. Brady isn’t going to survive a McD ‘bombs away’ offense behind a O-line that can’t get it done… bolster it now with the best FA available, and hope it continues to function as it has for at least one more season.
Next season, I can see it now.
The Broncos will be going for the Repeat.
The networks will be touting the Brady – Manning Rematch.
Another win for Manning over Brady in the playoffs, and he will have wiped away all his past failures the way Elway erased all of his failures with back-to-back Championships.
They will also be touting the Retirement angle, as Manning will state he will ride off into the sunset if he gets that repeat.
The only way the Patriots avoid this script from coming true, is if they double down on this season, like the Broncos doubled down to build the Championship team they have now… bringing in Welker and Phillips and Manning to win NOW.
There comes a time when you have to push all your chips into the pot… the Patriots already have some huge losses on the staff to overcome… in 2015 they will have some huge player losses to overcome, and perhaps even more staff losses… and who knows what team will be on a meteoric rise in the future.
BB and Brady’s time is 2014… just like Manning’s time was 2013… I hope they feel that sense of urgency, the finality that is closing in on them and their very long run together.