Former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry was critical of the New England Patriots' team-building approach in 2013.
In explaining his viewpoint, Angelo compared the Denver Broncos' approach with the Patriots' plan.
"When you have a great quarterback, you need to give him as many quality receivers as possible, regardless of where they are aligned on the field," he wrote, using Sulia so he wasn't limited to 140 characters. "... When you look at New England, the strengths of their offense was their line and running backs. When you break down Denver, it was their tight end and receivers.
"I believe, if you don’t have an elite QB, you build your offense the way New England did, from the inside out. Protect the quarterback with a good offensive line and run the ball. A large part of your passing game is going to be based off run action. On the other hand, if you have a quarterback who sets the standard at his position, you built it around him from the outside in, meaning with top-notch receivers.
"This is where New England calculated wrong. Brady is an elite quarterback, and they handcuffed him with talented but unproven receivers. ... My point: New England missed the mark and Denver hit it."
Angelo then explained further.
"New England’s problem is they fell in love with their system. A fatal mistake for successful coaches. I said Bill Belichick did one of his finest coaching jobs this year and I know it. I’m a great admirer and would agree with Bill Cowher when he said that Belichick would go down as the greatest coach in football. But in this case, his thinking was misguided.
"This shows you regardless of how great a coach is, if his philosophy isn’t applicable to the strengths of his personnel, then it’s unsound, not in principal, but in relevance to his personnel. And in football, the labor force starts with CEO of the offense, the quarterback."
This would seem a logical criticism, but in truth it is void of many facts.
First the Patriots have invested heavily in surrounding Brady with good talent, unfortunately, that top talent this year was supposed to be Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
Second tier to them, was supposed to be Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, and Steven Ridley.
This is where the Patriots put their money and draft picks, with expected dividends this season.
Their crop of drafted WRs: Dobson, Boyce, and Thompkins, were likely expected to be little more than support cast, to the players noted above. Not the primary targets for Brady to go to after week one.
If the Patriots had all five of those players healthy and performing well throughout the season, I think the outcome of 2013 would have been different. This team was one failed Red Zone visit in Miami, or one poorly officiated Jets game, or one picked up flag in North Carolina away from having homefield advantage in the AFCCG… despite all its flaws.
How does one hold Belichick responsible for Hernandez being a serial killer, or Gronk needing multiple surgeries and suffering multiple injuries? How can you hold him responsible for Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola being made out of glass?
It doesn’t make sense. Lets also consider who was available to them in FA… unless one wanted the Patriots to grossly overpay for a hyped up Wallace, what options did they have?
Perhaps one should consider that in the last two seasons, the Patriots have brought in about a dozen other TEs to try and build depth, and find a compliment to what they already had… before they came face to face with the issues their star TEs had in 2013. Other than Ballard, who perhaps they released a bit too quickly, the players they brought in just weren’t worth hanging onto… and did little or nothing elsewhere once the Patriots cut them loose.
At WR they tried Brandon Lloyd in 2012, this year the FA options were even less savory, one could say Amendola was one of the better options available, which tells you plenty.
The only thing you can hold the Patriots to task for, is poor drafting priority, if anything.
I would (and have) argued that drafting ANY running back before the 5th round of the draft, in the last half decade, is a waste of a pick. HALF of the best backs in the NFL weren’t even drafted… which means its easy enough to find a Blount, BJGE, Woodhead, etc. without spending a top pick.
Instead of drafting often-injured Vereen, or fumble-itis Ridley with 2nd and 3rd round picks, the Patriots could have maneuvered to draft Phil Taylor to play beside Vince Wilfork, or grabbed pass rusher Jabaal Sheard, or added TE Kyle Rudolph to the mix to overload Defenses even more, or drafted Torrey Smith.
Drafting RBs seemed foolish to me then, and considering it has been players like BJGE, Blount, and Woodhead that carried the load at least as much as who they drafted… hindsight doesn’t help any.
I would definitely say, that who and what they target in the draft, often leaves a lot to be desired, and at times in the past 10 years or so, they have really screwed themselves with less than ideal decisions… leaving some solid prospects on the board, to go after players that seemed destined to be busts or weren’t at all "need" positions.
And while they have vastly improved the past few drafts… I still look at the 2011 draft and go ‘what a waste’ with Ras taken too early, and RBs taken at all, compared to what was available.
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