We're officially at the mid-point of the Patriots' 2011 season! That being said, over the course of the next few days, we'll take a quick look at several aspects of the team and leave it to the Pats Pulpit community to grade the Patriots in each category. At the end of the week, we'll put together a post tallying the results.
Tonight, we're going to conclude our midterm grades series by taking a look at the Patriots coaching in the first half of the season.
Coming off a 14-2 season in 2010, there's no question that expectations were high in New England this year. While the Patriots faced a very tough schedule in the first half of the season, many, myself included, were expecting a 12 or 13 win season from this team. However, the Patriots are currently 5-3, on a two game losing streak, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is possibly under the most scrutiny he's been in since winning his 3rd Super Bowl Championship.
In many ways, I don't think all of this scrutiny is justified. There is still a lot of football to be played this season and the Patriots weren't in all of that of a different situation last year when they were 6-2 halfway through the year coming off a very ugly loss to the Cleveland Browns. Yes, Bill Belichick, a supposed "defensive mastermind," has the NFL's worst ranked defense in yardage, but he is dealing with a really depleted secondary and a defense that has, in many ways, struggled to transition to the 4-3.
Nonetheless, there have been some bothersome moments this year that have really bothered me from a coaching standpoint, with the game against Pittsburgh being the prime example. Despite the fact that tight end Heath Miller was going unchecked up the middle of the field and catching a pass seemingly every other play, the Patriots refused to make any kind of adjustment. I've also been skeptical of some of the team's coverage schemes this year.
Overall, the Patriots coaching hasn't been terrible so far this year, but it hasn't exactly been up to the usual standards of Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his staff. This team still need to improve, and if Belichick and the staff can turn this ship around, they may earn a much higher grade at the end of the season. Tomorrow night's game against the Jets should be a telling factor.
Greg's Grade: C+
Feel free to discuss your grades in the comments section!