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Ugly loss signals that the Patriots are still a work in progress

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots came into this game with a lot of new pieces, but not a lot of depth. In the offseason, they added Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore, Rex Burkhead, and others to the defense. Perhaps the one element we as fans never truly considered coming into this game was the time it would take for the team to gel. It’s not a question of if, but when. Despite a strong first quarter, the Patriots for most of the game looked like a team trying to figure out their identity on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs had an easy time moving the ball while on the other side the offense struggled to connect.

We flashback to the 2014 season, the last time the season started off like this. The Patriots added Brandon LaFell, Darrelle Revis, and Brandon Browner. That team took 5 weeks to completely gel, a 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs perhaps spark-plugging the team to come together thanks to the worst week of media hot takes. Considering how that season ended, I don’t think we’ll see as many this year although there will be people stupid enough to write that garbage.

The Patriots lost an ugly game to the Chiefs. Let's break it down.

Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Thursday, September 7, 2017

Long term, there is little reason to worry about the Patriots and their Super Bowl hopes. The Patriots still have one of the top coaching staffs in the NFL, despite whatever opinion you hold on Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia’s play-calling. When the team meets again next week we can expect some lowlights, Belichick humiliating players for plays they let happen or didn’t make. Perhaps Brady will be the first in line to get it.

This is somewhat of an important week for the Patriots because starting 0-2 is never ideal although I won’t rule the team out from Super Bowl contention even with two September losses. As noted in the postgame pressers by both Brady and Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots perhaps played with a bit of a lackadaisical attitude to this game. Usually when the Patriots play these type of games, it usually ends with their butts getting kicked up and down the field.

Now there are some positives to take away from the game despite what Brady said. The Patriots in the early going were able to march down the field on their opening drive. Brandin Cooks had an overall positive game, although the chemistry between him and Brady is still not there yet. James White ran the ball fairly well this year and looked like the same player we saw in the Super Bowl. Mike Gillislee looked like the player we thought he’d look like and scored 3 TD. The offense at the end of the season will most likely Top 5 in yards, scoring, and my Power Rankings sheet for the year. It will just take more time than usual for the offense to click like in 2014.

On the other hand, the defense wasn’t very good and broke down once Hightower left the game with a knee injury, which fortunately looks like it won’t be season-ending. Even when Hightower was in the game, the defense had a different signal caller with Kyle Van Noy getting the green dot. With a lot of new faces on the defense, they will also take time to gel. It’s too early to call this defense a bad defense with a one-game sample, even with how poorly they played.

Not only do the players improve over the course of the year, the coaching staff does as well. The offensive and defensive play-calling wasn’t good in this game, some of that due to personnel issues at WR and LB. As the coaching staff figures out more what this team and can’t do, the play-calling will also get better. The 2017 Patriots are far from a finished product.