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Quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots’ win over the Redskins: New England still has a lot to improve

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A quick look at what needs to improve to put the Patriots over the top.

New England Patriots v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The New England Patriots crushed the Washington Redskins on Sunday to remain unbeaten this season. Even though the score shows a blowout victory, and the second half was a pretty clear domination, there are still some concerns coming out of this game.

Pass protection

Marshall Newhouse was downright awful, and Marcus Cannon didn’t exactly cover himself in glory either. This is an issue that the Patriots need to get a hold of. Tom Brady had that one terrible red zone interception, and it was a direct result of pressure. It looked like Newhouse was lost in space on the play, and just didn’t know who to block.

Isaiah Wynn isn’t eligible to come off injured reserve for a few weeks still, so the team needs to figure things out. Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia had Newhouse looking like a new player with good technique early on in his tenure as New England’s left tackle, but Sunday was a big step back for him. Keeping Brady upright is the key to winning for the Patriots, and keeping him healthy is even more important than that.

Receiving corps

We’ve harped on it, and talked about how the Patriots don’t have enough help and need more weapons. Antonio Brown gave a big boost to this offense, and that’s something it has missed since he was cut. Phillip Dorsett II getting hurt thrust Jakobi Meyers into a bigger role, but he is just not open consistently enough. Once again, they have help potentially coming off IR, in the form of N’Keal Harry, but he’s a rookie who won’t be coming off for a few more weeks.

I would love to see New England target a receiver through a trade before the Week 8 deadline. Minnesota Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs is a name that people have understandably thrown around, but I have my eye on someone different: Emmanuel Sanders is on the final year of his deal, and playing for a terrible Denver Broncos team that is going nowhere despite just registering its first win of the season.

After having only one reception on Sunday, he has 24 total in the first five games of the year. I would happily give up a third or fourth-round draft pick for Sanders. Even if it’s not Sanders, look for the Patriots to make some sort of move to shore up this banged-up unit.

Kicker

This is probably going to be a consistent problem the rest of the season. First, Mike Nugent missed the extra point on the Patriots’ first touchdown, and then, still trailing 7-6, Belichick went for it on fourth down instead of attempting a relatively short field goal. Nugent settled down, hitting all two of his field goal attempts and three extra points, but this is going to be something to watch all year long.

If the extra point situation becomes worse, would they consider going for two every time? The statistics go in that direction over time, but it doesn’t feel like something that Bill Belichick would be comfortable with.

I realize that I just spent an entire article talking about the problems the Patriots have and are facing. I also understand they’re still undefeated and just won 33-7. All that is true, but the goal isn’t to be good and make the playoffs, the goal is to be dominant and win another Super Bowl. It’s incredibly tough to do it, especially with the other talented teams in the league, but it’s even more difficult if you don’t address possible glaring holes in your team.

I’m still optimistic about this team, though, and the defense has been amazing, and so much fun to watch. But I’m going to keep looking for them to improve every week, because I don’t want them to be great, I want them to be perfect.

Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast

Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats