Man, I’ve never written so many of these in a row before.
But yet again, here we find ourselves. The Patriots are sitting at 2-4, right there in the bottom third of the league, and a lot of folks aren’t really sure what to think. But fear not - as always, I’m here to take some of the sting off. Here are five more positives we can all take away from this recent loss as we all do everything we can to finish out this godforsaken year.
Young guys getting reps. This is a very young team with a lot of inexperienced players that are expected to be major contributors in seasons to come. And the vast majority of those guys are getting meaningful reps in games, either due to injury, a lack of roster depth, their overall performance, or a combination of all three. Even when you aren’t winning games, you want to see players progressing - and while it’s tough to put a shine on the turd we all watched on Sunday, we are seeing young guys make strides and learn the intricacies of the NFL. That’s a huge plus.
Each game is it’s own thing. Usually, October brings with it the whole “team is starting to round into shape and is getting ready to start playing its best football” narrative. This year, though, October brought with it a very distinctive “this team kind of sucks” vibe. Because of that, we can all keep looking at each week as a sort of mini-season in which you aren’t thinking about how this particular game will impact getting the #1 playoff seed, but rather whether things are looking better than the week before. And that’s kind of fun, to be honest. I’m feeling absolutely zero pressure this season and have the chance to just enjoy each game as it comes. While I wish the on-field product was better, each game being it’s own thing is kind of nice.
Turning point. The Patriots are either going to get it together or they aren’t, as they can’t play much worse than they did on Sunday. The season isn’t over by a long shot, and how the team reacts to this latest string is going to go a long way towards what kind of mental toughness they have and who the real sideline leaders are. It’s easy to be a leader when you’re winning, but when you lose an entire month’s worth of games and don’t have any real structure to your year...that’s when the real leaders emerge. So let’s see if the team uses this past month as a turning point for the season.
This could be the norm. Starting 2-4 is how maybe 60% of NFL teams find themselves every year. For some teams, a 2-4 start represents a huge step forward from last year. There may be some Patriots fans out there who need this reminder of just how good we’ve had it in the 21st century, and this is that reminder. Think about Jets fans who have been doing this every season without fail. Think about Falcons fans who would be living with the fact that every loss they have this season was a game where they completely blew a lead. Just be glad that this isn’t the norm in Patriots Nation.
It’s 2020. Nothing makes sense. There’s no sense of normalcy. This is just kind of the way it is in 2020, and in a year where the entire planet is upside down, it sort of follows that the Patriots went winless during a month they usually dominate and look like a mess at every level. If anything, I’m taking it as a good sign.