No matter what personnel a coach has at his disposal, being able to get the most out of your team in every aspect is the ultimate goal. Trickling up and down the Patriots organization is a philosophy of always putting the team ahead of any singular agenda.
Besides Bill Belichick’s first season as head coach, the Patriots have never finished worse than 9-7. They have only missed the playoffs twice since, and one of these “failing seasons” ended with an 11-5 record. Of the times that they made the postseason in this span, they have only lost their first playoff game once and have made it to the Super Bowl four times. The only Super Bowl they lost seems to be during the only time period of the Belichick era where the Patriots broke away from their philosophy.
Acquisitions of talent that included Randy Moss, Junior Seau, Adalius Thomas, and at the time Donte Stalworth, never seemed to quite pan out for the Patriots. The offensive approach became warped by Moss’ presence, and although it led to the most productive season at quarterback in NFL history, it didn’t lead to what that QB claims to be the only thing he cares about. A ring.
Of course, the troubles of the last few years cannot be pushed on a player like Moss, but there was a common playing style that led to the championships that vanished for a few years; a methodology that opposing teams just couldn’t solve.
In the past decade, the likes of Troy Brown, Kevin Faulk, David Patten, and Deion Branch made their names in the Patriot uniform. Brown, Patten, and Branch have all spent time on other teams and none of those stints have touched the production that they benefited from with the Patriots.
Many NFL and Patriots’ fans alike shook their heads upon hearing of the loss of Randy Moss. Now they sit back and laugh at the fallout from the situation in Minnesota, likely acting as though they knew it was the right decision all along.
It’s no coincidence that Moss’ trade indirectly led to the return of Deion Branch. Tom Brady loves him, he’s a fan favorite, and he has always kept his mouth shut and done his job. The organization has never placed it’s players at the center of attention.
Now at 6-1 and atop their division, the Patriots are experiencing a new influx of these players.
Flex RB Danny Woodhead, the undrafted second year man that was cut by the Jets in training camp; RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis, an undrafted third year player out of Ole’ Miss and 2010 fourth round pick turned top-ten tight end Aaron Hernandez have all made their names on a team that regardless of its low yards/game, leads the league in points.
Enough credit cannot be given to Bill Belichick and the Patriots staff who seem to be already turning the corner on a new generation of Patriots, particularly on defense.
Jerod Mayo and Brandon Meriweather help represent the backbone one of the youngest defenses in the league. The Patriots have also suffered their fair share of injuries, but in just a couple years they have now become much more opportune and cohesively mobile. The defense was clearly in a massive rebuilding year last season, and the Patriots still managed to post a 10-6 record. The quick turnaround has been impressive, but it’s hard to say altogether shocking.
Do I believe that the Patriots are once again Super Bowl bound? Maybe not, but there is no mistaking them as a contender. Whether you dedicate the success to the play-calling, one of the elite quarterbacks of our time, a time-generating offensive line, great drafting/an eye for talent, luck, or a combination of them all, the Patriots manage to consistently stamp themselves as a threat year in and year out in a league where it is extremely difficult to do so.
About the Author
Written by Zachary Stanley
By the end of the fall I will have obtained a Bachelor's degree from Ithaca College. I have been blogging for quite some time and am greatly enjoying my various responsibilities in this field. I am currently a Feature Celtics Columnist and a Featured Sports Contributor for two different sites. I am also a couple weeks from opening up my new blog site, CelticsNotes.com.