A deafening hush fell over the Gillette Stadium crowd as Tight End Aaron Hernandez writhed in agony on the plastic turf, the victim of one of the cruelest and most unfortunate injuries a player could suffer. You’ve seen it a hundred times, a player blocking gets his leg rolled under. Sometimes they hop right up, sometimes they don’t.
Aaron Hernandez didn’t.
Play continued, and as the game wore on, the figurative dark cloud of despair formed over Foxborough, so dense and so imposing that the Patriots’ offense looked as if they were reduced to going through the motions, seemingly lost in that cloud, not knowing what to do or even, it seemed, what direction they should be going.
For the New England Patriots offense, it’s time for Plan B. Question is, Do they have a Plan B?
It’s hard to imagine that Belichick would go into this season of promise, this season of dominating their opposition with the largest lineup in the history of professional football, the season where Belichick gives the finger to every pundit that ever doubted his genius without a contingency plan…
…shades of Super Bowl 46, when the Patriots’ went into the game with mutant Tight End Rob Gronkowski on an ankle so damaged it that needed surgery in the off-season. Not having an alternate plan to accommodate that scenario caused the Patriots’ championship aspirations to erode into a last-minute loss and subsequent back-biting and bitching. Surely the Patriots learned their lesson and have their contingency plan in place?
They do. His name is Kellen Winslow.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Winslow and the Patriots have agreed on a one year deal. In signing Winslow, the Patriots are attempting to stay on Belichick’s preferred path of league-wide domination. He is an athletic specimen with obvious NFL pedigree and provides a skill set that allows New England to keep it’s Tight End-centric playbook intact while giving Hernandez time to fully recover.
There is still the concern of the perceived lack of mental toughness with the Patriots’ offense however, which is more of a concern than simply losing a player.
One can understand simple concern for their comrade. One can not understand, however, how a team with such a tenured and celebrated Quarterback such as Tom Brady, with the Boy Wonder of Offensive Coordinators in Josh McDaniels, with such a grizzled and stoic and seemingly unfeeling Head Coach such as the genius Bill Belichick could possibly lose their composure to a degree as to put on such a surprisingly dismal performance on Sunday, looking lost as the more versatile of their dynamic duo was out for at least this game, probably many more.
Having Winslow in for a cup of coffee in the preseason now appears to be a fortuitous move by the Patriots, as it allows New England to move forward without changing the dynamic of the offense. Hopefully for the Patriots and their fans, they move forward with the intestinal fortitude that we have come to know as synonymous with a Belichick coached team.