The 40-9 loss in the third preseason game to the Detroit Lions will serve the team well. Of course, going into the game you’d never want to admit this, and you would never plan for it.
There have been several articles about the game with a positive spin on them, and here is another one. If this were the regular season, such a game would be a disaster, although it could still potentially be a catalyst to awaken or spark a good team.
The absolute best thing that came out of this game was that no one appears to have been seriously injured, other than possibly Cory Grissom. Grissom did limp off the field to the locker room in the second half. There hasn’t been an update on his condition, but he’s unlikely to make the roster regardless.
All of the problems the team experienced are ones that can be corrected. They were a bit over matched by the powerful Detroit defensive line. Yet the team was able to move the ball fairly well regardless. The turnovers did them in. Also, when the team can get a guard into the line up to play right guard in place of Will Svitek, who normally plays the tackle spot, they should improve quite a bit. Svitek was burned many times.
Also, not having Danny Amendola in the line up potentially hinders the team against a big pass rush as he is the ‘go to’ guy on hot reads so far for Tom Brady.
Kenbrell Thomkins, who had a pretty good game, also dropped a ball put right on him by Brady that killed a drive. So, between the mistakes, turnovers, and starters not playing, its apparent the Patriots would fare better in a rematch.
Another fantastic happening in this game was that Tom Brady did not come out to start the second half. Typically, in the third preseason game, Brady will come out for the first drive of the second half. Wisely, given the flow of the game, he was kept safe on the sidelines.
Suffering a loss and making so many mistakes also gives the coaches a chance to re-establish the core principles and values they preach. Any players that may have been feeling a bit too confident, or any players that might have been taking a play or two off won’t be able to tune out the coaches messages about the level of commitment it takes.
The young players and rookies certainly needed to see how the veterans and coaches deal with a defeat and deal with adversity. Experiencing this now in the preseason is a valuable lesson that should help them avoid a performance like this in the regular season. Regardless, it will show them the mindset and the process the team goes through after a loss.
We also didn’t have to suffer through the pain of watching Tim Tebow fail to complete a pass. I’m a Tebow fan and I firmly believe he can be a successful NFL quarterback. He’s already proved that in Denver. But he’s been struggling mightily while learning the offense and it was hard to watch. I think he’s performed so poorly that he won’t make the roster. The team has good players at positions where they need the depth a lot more so than at the quarterback position.
The final thing that was pleasing about that game was seeing the defense step up. Overall it was an average performance at best, but early on, when all the turnovers were occurring, they did hold up well. That said, the safety position is of great concern. Although Devin McCourty got back on the field to bolster the safety position, the other safety spot looks very shaky. No one is performing consistently.
Overall, given game three of the preseason is supposed to be a dress rehearsal for the regular season, it was a very disappointing performance and outcome. Yet if you break down the game, it’s not nearly as bad as it appears.
In fact, this failure is exactly what a team needs early on. The road to success is not traveled in a straight line. To succeed at anything, one sets out on his journey, and has many set backs and failures. Only the fortitude to learn from the failures and the persistence to keep working daily in spite of those failures, does a team have success.
Based on that perspective, it was a great day at the office for the New England franchise.