New England Patriots: Additional Thoughts From Win Over Vikings


Shortly after the New England Patriots won their first game of the season yesterday, I posted my four biggest takeaways from the game. But, as always, you can never have enough analysis regarding the Patriots, so let’s go for one more round:

1. Rob Gronkowski limited

Gronk was only on the field for 41.7% of the offensive snaps yesterday, as the Patriots continue to ease him back into game-action. The Pats cannot afford to lose Gronkowski to another injury this year, so they are widely taking it slow, making sure he is 100% healthy when the bring him back into full action. He is slowly getting that great connection with Brady back, and in a few more weeks, I think his body will be completely healthy, and his chemistry with his quarterback will be back to 100% as well.

2. Turnovers

Through two games, the Pats have forced seven turnovers, and only turned it over twice. One of the biggest statistics in football is the turnover differential, and New England is off to a great start, particularly the defense. On paper, this secondary looked like it would be one of the best in the league, and they look the part on the field. Once Brandon Browner is added to this bunch, they are going to be scary.

3. Devin McCourty proves he’s elite

When analysts talk about the best safety in the league, they generally talk about Earl Thomas, and then everybody else. But I, along with so many other Patriots fans, believe McCourty deserves to be in the same conversation as Thomas. His coverage skills are on par, if not better than Thomas’, he is a great leader, and his range is better than any other safety in the league. His interception was a key turning point yesterday, as it kind of woke the Pats up from their week one state.

4. Special team steps up

After a rough opener in Miami, New England’s special-teams unit had a very good game against the Vikings. Chandler Jones’ ridiculous block and return will receive all of the attention, but Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, and the Patriots’ coverage units all had excellent games. Hopefully they can build on this positive note as the season progresses.

5. 200 for Belichick

Bill Belichick addressed this after the game, but I think we should take a step back and appreciate how good Belichick really is.

200 wins.

That is just ridiculous, and it further cements Belichick’s place among the greats. I personally feel like Belichick is the best coach to ever do it, but obviously that is based off of personal opinions. Regardless of where you rank him all-time, us Pats fans need to appreciate what we have, not only with Brady, but with our evil coach genius. He will be gone one day, and there will be rough seasons ahead. Let’s enjoy Belichick while we have him.