WHO NEEDS TO STEP UP?
- The New England Captains
- Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels
- Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia
The New England Patriots are the only team in the NFL with seven Captain’s. This week they have their work cut out for them to get the Patriots players to buy-in and put in 60 minutes of effort on Sunday.
Effort–or the lack thereof–on Thursday night in the 4th quarter is not something seen often on a Bill Belichick coached team. Normally it is the Patriots with the mental fortitude to put teams away late in the game.
Whether this is a Super Bowl hangover, a rare example where the team rest on their laurels, or the team lost some Swagger and intensity when Dont’a Hightower and Danny Amendola left the game with injuries, it is on their leadership to make sure it does not happen on Sunday or anytime soon.
Another problem on Thursday night was the play-calling on both sides of the ball. It almost seemed that instead of taking what the defense gives them, the Patriots failed to adapt and make the necessary adjustments.
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The same applied for the defense. The Patriots stuck in a dime defense and were reactive to the Chiefs offense rather than imposing their will. They allowed the Chiefs to dictate the matchups and left players who could have helped on defense on the sidelines.
New England stuck with safety Jordan Richards most of the game playing a linebacker role. That left actual linebackers such as David Harris, with 10 years of NFL experience, On the sidelines for all but two snaps during the game. Elandon Roberts, who looked like an emerging player last season, had just nine snaps on defense.
New England needs to get back to what worked on both sides of the ball. just like in 2014 when they came out with strange offense of line combinations and started a rookie defensive end at defensive tackle, the Patriots seem to be treating the game like it was still the preseason.
The Patriots turned their season around and won the Super Bowl despite that bizarre opening season loss to the Dolphins. They need to use that season as an example and stop getting pretty and getting back to what works.