Big media outlet got one thing right, one wrong about the 2024 Patriots

Your need stars, you don't need a "rebuild"
New England Patriots OTA Offseason Workout
New England Patriots OTA Offseason Workout / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The New England Patriots 2024 situation is looked at in different ways. Some talk about a “rebuild.”. Others may not think that's a good idea (hand-raised here). Whatever you think, the season will be approaching fast and you only play the game in front of you.

One major media outlet, NBC Sports Boston, noted in a podcast (see below) the Patriots will need several top-flight players to be a contender again. They are spot on about that. You can’t and won’t win without them. Great and really good players win games. Depth in mediocrity doesn't.

Additionally, they seem to think the Patriots team is in a necessary “rebuild” mode, which is where they went off the rails. Forget that business. Teams win or lose only the games next on the schedule. There's no next season, etc., there's only now. Let’s explore both viewpoints.

The Patriots absolutely need top-flight players

NBC Sports Boston asserts that top-flight, aka All-Pro-level players, are needed to compete for the big prizes. They're right. All the Super Bowl winners have had several top-level NFL players, without exception. If you don't have them, you're not winning one.

Rarely, one transcendent player can make up for a lack in great supporting players, but even a
Tom Brady can’t win by himself. There must be a supporting cast with at least several superior additional talents.

Looking at the current Patriots roster, one can argue that perhaps three or four are on hand. One, however, is a rookie, quarterback Drake Maye. Without his performing at an extremely high level, there is no hope whatsoever. That's why not playing Maye as a starter is, well, a non-starter!

In addition, Matt Judon is a superior player, and as noted by NBC, perhaps Christian Barmore and Christian Gonzalez, and, an opinion here, maybe even the emerging Keion White. Yet, there are questions about these actual best or potentially top players on the Patriots because of injury or inexperience.

Realistically, only a remarkable effort by Drake Maye, starting from the outset, accompanied by surprises at left tackle and with the rookie receivers, can give this Patriots' roster a chance at winning. There are way too many questions. But one never knows. It depends on Drake Maye.

The idea of a Patriots’ “rebuilding” process is a fantasy

A misinterpretation presented is that extended rebuilding is a process the Patriots must undertake, and it just takes time. In that respect, that's correct. It will take time if you feel that you have to rebuild over multiple seasons. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Rebuilds are an illusion. Any doubts? Ask the Jets, Lions, and other NFL teams who've embarked on “rebuilds” that fail, then additional “rebuilds,” each of which fails. The only certainty of that futile strategy is potential job preservation for the executives who can persuade their befuddled owners to buy into it.

There's only one season, one game to play, the one next on the schedule. Nothing in the future is guaranteed. Injuries and free agency, among other pitfalls, are always looming. You can count on one thing only: the next game is an opportunity to win. Nothing else is guaranteed.

This is what those high draft picks and a supposed boatload of money to spend should have meant to the 2024 Patriots. You go all-in this season, because there isn't any other one. That's all there is. The Patriots failed at that this offseason. Grading their offseason as an A-, is frankly, laughable.

Their grade was a weak B-/C+, only because Pats’ personnel chief, Eliot Wolf, drafted Maye and offense almost exclusively. His free agency efforts were farcical. His failure to either sign or draft a true left tackle is an unfathomable, amateurish omission that will likely crush the season before it begins.

Additionally, he failed to spend money to get Maye (or whoever the quarterback was) two top-level offensive players in free agency. One was a left tackle, and the other was a No. One wide receiver to supplement their solid defense. Maye is talented enough to deliver a winning season if he’d been given those two top players and an offense tailored to his skills.

Unfortunately, Wolf’s mistakes of omission have probably doomed the Patriots' season into what’s predicted by some: a race to the bottom for the 2025 first draft pick overall. Nothing is ever certain, but a few key moves might have changed all that.

The hope is that Maye emerges as a star from the get-go. It might happen, but he’d have had a far better chance if Wolf had done his job better. He didn’t, and it looks like he's engaged in a longer-term “rebuilding”. If so, it’s a loser’s mentality, and expect another last-place finish for the Pats in 2024.

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