It's no secret that things aren't exactly wonderful in New England to start the 2023 season and it's not just the fans that feel that way; the team is as well, and they're not hiding it. It was a noted atmospheric change by the media after the team's second loss last Sunday, with most players remaining silent at their lockers instead of being eager to speak about the game.
Although the Patriots went home with losses to the Eagles and then the Dolphins, the performances in both games were vastly different. The circumstances remained the same, as they played from behind fairly quickly, but how the team performed collectively the rest of the way was not similar whatsoever.
Unfortunately, that applies to both sides of the team despite the defense being the more dominant unit.
Their overall performance against the Eagles wasn't expected to be positive. After key offensive linemen could not play, and rookies would be in their place, the weakest part of the offense had many anticipating a really weak game. But they outperformed all expectations and looked impressive for most of the day, and then just one week later, with those two starters back in the lineup, played the complete opposite.
The same can be said of the defense, who came out swinging against the reigning NFC Champions but looked unprepared in week two.
That's what seemingly prompted Matthew Judon to speak on the current state of the team after their loss to the Dolphins last Sunday. Before taking questions from the media, he addressed them with an honest opening statement.
"I know we lost. I know it looks bad when you start (0-2). But this is not a bad team, so don’t get to asking those kind of questions. We’re going to speak matter of fact, but I don’t think we’re about to hang our head up here or in that locker room.
When we come back on Monday, tomorrow, and we watch this film, we’re going to get our corrections corrected. And when we come back on Wednesday, it’s not going to be able, ‘How are y’all going to pull it together?’ We already know how."
He discussed what the team needs to be better at moving forward, mainly playing how they have in the second half, which is much of the reason the Patriots have lost by just one score. He emphasized how difficult it is to play in this league, and they've only made it more difficult on themselves by having to play from behind.
Although some may not like what he said because they simply disagree that they are a talented team, Judon is not wrong with his assessment.
These two games were very winnable for the Patriots, and had they not played from behind, minimized turnovers, and didn't allow their opponents to score off those turnovers, the games would've been a lot different. That may seem like many things need to change to get them the win, but it all comes down to self-inflicted issues that led to their struggles, not because their opponents outmatched them.
Now they face another test in week three, as they play another divisional opponent when they visit the New York Jets on Sunday. Offensively, they're a much different team with Aaron Rodgers sidelined for the rest of the year, but their defense has proven to be no joke and will likely make Mac Jones and the offense work even harder than they have so far this season.
But Judon isn't concerned about that and assured reporters that the team is not going to give up or let anyone walk all over them.
"Something’s got to happen. Something’s got to give. We’re not just going to be a pedestrian team that lets people score on us, and we don’t score. We’re going to bow up. We’re going to have a backbone."
Hopefully, we will see a better overall performance this week, bringing some more optimism to the doubters who believe the Patriots' season is already over. The rest of the season will not be any easier, so it would be the most ideal to work out the wrinkles now before it gets too late.