Should We Be Worried About The Patriots Playoff Chances?

No, this is not clickbait. This a a serious question. Some have said that the New England Patriots dynasty is over. Some say you shouldn’t invest your time in this team anymore. Are those folks right?

There’s a 41 year old quarterback they say. There is in fighting between Brady, Belichick, and Kraft which is apparent. The WR core and linebackers on paper look like they are no good. This team can’t do the unthinkable right?

The unthinkable would be to miss the playoffs. Not even make it to the big dance. The only way that theory would even enter my brain was if Brady was injured for the majority of the season.

I can reason with the concerns of Patriots fans. This WR core is being compared to one of the weakest in the Patriots history with Brady on the team. Compared to teams like the one in 2006 which featured Reche Caldwell as their top passer catcher. Chris Hogan is a far better wide receiver than Caldwell isn’t he?

Hogan is certainly not your stereotypical number one WR but with Julian Edelman coming back in Week 5, Hogan is the best we have. Just because Hogan is the #1 WR on the depth chart in the first four weeks, doesn’t mean I would expect the Patriots to use him heavy as a one or a two on the field. .

Josh McDaniels is the next in line to be the head coach of the New England Patriots. That is fairly apparent, unless Belichick can develop another quarterback to succeed Brady after letting Jimmy Garoppolo go- who was the next guy.  To keep Garoppolo there is no way Robert Kraft could have traded Tom Brady because that is ultimately the only way that scenario would have worked. The Patriots were not going to be the team to set the precedent of having two quarterbacks in Brady (the one who would have the contract) and Garoppolo (the one who would have to be franchise tagged) to make 45 million plus on their roster. Not a snowballs chance in hell.

Eric Decker announced his retirement yesterday and it can be agreed upon that his best days are behind him. Plus, he wants to spend more time with his wife and family so that’s not a bad proposition either. This does make me pause even more though.

For all the air I pumped into Chris Hogan’s tires, I still don’t think he’s a great option as a number one wide receiver in the first four weeks. He is a number three (typically a slot guy) being asked to be a number one. Following Hogan on the wide receiver depth chart are Cordarrelle Patterson, Phillip Dorsett,  Riley McCarron, Devin Lucien, Braxton Berrios and special teams ace Matthew Slater. That is not a core of wideouts to write home about.

I have faith that Brady can make it work. The Patriots will have to use a lot of two tight end sets with Gronk and Jacob Hollister in passing situations. Also, James White is a great pass catcher for a running back. I’m not saying the Pats will be “fine” for the first four games but they will either be 3-1 and 2-2 which doesn’t mean anybody should hit the panic button at that point.

Defensively, the Patriots have their weaknesses as well. The linebacking core comes down to Dont’a Hightower‘s health because without him we don’t have much there right now. Elandon Roberts and Kyle Van Noy are the ones to seem to have the most experience (terrible albeit) but look out for the rookie Ja’whaun Bentley come out ready to roll regular season time.

In the secondary, Stephon Gilmore (cornerback) and Devin McCourty (safety) are the headliners. I don’t mind Patrick Chung either because he tackles hard but in coverage he is not great. It will be interesting to see the final depth chart that will be produced for the secondary in the regular season and beyond.

I don’t think this is the year Tom Brady falls off a cliff. He hasn’t been as dedicated in the offseason but when the lights come on there is no one I rather have out there. He is the flame that lights the ignition and his flame will burn bright in the 2018-2019 season.

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