New England appears stuck in this abyss of being good enough to dominate the soft underbelly of the NFL but highly incapable when real, rugged football teams smack the Patriots in the face.
With that in mind, let’s take a peek at this roster and deliver final grades on what has to be considered – like the entire last eight years – a highly successful yet unfulfilling 2012 season.
The guy still cashes dividends of the Tom Brady selection back in 2000, so in one respect his job is easy. Look at the key moves. Brandon Lloyd was a solid addition. Can we find any others? Steve Gregory fit right in with the most mediocre of secondary units at safety. Aqib Talib, for a fourth-round pick, is perceived as the steal of the season. Was he? Yes, his presence stabilized a secondary that was reeling badly. We all saw them disintegrate without him Sunday. But was his impact perceived or real? New England was 6-2 in his eight games, falling to the only two real teams the Pats faced in that span, Baltimore and San Francisco. In two wins over the fraudulent Texans, he “held” Andre Johnson to 8 catches for 95 yards in each. Talib is now a free agent. Take the move for what it was.
Bill Belichick, Coach
Think about the fact that the San Francisco 49ers are heading to the Super Bowl despite going 0-1-1 vs. the Rams. Then realize that Bill Belichick has averaged 11.6 wins per season since getting here. The guy does not allow his football team to let down or take one week off. The Pats won 12 regular season games this year. Three of the four losses were by a total of five points. The other one was a one-score game in which the Pats spotted the NFC champion Niners a 31-3 lead and rallied to tie it at 31-31, before ultimately falling 41-34. As a motivator, strategist and field general, Belichick remains the best in the game … BY A MILE! But, you only get the A+ when you win a Super Bowl.