Maybe this Tom-Brady-doesn’t-get-any-help-and-the-Patriots-don’t-have-any-weapons argument can finally be put to sleep after tonight’s 43-21 thrashing of the Broncos. The Patriots do have weapons. In fact, they have lots of weapons. To begin with, they have the best tight end in the game. In fact, he’s uncoverable. He’s one of only two players in football who are open simply by the fact that they are on the field. The other is Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The Patriots also have arguably the best pair of cornerbacks in the game in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Their defense boasts 6 first-round draft picks (not including Jerod Mayo, who’s on the IR), 2 second-round picks, and the aforementioned undrafted Brandon Browner at corner. That is a bevy of talent.
Fans and the media in New England have been complaining about the Patriots not building up a team around Brady in his final years. What they haven’t realized is that Belichick has been doing just that right under their noses, only with a greater emphasis on the defensive side of the ball. This is, after all, the formula that helped the Patriots win 3 Super Bowls in 4 years over a decade ago (although many seem to forget that). It’s also the formula that has turned the Patriots into arguably the NFL’s best team halfway through the 2014 season.
Do the Patriots have the best receiving corps in the game? Absolutely not. However, the last time I checked, a good receiving corps is not a prerequisite for a championship football team. In fact, it’s pretty low on the priority list. What the Patriots do have on offense, besides one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game, are two good receivers in Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman who fill specific roles. The Pats have a versatile and speedy running back in Shane Vereen who can make plays in the running game, as a receiver, and is difficult to cover 1-on-1. In Tim Wright, they have a joker/tight end, someone who creates matchup issues because of the speed he possesses for his size. They also have that previously mentioned monster of a tight end Rob Gronkowski. Not only does Gronk dominate when he gets the ball, but he also has the ability to draw so much attention that it leaves other players in favorable 1-on-1 matchups.
The Patriots specialize in finding players to fit various roles that make them a more versatile team. It’s all game and matchup specific on both sides of the ball. On offense, New England doesn’t have that traditional 100-catch 1,500-yard superstar at wide receiver, and to most, that means they don’t have any weapons. This is a ridiculous notion that the “experts” continue to push.
Most importantly, the Patriots have Bill Belichick, who is probably the best game-planning coach in the history of the game. He is by far the best head coach of the last 25 years and absolutely one of the best head coaches in the history of the game. It’s about time that experts started considering that a weapon.