With the Eagles claiming the SuperBowl and shutting down Brady and Co’s chances of another ring, New England head into the off-season failing their own expectations. What needs to be done though heading into the 2018-19 season.
1. Beef Up Defence
One thing was clear when watching the Super Bowl: the Patriots defence lost the game. While Tom Brady had a legendary performance of 505 passing yards, 3 TD’s and a 28/48 completion rate. In any other game, this would win you a game. However, sadly, the Patriots defence was disgusting. Unnecessary double teams, poor athleticism and just inability to watch the routes saw the Eagles make first downs easy, which led to scoring drives. This may be acceptable for a mid tier team, and offense heavy playbooks may fit well in college, but in the biggest game in NFL, it doesn’t cut it.
With the exception of a few players, such as Gilmore and (possibly, maybe) Malcolm Butler, the defence is in need of improvement. Lack of athelicism allowed easy drives by the Eagles. The offense is strong, with Brady, Gronk, Edelman, Amendola and Gostowski. However, the Patriots will never win with poor defence.
Patricia has a great defensive mind, and with the possibility of Patricia heading to New York or Detroit, a great coach won’t cut it. They need their players to step up, rather than relying on the defensive play calling of Matt Patricia.
2. Prepare for the Post Tom Brady Era
Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and Father Time winning. For Brady, it may not seem this way. Staring in his 8th Super Bowl and winning his 3rd MVP at the age of 40, Brady shows no signs of slowing down. A few players battled Father Time and pushed him back: Peyton Manning, John Elway, and Joe Montanna. Yet, Father Time is still yet to lose. And sooner or later, it will beat Tom Brady.
Even if Brady finds a way to play for another year or so, they can’t rely on a 6th round draft pick to be there to carry the team. They need to start preparing for the future, and that starts now. Getting a young quarterback in the draft or signing an underrated backup (like Nick Foles several years ago), gives Bellicheck time to work his black magic and make the player into a star. It also takes the pressure off of Tom Brady to feel that he must continue to play in order for New England to contend.
Trading Jimmy Garoppolo may have seemed reasonable now, but losing a future star through a trade was foolish. Balancing egos would have been difficult, but this may come back to bite the Patriots when they’re left with an inexperienced QB trying to fill the shoes of Brady.
The Patriots are far from done, but if they want to raise the Lombardi Trophy in 2019, then they need to get to work. It’s now or never.