Patriots Front Office Failed the 2019 Team [OPINION]
Don't get me wrong. I'm still in awe of what the New England Patriots have accomplished in this century – two decades of brilliance and dominance despite the league's designs to pull down the elite and raise the bottom teams.
A perfect storm of events allowed for the greatest coach of our time and the greatest quarterback of all time to take the field together and work for the most successful team sports owner in Robert Kraft.
By now, every New England sports fan knows about how Kraft was smart enough to snag Bill Belichick away from the Jets, after getting to know him during his tenure under Kraft's first head coach in his ownership tenure, Bill Parcells. Parcells brought the Patriots to the Super Bowl during his time in New England, but it was Belichick who brought them their first trophy – and the next five after that, too.
But the brilliant strategist that every team wishes it had didn't do it alone; he brought in the tall, handsome quarterback that no other teams wanted but now all wish they had taken. Together, they've been to nine Super Bowls in 19 years, won six of them, and they've been to 13 AFC Championship games, won 11 AFC East titles in a row, and a total of 17 in those 19 years.
Yes, thanks for all of that, but this 2019 Patriots team lost to the last-place Miami Dolphins in Foxboro Sunday, costing them a first-round bye. As a result of the loss, the Patriots will be hosting the dangerous Tennessee Titans on Sunday. They didn't earn or deserve the rest they so desperately need.
Tom Brady threw a pick-six and this team couldn't recover. It was easily the worst performance of the year by the team. But this off-season and in-season performance by the vaunted front office, easily its worst in a decade, led to a lack of talent that had the Patriots losing that game before they even took the field.
After the departure of tight end Rob Gronkowski, New England failed to secure a quality catching tight end. When I say "secured," I mean they don't have one now because of their choices.
Thirty-eight-year-old Ben Watson is probably playing at 70 percent from his peak days. Jacob Hollister was on the pre-season team until traded at the end of April to Seattle for a 7th round pick in the 2020 draft. He has since caught more passes this year than all tight ends in New England combined. Oh, and they failed to sign Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph when a small window of opportunity presented itself.
They were left thin and untalented along the offensive line. Once center Dave Andrews went down due to a lung issue, Brady has been under attack more than a ham sandwich in the hands of a five-year-old at Horseneck Beach (big seagull issues there). Marcus "Saloon Door" Cannon and Marshall "Turnstile" Newhouse have been epically bad.
The wide receiving corps started out with a list of who's who and ended with guys who seemingly could be covered by Kevin James at cornerback.
Phillip Dorsett is only open when overlooked. While he looks like he could be the real thing, rookie N'Keal Harry is only playing in his sixth NFL game. Julian Edelman has the miles of a 1994 Ford Explorer with northern New Hampshire back road history. Mohammed Sanu plays abhorrently poor as a blocker which has caused major setbacks in many drives.
After rape allegations surfaced against superstar receiver Antonio Brown, Kraft was the one who fired Brown, not Bill Belichick. The owner who "doesn't ever make football decisions" made one, probably because of Kraft's guilt over women now knowing what he does in his private time, thanks to his ill-advised, high profile trip to the Orchid of Asia spa to an illegal massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida. There, Asian female workers performed sexual acts on certain customers. Oh, and there, police were filming every encounter, including Kraft's.
This arrest and scandal is something I think we can all agree has humiliated him more than he admits. He's had a pretty good image of being a cute, old, PG-13 lovable billionaire and that is never going to be how he will be viewed as again.
Brown has been found guilty of nothing as of now, and absolutely would have been the difference for this team. Kraft's intervention to appease his critics in this #MeToo atmosphere clouded his judgment and encroached into Belichick's role.
Brady is 42. Forty-two, folks. The strategy to have him throw away balls instead of hanging in there and taking hits is wise but has probably cost at least one win. Also, he is making more mistakes per snap that we just aren't used to. In fact, they confuse us. But–it's Tom. TB12. How could he do that?" Because he's 42, that's why!
We have all seen them do the remarkable, but I think the Patriots put too many unremarkable players on the field this year to do anything. Just for history's sake, I hope they get to the AFC Championship game.
For next year's sake, assuming TB12 comes back for one more, I hope they lose sooner than later, get higher draft opportunities and rethink the tiny window of time they have and load for bear. Let Brady walk out there with one last championship-caliber team. If anyone can do, it is Kraft and Belichick.
I just can't understand why they didn't do it this year.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at ken.pittman@