After a loss to the Denver Broncos Sunday, some adjustments are needed for Belichick and his team. Luckily, it is yet to be December. A month where the Patriots typically thrive and get their identity together. In addition, December football is also where the more crucial games happen for positioning in the playoffs. These adjustments need to take place before December.
Down field passing adjustments
It’s no surprise that the Patriots lack a deep threat. And although Julian Edelman is in my eyes a future hall of fame player, he’s in the slot. New England lacks a guy who can go up and get the 50/50 passes. Screen passes and other short yard plays have been in the repertoire of New England.
So far this season that the Patriots struggle to get 20+ yard plays on offense. To solve this problem they’ll need a new addition either by free agency or trade. Luckily, the trade deadline is in a few weeks.
Changes to Rushing Defense
This issue is partially due to the lack of offensive production. The defense is on the field pretty often. Leading to the opposing offensive team to run the ball effectively. Because of the Patriots elite secondary, their front line hasn’t been too effective against the run. Last week Phillip Lindsay ran for 101 yards. And against multiple teams, they’ve given up over 100 yards on the ground.
Because of this, the Patriots should play more man to man. As a good secondary defense, the Patriots should rely heavily on them. Playing a lot of blitz on multiple downs can force teams out of their comfort zones. Last week the Patriots forced two turnovers in the secondary. The backs and safeties are fine, time to worry about the front five.
Lack of 'go-to' players
This may not be as much of an easy adjustment as the others. The truth remains, the Patriots don’t have a player they can rely on. In week 2 against Seattle, the Patriots were a yard away from winning the game. Instead, a failed run by Cam Newton handed the Patriots their first loss. Last week against the Broncos, the Patriots went for a 2 point conversion in the 4th quarter but failed once again. Cam Newton is either not an X-Factor down the stretch or maybe the only one on the team.
The Patriots need to start giving other guys on the team a chance. Julian Edelman is not targeted nearly as much as he should be. Especially in the 3rd and 4th & inches plays. If no trade is made for the Patriots, somebody on the team needs to step up considerably.
Even at a rocky 2-3 start, the Patriots still have a few weeks to get things together. They’re now 3rd in the AFC East and face San Francisco next week. Although their schedule will get easier as the weeks go on, December will be here soon. Adjustments are crucial for their playoffs hopes to be made.
Featured Image Via Pats Pulpit