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20547Fwd: End Of An Era?

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  • George Richman
    Sep 13, 2013

      Despite the good fortune of coming out of the gate 2-0 with painfully close victories over bad teams, a lot of people are pronouncing the Patriots dead after seeing their offense play like a bad Pop Warner team throughout both games. The loss of Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez, and Danny Woodhead, for various reasons, has, say the naysayers, destroyed the team's chances for this season, and, perhaps, for the limited years remaining for their aging future Hall of Fame QB, Tom Brady. I'm not ready to give up on them that easily. 

      Yes, the challenge is one of awesome proportions. Lying ahead this season are the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, much improved Cincinnati Bengals, two games with the also much improved Miami Dolphins, and rematches with the two teams they just squeaked by, the Bills and Jets. Can this "no offense" team have any chance of getting through that gauntlet? Here's how I see it. 

      The question is clearly whether or not the "Kiddie Korps" of receivers can develop quickly enough to make them contenders this season. TE Zach Sudfeld, WR Aaron Dobson, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, and WR Josh Boyce all showed great skills and promise throughout the preseason. All of them have looked almost totally lost and/or jittery in these first two games, when they've played (Dobson missed game 1, and Sudfeld game 2 with injuries.) 

      Typically, WRs don't play very well in their first season in the NFL. Many who have become very good ones were ineffective as rookies. The problem for the Patriots is that this "Kiddie Korps" is essential to the team's success for this season. They don't have the luxury of letting them grow one at a time, as is usually the case for rookie WRs on most teams. Getting 3 of them, plus a TE, tossed into the NFL fire in the same season is, I believe, an unprecedented challenge. 

      Belichick will certainly be judged harshly if this season blows up in his face. But I'm not ready to give up on it yet. And I'm certainly not ready to give up on the Patriots. Even if the young WRs cost them this season, which, at this point, must be acknowledged as a strong possibility, I believe these kids have enough talent to become a great receiving corps at some point in the near future. Of course, Brady doesn't have that many seasons left. But I'm sticking with this group, plus the soon to return Gronkowski, to bring the Patriots back to their former offensive greatness within a year or so. Their era has NOT passed! 

      But, yes, that Patriots red white and blue heart that I wear on my sleeve (as most of you know) will be beating like a base drum over the next few weeks, as I hope for the much needed epiphany, and resulting success, of the "Kiddie Korps". If that happens, we will be seeing the Patriots in the playoffs again this season. And, if this team does make it to the playoffs, and manages to win at least one game in that tournament, Belichick, Brady, and the entire team will deserve a loud round of applause from all NFL fans. 

      --- George
      Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

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