On a day in which Patriots’ family business was being settled all over the league, Godfather style – Jets imploding, Polians getting fired in Indy – talk on the local airwaves was again how the Patriots SUCK at drafting, and how their 13-3 record is fraudulent because they didn’t beat anyone with a winning record. (Maybe the Patriots should’ve dropped one to the Jets so they could say they beat a winning team?)

Welcome to the New Year. Same as the Old Year.

If you’ve got any common sense, or just actually like your team, you’ll avoid sports radio and television as much as possible over the next two weeks. There won’t be much deviation from the story line, no matter who they end up playing on January 14th.

Let’s be clear, the Patriots have something to prove. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Maybe we can talk about what they need to do to be successful, rather than simply telling us over and over again that they’ve done nothing yet.

Let’s look at some report cards from Sunday’s game.

Making The Grades – Bills at Patriots – Jeremy Gottlieb has the Patriots playing with fire early, then catching fire.

Report Card: Brady, Belichick lead the way – Kirk Minihane hands out grades for both the Bills game and the entire regular season.

Patriots report card – Ron Borges opens with the line about not beating a team with a winning record. Of course, New England played seven games against teams that went 8-8, and won them all. The reason those teams don’t have a winning record is because they lost to the Patriots.

Hector Longo’s Two-Minute Drill – A rough first quarter for the cornerbacks does them in.

Patriots Center – ESPN Boston has their grades.

Patriots report card Game 16 – Put your own grades in on Boston.com.

Waters is the unsung MVP for Pats – Bill Burt has a column worth reading on Brian Waters, and his perspective on the Patriots after so many years in Kansas City.

Steelers, Bengals loom as playoff probables – Jonathan Comey looks at the three possible opponents. Glen Farley has more on the possibilities.

On bye, time can really fly – Shalise Manza Young looks at what balance the Patriots will attempt to strike during the bye week.

In position to prosper – Ian Rapoport looks at the experiment of putting Devin McCourty at safety, and whether it will continue.

Greg Stiemsma gets confidence boost – Chris Forsberg looks at the Celtics rookie center, who has opened a few eyes with his play. Steve Bulpett has Stiemsma’s teammates very happy for him. Paul Flannery has more on the shot-blocking rookie.

Shame on Comcast SportsNet for foisting this on us on Sunday night:



26 thoughts on “Worst. 13-3. Team. Ever.

  1. Packers finished with the worst defense in NFL history, statistically, yet they are viewed as a juggernaut. All those names (Woodson, Hawk, Raji, Matthews, T.Williams) on D and they are actually worst than Julian Edleman and company. Why doesn't anyone talk about this?


    1. because to talk about it means admitting you are wr…wro…wronnggggg! ($1 internet dollar to the Fonz). I don't understand why it is so hard to say…I am wrong…the best two teams in the league each have defenses that give up a lot of yards…lets look at why….maybe they are not so bad…maybe the opposing team is taking a lot of risks because they know they have to score a ton of points to keep up. I doubt Buffalo thought NE would drop 49 unanswered points on them once they had the 21 point lead. I doubt Detroit thought scoring in the 40's against Matt Flynn would still not be enough.


  2. Never knew the Pats got to pick the teams they play each year. No wonder why they didn't beat anyone with a winning record, they picked all cupcakes.


  3. The thing that annoys me most about the "winning record" argument is that they are taking the end-of-season records as the data point, not the record at the time the games were played. I'm pretty sure that both the Jets and Broncos were over .500 (and both playing well at the time) when the Pats beat them. How they end up afterwards could even possibly be a factor of the drubbings the Pats handed them, in fact. Just another case of "facts" being twisted to fit the agenda…


    1. Mike Reiss talked about this today in his Q+A on ESPN, I think (one of the pieces). Coming in, it was 15th (so middle of the road). Truth is that they have NO control over it at the end.


  4. Was waiting for this..

    Kinda funny right after Bruce tweets out the link for the article, you get some descent news:

    @MikeReiss: Sign that things are good in NE: While coaches/GMs are getting fired across NFL, we are talking deferring the opening toss.

    This new "Zenyatta" approach is … entertaining.

    With the regular hosts back at all our favorite targets, it's interesting to see not what you're missing but more along the lines of those not on the radio/TV with regular spots bring or don't bring.

    Anyone see the Alamo Bowl? Hoodie must be ready to draft each of their defenses (Wash/Baylor).

    New CSNNE graphics for SportsTonight (assume this is #2/#1 produced show on there). Like the change. Looks like they finally got the memo that the recycled jingles whatever local studio oversold to them are lame and the graphics-heavy "ESPN" (and FOX) approach works. Kudos to CSNNE in their aggressive push to make a good network while NESN is still flatter than the rear tire on Haynesworth's 10speed.

    With how it looks like CSNNE is taking this ludacris-speed approach to win the local sports coverage here where they can, what I wonder is when they're going to seriously evaluate the talent choices. A few of us left comments on the threads with radio/TV musings but I do wonder with how hard NBC/Comcast is pushing to really challenge ESPN, if they start taking that approach to both hosts and analysts, including the regional networks. There are definitely good people here but if local outlets like CSNNE (moreso NESN) continue to just be talent funnels for bigger and better ventures, instead of retaining talent, they'll hit a tipping point with growth.

    On the photo, it should be a photo caption contest (maybe get Ira/Giant Glass to sponsor it?).

    And, listening to F+M yesterday, they quoted an article that called their show out but I didn't get the source. Which one was it? They also mentioned "DA" as being a serial offender of being bigger fans of the Jets drafting strategy than the Pats.


    1. I believe the article was by Jerry Thornton of BarstoolSports. Of course, Felger being his usual D.B. self, mocked everyone for finally lasting longer in the season than the Jets. Childish comebacks to defend his premise. If we want to go there, when's the last time the Jets won the Superbowl Felgahhhh??

      In other news, Tony Mazz says everything sucks once more.

      I also like the Patriots didn't play anyone argument. They played the NFC East, considered the best/most competitive division by most year in and year out (except this year when the Pats play them). The played the Colts (Manning injury, normally a tough game) Steelers, Chargers. Over the last 5-6 years, those 3 teams have been their biggest competitor, outside of Baltimore?


  5. "Of course, New England played seven games against teams that went 8-8, and won them all. The reason those teams don’t have a winning record is because they lost to the Patriots."

    This is such a great line. I have nothing to add.


  6. The article they were referencing (and then using to bash the Patriots) was from Barstool Sports.


  7. The only person missing from the photo is Paul Christoforo.

    Had the unlucky experience to walk my dog with one of the talk radio believers. It's sad. We don't have a DC and Belichick has awful drafts; getting a knucklehead TE with a history of health/neck problems and another one who is a pot-head (thanks Weasel Breer for the reminders). Drafting the Kent State QB was also a waste along with that weirdo from Romania – the list goes on…

    The local media does ruin things anyway they can – outside of maybe 2003 (where most of the debate was the parade route before the Super Bowl) they generally love planting the seeds of paranoia. No thanks. It seems that for many it is the hype that's interesting but to me I'm okay because I just love the games and for two weeks we get NFL football on Saturday and Sunday. Ho-hum.


    1. The draft/personel stuff is hysterical. First off the cap does matter as much as Felger does not think so…if it didn't then the Jets would gladly cut Holmes and the Colts would not be worried at all about cutting Manning and drafting Luck. Second…having a strong middle class allows you to weather injuries. For example the Pats clearly have 8 -9 NFL caliber OL's. They also have the same on the DL so when Carter goes down Anderson steps up and no beat is missed (Congrats to Mark Anderson for getting to 10 sacks giving the pats 2 players with double digit sacks for the first time in years). Look at the linebackers…they lose Mayo and Spikes and Fletcher for parts of the season and White, Niko and Ninkovich all step in and play roles…they just do their jobs. Is there any doubt Brian Hoyer can lead this team if something happens to Brady? The Pats plan for contingencies. They respect and demand flexibility. For these reasons the sum of their roster is much better than the parts. Go ask the NY Jets, Philly Eagles, Washington Redskins, or the Indy Colts which strategy they would be better served using.


  8. So I was out driving around this morning for work and I caught the beginning of both the EEI midday show and TSH midday show…what struck me was the philosophical tone of both shows. It was clear all 4 hosts wanted to hammer the Pats because their defense is the second worst in the playoffs (of course both shows mentioned it was the worst before being corrected by texters). However, they also were trying to be careful in light of what is happening to the Jets and Indy. They were trying to come to grips with the fact that Bill Belichick is not the awful talent evaluator/drafter they want to label him as because year in and year out the team wins the division and gets to the playoffs. There have been no fall back disappointment seasons in BB era other than 2002. Have the Pats hit on every pick or evaluation…absolutely not. But Gresh of all people came the closest to explaining why the Pats are successful every year and a team like Indy or the Jets isn't. He was so close I was actually cheering for him to get it right. He said BB finds players he can coach. He does that at the expense of "better" players who don't take coaching. What Gresh did not say but what is the second part of the story is that coaches like Rex Ryan or GM's like Bill Polian (or actually Scott Polian) are too afraid to admit a mistake so they allow problems to compound.

    When BB saw Randy Moss becoming a problem…production or lack there of be damned he was sent to Tennessee. When Rex Ryan saw Santonio Holmes was becoming a problem he gave him a Captain's C and hoped he would mature. When after week 8 he saw that was a mistake…he kept Holmes (because they gave him a lousy from the teams perspective) contract and were hamstrung. The Colts got into the same mess with Manning. There is no way…none…nada…zero…zip…zilch that Andrew Luck is going to sit and wait for Peyton for 3 years. Why should he…its not like Peytons brother Eli was willing to go to SD. Likewise Irsay would have to be the dumbest man on the planet to give Peyton coming off of 3 neck surgeries $28 mill in bonuses before the draft on the hope he can get 3 more years out of him. Polian was unwilling to say…thank you Peyton for all you did, enjoy the rest of your life the Andrew Luck era is about to begin…as such he is now out of a job. BB would have moved on from Tom Brady in heartbeat were the situations the same…just ask Drew Bledsoe or Bernie Kosar.

    What the mediots in town don't understand is that admitting you are wrong is not a sin…more importantly…admitting you are wrong and doing something about it is a good thing! You can only feel comfortable doing that if you have security in your job. The problem is most people in professional sports when they get that security get complacent…the reason why BB is the best…and why I said Gresh almost got there…is because he has never gotten complacent.

    Lastly, regarding the defense argument in the playoff. If the Pats defense makes 5 stops the Pats will win. meaning they are not needed to pitch a shutout. They just have to give the Pats offense 5 extra tries to score…because most likely they will. This is what GB, NO and the Pats are all banking on this playoff season. The game has changed…video game numbers are now the norm. SF has probably the best defense in the playoffs. They could win it because A. Smith does not suck….but I doubt they will hold both GB and NO (or Detroit if they get by NO) under 30. So if SF is going to win…they too will have to score and score often. It does not mean they are bad on defense…it means the game is different and we need to look at how we evaluate each side of the ball. I don't think it is a 50-50 split any more.


    1. Yes, God knows what would have happened if they hadn;t traded down. Maybe they would have won the AFC East… or even had home field for the entirety of the playoffs. Maybe they'd have been able to avoid guys like Andre Carter and Mark Anderson, and instead spend $15m on the next Vernon Gholston. (Can't miss! Sure to have 40 sacks this year!)


      1. To be fair, George, I probably would have forgotten about the Jets already if you didn't spend Sunday afternoon peeing your Twitter pants about the Jets. "I bet the Jets get in." "Jets look good don't want them in." NOW you're telling me its NOT about the Jets? You have to be kidding me.


    2. George…I think I understand why I find the argument you made above so ridiculous. Its that you are so caught up looking at the trees (Dowling, Vereen vs some hypothetical what could have been) that you miss the entire forest (the Pats roster as it is constructed this year went 13-3). BB would tell you he has an eye on next year but right now he has to manage the players he has now. You can think going 13-3 is a negative…but the way I see it is they beat the teams they were supposed to beat which is better than any other team in AFC did. We have no idea if any move Bill made was a "huge mistake" because so far the team has kept on winning. What we do know is that the Pats got to the post season and set themselves up for the easiest run through the playoffs. Is that a guarantee of anything…no…but what else do you want…more style points? Different draft picks? You, nor me nor anyone else knows how to build a team like BB. Whose to say Dowling does not come back next year and become a stud. Maybe Vereen proves he is the better back…although Ridley looks like a great pick to me as do Solder and Cannon. In 2010 the Pats got both TE's, McCourty, Spikes, Mesko and Love. What more can you ask for? Oh wait I know…you want perfection and style points. You want a hit on every college player's evaluation. It looks to me like BB got 10 potential contributors (without counting Ryan Mallet) in the last two drafts and you are focusing on maybe missing a DL? Your "fact based reporting" is filled with supposition that I don't accept because I don't see it as any more plausible than what Bill actually did. I really think you are not seeing the big picture and it is causing you to not enjoy the games.

      PS. For the record…Mike Wright (who might be done forever) Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick, Jermaine Cunningham and Vince Wilfork are all signed past this year. The Pats had a lot of high hopes for Wright and were it not for the concussions this list would not look so bad. Carter and Anderson have both said they want to come back. Warren is on year to year contracts. I am sure there will be additions on the DL and a rookie or two added to the mix…but I will worry about next year when it comes.


  9. Yeah, this is getting criminal. Can we get a top ten most ridiculous articles bashing the Patriots?

    I just recently moved back to New England, and man, it is like another world here. Living in New York for five years, everyone looks at Patriots fans with unbridled envy, and with good reason. Yes, this defense sucks, but man, this is the most entertaining team we've had in years. I wasn't even worried on Sunday; I was just waiting to see how the comeback would happen.

    The angle I've been waiting to see is that whatever happens, these playoffs will be less painful, because the expectations have been managed, and you know its going to be a good game. I don't expect the Pats to win the Super Bowl, per se, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did, and hey, either way, it's been a seriously rewarding season.

    Call me crazy, but I'm proud to have the only coach in history with five 13+ win seasons, the greatest quarterback of all time (yeah, I said it), and a team that has reinvented itself more times than I can count. What are these jokers gonna say in twelve years when Coach X is 7-9 with quarterback Z? Will their columns just be a string of symbols? Blacked out words? Screaming noises?


  10. anybody else laugh today when tom brady gave callahan the eff you when he asked the question about knowing what happened the past 2 playoff appearances?? brady – "two different teams, has nothing to do with the games coming up…its very pointless to talk about something that happened a year ago"…hahaha couldn't have been said any better…wow.


    1. In a previous discussion, where the topic of "professional athlete interviews", this topic came up. A few of us, including me, wondered why SportsHub didn't edge WEEI for the paid Pats spots (Hood and 12). The threat/discussion evolved to where the topic of paid athlete spots were even worth it.

      After hearing quite a few, including on WFAN/ESPNNY, I've come to side on the more worthless than not–and, this has nothing to do with the team or the Pats media policy. I don't see anything gained out of them. When they do their normal media availability, as mandated, I think you have enough good beat writers and reporters there to get what you need, no?

      To tie into your comment, I've never seen D+C as good interviewers and feel its used more as a bragging tool to "competition" that "they have Brady and you don't" (even though its paid). I have no clue what they pay but it's free on Patriots.com and the Globe/Herald/ESPN/etc do a good recap.


  11. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Gresh has been somewhat reasonable over the last few weeks, that is about the Patriots.

    The State house needs to pass a law banning those two from talking about the NBA.


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