Having just returned from a honeymoon in Hawaii, I was a tad bit surprised to see just how much negativity and fear there was on the airwaves in New England.
It's as if the Red Sox community—typically filled with naysayers, pessimists, and those on the brink of psychological breakdown—has plagued the Patriots fanbase.
You'd like to think that a team and a quarterback which has been as successful as New England and Tom Brady, respectively, fans would rest assured.
Not so in New England.
One early season (week two!) loss to a hungry division rival on their turf is reason enough to cash in your chips. The fun is over with. The team isn't what it used to be. Tom Brady is clearly never going to be the same quarterback that he once was.
I'm mystified at the way this has played out on the radio and in the newspapers. Haven't we learned that the most important time to peak in an NFL season is in the closing weeks? Or are you that satisfied with a 16-0 regular season and a mediocre playoff run that we saw in 2007?
Sure, to obtain a first round playoff bye, a team now needs to seemingly win 12 or 13 games, and losing in week 2 can jeopardize that effort. That much I understand.
But just one year removed from witnessing Peyton Manning struggle for the first half of the 2008 season, due to overcoming a similar (and less serious) injury, it's trivial to think that Tom Brady will instantly return to the 16-0, record-setting quarterback he was in 2007.
Toss in the fact that Brady is throwing to some new targets in 2009, with whom he has never worked, and you don't see a perfectly functioning offense on the field.
On a side note, it would appear that all of you who under-estimated Jabar Gaffney's importance and effectiveness can now shut your mouths. No more complaining about his dropped pass VS Indianapolis in 2008. None of it.
(Writer's Note: For BHL's correct analysis of Jabar Gaffney's importance to the New England offense, please see BHL's 2008 Jabar Gaffney article.)
And to those of you looking to throw in the towel on Joey Galloway's career due to two unproductive weeks, give him time. If things go as one would expect, and it takes him time to adapt and get on the same page as Tom Brady, he'll be a decent contributor in weeks 11 through 17. You know, when it counts the most.
Likewise, a defense in transition with a youth movement such as the Patriots are undergoing, cannot be expected to be executing flawlessly in week two. Correct?
Heading in to the week two matchup with the New York Jets, I had my doubts that the Patriots would come away with a win. Upon hearing they lost (I missed the game while in flight from Hawaii, but caught up on it upon returning home), I was mildly disappointed but not overwhelmingly surprised.
It's week two. I'd rather see them beat the Jets in week 11 in Foxborough. Wouldn't you?
Keep your heads up, fans of New England. It's a 16-game season, and peaking in the first quarter of the season is immaterial.
Bill Belichick and the team will progressively get better as the season moves onward, they'll win their 12 games, and we'll see what happens in the playoffs. Until then, relax and control your emotions.