As Bill Belichick and staff are currently preparing for the Buffalo Bills, it falls to me to send you their annual Christmas wish list. As you know, things haven't quite gone that well this year, but these gifts would really bolster the spirits of a disheartened team.
(As a reminder: thanks to the magic of video surveillance, Coach Belichick knows when you're sleeping, awake and violating elf labor laws. Capisce?)
1. A Pass Rush. Yes, Saint Nick, the team certainly could use one of these. In the past few weeks, they've made Drew Brees look god-like and Chad Henne look, well, competent.
Why, you may ask?
Because they had enough time to drop back in the pocket, look for receivers, complete a crossword, fill out their taxes (and they had plenty of deductions) and browse Wikipedia for famous people who were born on their birthdays (Jon Bon Jovi? Who knew?) before a Patriot came within five yards of them.
Even Matt Moore had the time to find a few wide-open receivers. Thankfully, he missed them by about 20 yards, but the point stands.
2. Randy Moss' heart. Father Christmas, if you could track down the evil voodoo priest who went all Temple of Doom on our troubled receiver, we'd appreciate it.
I know Moss has a reputation for quitting on lousy teams, but this is a team that (believe it or not) is still leading the division. Is it too much to ask that he run solid routes and secure the football?
3. Tom Brady's vision. We know Tom likes Wes Welker. We all do. He's gritty and scrappy and all those other things sportswriters like to write about because they don't know how to write stories about players who aren't gritty and scrappy.
But there are other players on the field, too. Randy Moss can catch the ball. Ben Watson can catch the ball. Sam Aiken and Julian Edelman seem game to try.
And we know (because every announcer tells us ad nauseum) that Brady think Wes is open on every single play. Sometimes he's not, though, and sometimes he's running a five-yard route when it's third and 10.
4. A new offensive coordinator. Santa, you know that you shouldn't call a stretch play when our lineman can't hold their blocks. You know that throwing to the same receiver every down isn't the best idea. You know sustaining drives in the second half is the best way to protect and build on a lead.
Why doesn't whoever calls the plays for the Pats know these things?
I know, I know... criticizing play-calling is the lowest form of fan complaint. Still, it's not a good thing when every second-half possession goes: unsuccessful run, incomplete pass, complete pass to Welker for three yards, punt.
We noticed old friend Charlie Weis is available. So what if he wasn't great running a college football team? God created college football to make pro ball seem even better in comparison. Put a bow on ol' Charlie and express-mail him to Foxborough.
5. More generous opponents. If you could impress upon the Pats' remaining opponents (the Bills, Jaguars, Texans and any possible playoff teams) that it is better to give (turnovers) than to receive, that'd help so much.
And all that giving would be good for their souls as well.
Oh yeah, and 6. Peace on Earth , 7. Goodwill toward men , and all that other stuff, too.