The past few days I have been reading numerous articles and blog entries about how the Patriots dynasty is done. Being a Patriots' fan, that irritates me in many ways. Not only because I am a so called "homer" but because I don't agree.
Yes this was a terrible season for the New England Patriots, if you are judging by the "Patriot way". Although winning the AFC East, a terrible performance in the first round of the playoffs kills everything this season had to offer. Stereotypical fans will look at this season and just remember the very sub-par performance New England put out against the Baltimore Ravens, but so many will forget all the adversity the team was forced to overcome.
Here is just a short list of all of the adversity New England had to overcome this year: Tom Brady recovering from major knee surgery, Tom Brady playing with a reported 3 broken ribs, Tom Brady playing with a "dinged" up finger, Wes Welker blowing out his knee right before the playoffs, a completely rebuilding defense with no leader, Randy Moss being critisized, and Fred Taylor getting injured and never getting into a rhythm.
Everyone must keep in mind all those challenges that were presented to the team had tremendous effect on the Patriots, especially on such a young secondary and a beaten up quarterback.
Now people say the Patriots dynasty is over. How so? The team is currently rebuilding a defense that will filled with veterans. The loses of Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, and Mike Vrabel were huge. Richard Seymour on the other hand, I think that he is very over-rated as a player, but a great leader. The Patriots' pass rush was not effected with the loss of Richard Seymour, it was effected by the loss of Vrabel and the poor play of Adalius Thomas.
If you think trading or parting way with those veteran leaders were a bad move, well you're wrong. All of those players were near contract years and problems would arise soon. Seymour would most likely ask for more money than he is worth, so the Patriots would of just let him walk in they hadn't traded him to Oakland for a first-round draft pick that will probably be very high in the first-round. Parting ways with Vrabel, that wasn't such a bad move either. I know Belicheck got virtually nothing in-return for Vrabel, but let's face it, he was slowly turning into two-down linebacker. Vrabel could of gotten hurt at anytime and New England would be stuck with a roster spot that they would have to fill by spending more money. I realize all of those players were tremendous leaders and faces in the locker-room, but to believe that keeping them was the right move, than you are drinking too much of the Belicheck Kool-Aid.
The Patriots are doing something that a lot of previous dynasties did not do; they are rebuilding. They're drafting more and more defensive players to rebuild a defense that was filled with veterans. Darius Butler, Brandon Merriweather, Dustin McGowan, Jonathan Wilhite, and Jerrod Mayo should all be stars in the future, but they need time to mature.
Seeing that New England had a "down-year" by New England's standards, but in reality, they had a successful year. No this year wasn't a "write-off", it was just simply New England had to get younger with a very old roster.
I can see New England being contenders next year, and for years to come with the young studs they are filling this roster with. It's just a matter of finding new leaders and executing.
And having Tom Brady under center for your offense, how can you write-off a dynasty so quickly with the two main pieces, Brady and Belicheck, still in charge?