For Patriot Fans, Time Heals All Wounds...or Does It?

Mike AllenCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2009

MIAMI - DECEMBER 06:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws an interception late in the game while being hit by linebacker Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins at Land Shark Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 22-21.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Well, it's been a couple of days now since the Patriots' disastrous defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins. For me, it took a couple of days for the sting of that game to wear off. 

Well, not entirely, but time is supposed to heal all wounds, or so I have been led to believe.

In either case, as bad as the day turned out to be, with the Patriots losing for the second time in a row, and equaling their total number of losses (five) that they incurred last season with Matt Cassell at the helm, one other thing stood out.

It happened on Monday morning when I perused the sports pages of the local newspaper and turned the page to the NFL standings.

Lo and behold, there it was, plain as day and staring me right in the eyeball. In fact, both eyeballs: The New England Patriots were still in first place in the AFC East Division.

Yeah, I know, they are only in the lead by one slim game instead of the two, or three, that we thought might have been possible at this juncture of the season, with only four regular season games left to play. But be that as it may, they are still in first place, with the other three teams looking up at them.

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It is they that need to catch the Pats, not the Pats needing to catch them.

And with only four games left in the regular season, two of them at home, they still have their fate in their own hands. Win the games they would be expected to win, especially the two home games, and they are in. Lose, and...well, we won't discuss that yet.

I still have faith in this team. I believe they are far better than what we have seen in recent weeks. 

There has been a lot of blame tossed around, from Brady, to the defense, to the offensive line, to the officials, and who knows, maybe even to the cheerleaders. Nah, forget that last one.

I, for one, have my own thought. And, honestly, it is not a pleasant one.

Sure, the players are the ones that need to execute. They are professionals, and as we have seen, have great talent. A team that can put players like Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and others on the field, all at the same time, should be capable of scoring a lot of points. We have seen that in the past.

So what is stopping them from doing it?

I believe that the problem lies with the coaching staff, all the way from Bill Belichick down to the bottom rung of the coaching staff.

We know that Coach Belichick has made several wrong calls in bypassing a sure three points and attempting to get first downs on fourth down plays.

In my opinion, he is vastly overdoing it.

The game in Miami is a prime example: He went for the first down inside the five yard line when he could have had an automatic three points, points which, as we now know, would have turned the game around from what we saw happen.

I also think he is worn out, washed out, or whatever, because in the last four or five games, he reminds me of one of those zombies in the Night of the Living Dead movies.  He just looks like he's not there.

But the bigger problem, again in my opinion, lies in the hands of the offensive and defensive coordinators.

Now, I know that the Patriots do not have an "official" offensive coordinator this season, but for the most part, it appears to be Bill O'Brien that is calling the plays.

In either case, the play-calling, and lack of second half adjustments by the offense, have been no better than high school level. In fact, maybe not even that high.

This team is being handcuffed by its own coaching staff.

Defensively it is even worse. And yes, I know that we have a young squad in the defensive secondary, but that is not the problem.

The problem defensively lies with Dean Pees, the defensive coordinator. Pees has been a weak link, a very weak link in the fact that his defensive game plans are soft, and they have very little, if any, aggressiveness to them.

His soft defensive schemes have turned opposing quarterbacks into superstars.

This team has four games left, all which are winnable. If the coaching staff is going to continue to deal bad hands, then this team will not make it to the postseason.

I equate it this way. Poker has become a big sport, if you can call it a sport. You can see these world championships of poker on ESPN all the time. They are supposed to be the world's best poker players.

But, no matter how great a poker player one may be, he is only as good as the cards he is dealt. Deal him bad cards, he will lose. You can only bluff your way once or twice.

Same thing with football teams. The best players in the world will not win if they are being dealt bad plays by their dealer, the offensive and defensive coordinators.

Just like bad cards will not win in poker, bad plays will not win in football.

With four games left in the regular season, this team can still emerge as a strong postseason contender. They have the talent; all they need are better deals from the dealers.  

Like I said at the beginning of this diatribe, time heals all wounds, and mine are slowly healing. But believe me, I can't take another hit this Sunday. 

That wound, if it happens, may take longer to heal.

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