Sunday, July 31, 2005

The end of the dynasty?

Before last season, only a desperate Jet fan could come up with reasons for the Patriots' dynasty to crumble. Some wondered about the effects of losing Damien Woody and Ted Washington and a few even made a big deal of the Patriots losing Mike Compton, Damon Huard, Antowain Smith. This year even loyal Patriot fans are looking at signs that the dynasty might be ending.
  • The loss of Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Roman Phifer, Keith Traylor, and Ty Law on defense
  • The loss of Joe Andruzzi and David Patten on offense
  • The loss of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel and not hiring a new offensive coordinator
  • The Richard Seymour holdout
People forecasting the demise of the Patriots do have more legitimate arguments, but I still don't think the Patriots will crumble. The Patriots will be able to handle the potential adversity listed above.
  • Losing players on defense: in each of the Patriots Super Bowl seasons, they had to deal with major injury problems. Unlike the seasons before, the Patriots actually have been able to prepare for these important losses. They drafted a corner, a safety, and a linebacker, they signed defensive backs Duane Starks and Chad Scott, and they signed linebackers Chad Brown and Monty Beisel. They've also been developing young linebackers that may be able to step in soon.
  • Losing players on offense: again, the Pats have dealt with this before. They've had third stringers playing on the offensive line against the best pass rushers in the game in the last two Super Bowls. I liked Patten, but they have plenty of replacements for him.
  • The coaching losses may be the biggest concern, but the Patriots have been expecting to lose Crennel and Weis for the last three years. I'm sure Belichick prepared for this.
  • I'm assuming Seymour will eventually play and if he doesn't, the Pats have good depth on the defensive line. I'm also not worried about the Patriots having a disgruntled player. When Lawyer Milloy was released the whole team was disgruntled, and they still managed to win the Super Bowl.
With all of the talk about what the Patriots lost this offseason, not enough is being said about the team's improvements, including:
  • The improved health of Roosevelt Colvin, Ben Watson, Rodney Bailey, Gus Scott, Ty Poole, and some offensive linemen.
  • Maturity and expected improvement from young players such as Watson, Scott, Eugene Wilson, Asante Samuel, Dan Klecko, Randall Gay, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Tully Banta-Cain, Marquise Hill, David Givens, and Deion Branch. I think it's safe to say that none of these players have reached their full potential yet.
  • Better depth at quarterback with the addition of Doug Flutie
  • Improved depth at wide receiver with the additions of P.K. Sam, Tim Dwight and David Terrell.
  • Improved special teams with the additions of Chad Morton and Tim Dwight.
  • Improved depth in the secondary with the additions of Chad Scott and Duane Starks, players returning from injuries, and a few draft picks.
  • The Patriots' draft class. Two years ago it was Koppen and Wilson, last year it was Wilfork. The Patriots usually have at least one rookie who becomes a big contributer.
The Patriots' future still looks bright to me, and I haven't even mentioned Tom Brady, Corey Dillon, or the coaching of Belichick. The best argument for the Patriots' dynasty ending is that a good run can't last forever and that their competition may be getting better.

Sure, I'm worried about the impact of the Patriots' losses this offseason, but I'm also excited about the weapons they still have and the weapons they may add.

1 comment:

Patriotsy2k said...

Good post, Alan. I like some of your points, and forgot about the addition of Flutie (for leadership), Chad Morton, Chad Scott - in the secondary, Gus Scott and Ben Watson returning, and the explosive possibility of Dwight and PK Sam returning kicks/punts.
Dont forget about Asante Samuel and Dan Klecko in the 2003 draft. What position does Marquise Hill play? I remember reading some stuff about him, yet am not too familiary with this guy.
Don't underestimate the loss of Weiss and Crennel. Even Sean Salisbury, a strong Patriot advocate, admits this. The biggest fear is that the offense will lose a lot of its creativity, and Belichik will be stretched too thin in his duties. Crennell worked very well with B.B., and had the full respect of his players. I also fear he will copy NE's system over in Cleveland, which will then start a chain reaction in this copy-cat league. I still will root for him, however, and might actually have to follow ND a little, also.