The NFL season is just four games into the regular season and the New England Patriots have quietly emerged with a perfect 4-0 record after one quarter of the season. With a vastly different roster this season, will 2013 emerge as Bill Belichick’s best job as a head coach?
It’s a difficult question to pose with so much football left to play and a coach that has led his team to so much post-season success. However, every time that the media wants to write New England’s obituary, the Patriots find a way to continue to win.
Sure, the Patriots have victories over the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, teams with four wins combined, but last night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons was a remarkable win for Belichick and his squad. Atlanta and QB Matt Ryan are difficult to beat in their home dome and looking at the roster of players on offense last night the Patriots trotted out, makes that win even more remarkable.
Heading into this season, New England and QB Tom Brady lost a huge majority of their offensive weapons from the 2012 season. Aaron Hernandez was released. Wes Welker departed via free agency. Brandon Lloyd retired to star in zombie films. TE Rob Gronkowski has yet to take the field this season. Danny Amendola, brought in to replace Welker, has appeared in just one game.
Tom Brady has been throwing to the linkes of Aaron Dobson and Kembrell Thompkins. Both rookies. Julian Edleman is the elder statesman currently of the receiving corps.
Tight end was a position of strength for the Patriots last season but last night, Brady was throwing to Matthew Mulligan. James Develin and Josh Boyce caught passes as well. Who?
There was much to do about nothing after the Patriots escaped with a hard fought win over the New York Jets on a rainy Thursday night a few weeks ago. Brady was visibly upset with his receivers. Who can blame him? He is accustomed to success and expects the best from every player on the field. Sure. There are going to be growing pains with rookie players.
Generally, you work one rookie receiver in at a time, but the Patriots have not had that luxury so far this season.
You can easily say that the Patriots should have seen the Amendola injury coming. He simply cannot stay healthy but then again, you can’t forecast injuries and past performance doesn’t necessarily guarantee future results.
Should they have kept Wes Welker? Sure. They didn’t. Move on. Next up.
Success in the NFL is generally measured by which team hoists the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season. Only one team gets the hardware, so the other 31 teams will have failed seasons. This might not be a team built for a Super Bowl trophy season, we simply don’t know yet with 12 games still remaining.
But, if Belichick is able to coach this cast to another division title and a run deep into the playoffs, this might just go down as his best coaching job of his career given the roster he has to work with.