After the New England Patriots were demolished 42-27 in Week 1 by the Kansas City Chiefs, fans have more questions about their team than ever.
Let’s get right into them with this week’s mailbag.
Is the season over Doug?
No, Marc. No, it is not.
In fact, there are 15 more regular season games left for the Patriots to pull it together. And if and when they do, there will be playoff fun too.
The sky might have appeared to be falling after the Patriots’ Week 1 loss, but it can only evaporate and go back up to the clouds (is that how science works?) from here, right?
Think of the season like a 16-course dinner. You have to eat the worst side first to get it out of the way, right? So, Week 1 was lima beans.
How bad is the Pats D right now? Do you think it can be fixed?
Let me preface this by saying I was the Patriots’ defense’s No. 1 defender last season. I had battles week in and week out during the first half of every game with pessimistic Patriots fans, telling them everything would be fine by the end of the game, week and season.
The Patriots topped the NFL by allowing the fewest points against, and then won a Super Bowl. So, I was right.
I think the Patriots have the talent this season to be above-average to good. They didn’t play like it in Week 1, and I don’t think the unit will be as good as last season’s. I think the secondary can be better, but the trickle-down effect of losing pass rushers Jabaal Sheard, Chris Long and Rob Ninkovich will wind up hurting the front-seven.
The Patriots’ defense, for lack of a better phrase, looked like hot garbage in Week 1. I don’t think they’ll look like trash every week, and by the end of the season, barring major injuries, they’ll wind up figuring it out. The Patriots’ defense won’t be as bad as they were early in the decade, but they also won’t lead the NFL in points allowed.
We have that on record now so no one can accuse me of saying the Patriots’ defense currently is good, right?
What is the Pats long term solution for slot WR this year? I like Amendola but he is super injury prone and we need another option #MailDoug
Well, I think Danny Amendola, injury issues aside, is part of the long-term solution. I think the hope is Chris Hogan or Brandin Cooks can prove they can get open quickly consistently so quarterback Tom Brady doesn’t have to keep holding onto the ball for too long when Amendola is out.
Part of that plan is that Phillip Dorsett can acclimate quickly to the offense and serve as an outside threat and that Malcolm Mitchell can be back for Week 10 after his injured reserve stint is over.
I think the Patriots will try to avoid adding another wide receiver from outside the organization. Injuries could change those plans, however. I’m actually surprised the Patriots didn’t sign Daniel Braverman, who they had in for a workout this week.
On the many throws that were off on Thursday, were those mostly on Brady (they seemed to be), the receivers or some both?
It was a little bit of both. Brady looked highly inaccurate, but he was making safe inaccurate throws, if that makes sense.
And it did make sense to do so early in the game, but Brady was still making safe throws toward the sideline as the game was nearing its close in the fourth quarter. That’s when Brady probably should have taken some more risks.
Brady is in an almost no-win scenario this week. Sam Bradford completed 84.4 percent of passes for 346 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. So, the Patriots QB could be literally perfect, and anyone can still point to Bradford’s performance and declare Brady’s not that impressive based on who he’s playing.
Patriots fans might not be convinced the Patriots are themselves again until Week 3 against the Texans’ defense. The Saints’ offense is a good test for the defense, though.
#MailDoug which three inactive from Kansas are most likely to play V Saints and why?
Linebacker Harvey Langi, because he could fill in for Dont’a Hightower.
Safety Nate Ebner, because he’s been practicing this week.
Maybe tight end Jacob Hollister if the Patriots feel they need another pass catcher?
Let’s go rapid fire.
Favourite player for a locker room interview? Current or past rosters
Duron Harmon, Julian Edelman, Eric Rowe, Tommy Kelly, Matthew Slater and no offensive linemen.
Are they replacing the turf with natural grass or another synthetic turf? #maildoug
It’s definitely artificial turf. I’m actually unsure if they’re putting down a different turf or the same with fewer rubber pellets. It seems decreasing the number of rubber pellets could solve the issue of the turf being too soft.
how fast can you run a mile? #maildoug
I ran a 7-minute, 32-second mile the day before our media flag football game this summer. It was the first timed mile I’ve run since freshman year of high school. I blame the running or the crappy Gillette Stadium turf that needed to be replaced this week for our loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ media.
Who’s gonna be the PR
As of right this second, Patrick Chung will be the punt returner. It seems either Chris Hogan or maybe James White or Dion Lewis would be the backup. The Patriots could choose to sign DeMarcus Ayers off of the practice squad, and that’s probably what I would do.
The Patriots already know they can slip guard Ted Karras through waivers and onto the practice squad, as they did at roster cutdowns. Why risk Chung, who’s such an important defensive piece, on punt returns when you can bring up a player with more recent experience?
Are you surprised the Pats have not signed/traded for any DE help?
They did trade for Cassius Marsh, who played defensive end with the Seahawks.
I’m not sure if I can see him putting his hand in the dirt with the Patriots, though. Based on how he looks in the locker room, he appears significantly smaller than a typical Patriots defensive end.
@DougKyed Do you see the pats trading Malcolm butler for some picks and a player?
I don’t at this point, but I also didn’t see the Patriots trading Jamie Collins last season, so it’s certainly possible.
sup? 🙁 #maildoug
Watching “Thursday Night Football” and not complaining about it, because I’m just happy to have football back.
For the people complaining about it, they know they don’t have to watch, right? They could watch, like, “Total Bellas” or something.
#maildoug Why are shoulder pads so much smaller now?
I would assume it’s because they’re lighter and offer more range of motion.
It’s so funny to see pictures of shoulder pads in the 90s.
Milloy could stash a Thanksgiving dinner under those shoulder pads.
Your first paying job was?
Little league umpire. I was 12 years old.
@DougKyed Are you as excited about this season as Vance Joseph? #MailDoug
I fully expect to have the time of my life this season, if that’s what you’re asking.
I thought pretty much everyone’s reaction to the reaction to Sergio Dipp was dumb and overboard, by the way. Everyone was having fun on Twitter about it, and then a bunch of people acted like we were being mean to him. Everyone was just having a good time.
#MailDoug if the entire roster had a royal rumble who would win?
One would think the easy answer would be Alan Branch, but big men never win the Royal Rumble.
If it were up to Vince McMahon, the Patriots would sign Roman Reigns, and then he would win.
I’m going with Deatrich Wise, even though Rob Gronkowski has more experience in the squared circle. Gronk’s just too obvious.
#maildoug What was your worst moment with Belichick? Best?
Worst was definitely during my “rookie” season when I was still inexperienced in the art of asking Bill Belichick questions. I remember asking him something about the first-team offense during training camp and him barking back that there was no such thing.
He gave a notably good answer last season when I asked him about Duron Harmon. I’ve also made him smile and laugh a couple times, which isn’t as rare as some would lead you to believe.
If you could play any instrument in any band for one night, which would you choose and why?
I’ll give the most-NFL beat writer answer possible and say I’d fill in for Nils Lofgren with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band on guitar for a night. In this scenario, Little Steven is still also playing guitar in the E-Street Band.
It’s mostly because I think Nils is a little lame.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images