After an impressive start to the 2020 season, the New England Patriots have come back down to earth.
The Patriots suffered their second consecutive loss Sunday to the shorthanded and largely mediocre Denver Broncos. New England particularly struggled offensively in Week 7, and given the makeup of Cam Newton’s supporting cast, there’s warranted cause for concern about the group moving forward.
But Scott Pioli isn’t ready to take a firm stance on the Patriots, one way or the other. The former New England executive needs to see more from New England, especially as it returns to a normal practice schedule, before he forms a true opinion.
“Well, I think the thing is you don’t overreact in either direction,” Pioloi said Tuesday on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” “I’m not concerned yet and not because it’s the same old Patriots that are going to do what they always do. I’m also not comfortable. Again, we’re only five games in and we’re in a division that doesn’t have any kind of definition yet. So, if you watch what’s happening with the Patriots the last two games and some of the losses and some of the problems they’re having, a lot has to do with who’s on the field, who’s not on the field and who’s not been on the field in practice.
“Again, I want to be clear here. With the Patriots, they don’t make excuses, but you have to understand the difference between excuses and reasons. Cam not practicing, Cam not getting time together with his teammates — that’s a problem. A number of other teammates not practicing, those things are problems. You need to practice. This is the National Football League. I think it’s too early to go in either direction and start making final decisions on what this Patriots team is or what it’s going to be.”
It’s tough to ignore the Patriots’ limited practice time in the lead-up to their game against the Broncos. Even head coach Bill Belichick, who typically won’t even dance around a semblance of an excuse, noted his team is in need of more practice.
New England, barring setbacks, should go through a normal week before going up against San Francisco this Sunday at Gillette Stadium. If the Patriots once again lay an egg against the 49ers, we might have to come to grips with their limitations.