Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Patriots Can't Just Send Them Home, Belichick Step Up as Leader

The irony, whether if this decade portrays a dynasty or asterisk is, the New England Patriots have shifted directions. Instead of chasing another Lombardi Trophy, the franchise accused of Sypgate, is deteriorating and is unbalanced. For almost a full decade, the Patriots were referred to as a sleaze in professional sports, committing a stupid act. The Pats were classified as disloyal con artist, without trusting in integrity.

They didn’t have enough aplomb to dominate at will in most perspectives. But even if the three-time Super Bowl champs won their titles purely, controversy very seldom reduces when issues affects the Patriots. Most of the drama comes from the unbearable scandal of Spygate, especially for the masses that dislikes a team for its deceptive spying. Whether it’s legit or a fraud, as usual, the Patriots created a ruckus, not regarding to cheating, but leadership woes.

For much of the season a lack of chemistry has created problems as the Patriots try returning to a championship caliber franchise. Years ago, under the craftiness of Bill Belichick, New England emerged into a vital threat and accumulated titles, in which it’s fair acknowledging he’s a genius after becoming an expertise at assembling a franchise. Granted, the clever-minded Belichick established a successful and dimensional franchise with high-minded knowledge of the game, such as selecting wisely in the NFL Draft and finding the pieces to fit within a branch of talented players.

But, unfortunately, their Super Bowl titles are tainted. Problem is now, there’s no structure or leadership after most of the Patriots inspirational leaders either retired or were sent elsewhere in a trade. So now, a typical fan is screaming and crying, witnessing unfamiliarity as rebuilding is currently taking a stance. From precedence to mediocrity, the Patriots are retooling. Because of its youth, they’re not as lethal or intimidating.

However, youth isn’t the only problem or the rebuilding stage. Instead of faulting the lack of leadership among the veterans, fault Belichick for the absence of inspirational structure. The Patriots are in an awkward position, and Belichick hasn’t stepped up to encourage his players.

Still, New England controls its own fate within the AFC East and will come away with the division.

But there’s no margin for error, no time for disruptions. When it seemed nothing could interfere with the Patriots of making a bold statement and aggressive drive to the Super Bowl, a transition and Belichick’s disciplinary actions and fourth-down blunder were signs of innovation.

Just when it seemed the minor problems have come and gone, worse problems hatched for the Patriots. Of late, much confusion has created trouble. And since Belichick’s fourth down miscue, New England hasn’t been the same with its approach, losing confidence and aspiration. And now, that brings us to the criticism of wide receiver Randy Moss, bashed for quitting on the Patriots in Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

Frustrated with all the mediocrity, lack of receptions, and loses, Moss quit on his teammates. Known for insubordination, Moss’ attitude and demeanor can divide and inhibit the Patriots of gelling as a robust team. According to reports, Moss was one of the four players sent home for arriving late to a meeting Wednesday because of snow.

Adalius Thomas had a message sent when Belichick sent home the linebacker, irritable after he was banished from attending the meeting. That’s not all, when he was punished harsher on Sunday as Belichick played the role of a principal and not a coach, benching Thomas in a critical game against the Panthers.

Yes, Belichick knows what it takes to play consistent in a 16-game season, leading the Brady Bunch to an unbeaten season two years ago. But at the time, the Patriots were elite and had the pedigree to symbolize a championship caliber team. Eventually, a team no matter what sport, experiences a rebuilding age when eminence shortens, unknown of capabilities.

What we must come to realize is the Patriots are reconstructing. What we must come to realize it’s a young and inexperience team, and still is maturing into an average contender. What we must come to realize, Belichick needs to be the leader of a disoriented team. Anyone is inspired if there’s motivation and leadership, rather than sending five players home for tardiness as a way of issuing a statement.

Considering the loss of Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, Corey Dillon, Mike Vrabel and Asante Samuel, the Patriots are starting at the bottom by replacing a veteran core with a young core. It’s the beginning of a new era, and no one is emerging into an inspirational adviser or difference maker in a substandard defense.

Teams wills are tested on the road, confirming if they’re a legitimate team or not. A team, which preserves victories on the road, inherits credit and is characterized as a contender. The Patriots, unfortunately, has yet followed road values. The inability to win on the road is persuading us to believe there isn’t enough in the tank. The lack of experience and leadership influences us to believe there isn’t enough encouragement.

With a 1-5 record on the road, is an unfamiliar scenario for the Patriots. The last time New England lost five road games in a single season was in 2000, Belichick’s first year when the team finished 5-11 at the bottom. Today, most probably wonder if Belichick regrets trading defensive end Richard Seymour, a monstrous force dealt to Oakland for a 2011 first-round draft pick. Today, most probably wonder if Moss has surrendered on the Patriots, dispirited of explosive receiver and teammate Wes Welker’s productivity.

He has ability to cut across the middle and catch passes to showboat excellent speed. And Welker has missed only one start this season, and has a staggering 105 catches for 1,158 yards. Being a non-factor within the Patriots’ offense is frustrating for Moss, especially when Welker was targeted 36 times in the last three games.

Moss had a catch for 16 yards in Sunday’s 20-10 win, but was criticized for fumbling, dropping a ball on a critical play and committing a false start. However, the folks are more concern with Brady’s interception in the first-half, which cost the Patriots when Moss was drilled of not completing a route that seemed well-executed if he had connected.

Whether he quit or not, Chris Gamble, certainly thinks so when he told the Boston Globe “we knew Moss was going to shut it down. That’s what we wanted him to do. That’s what we did…He’d just give up a lot. Slow down, he’s not going deep, not trying to run a route. You can tell, his body language.”

But, of course, Tom Brady, a prolific quarterback known for his desperation victories and clutch finishes has thrown 11 interceptions, eight of his picked off passes were intended for Moss. Nonetheless, he defended his receiver and also blasted at Carolina defensive back.

“When guys play Randy, they want to show everyone what they can do. I guess they came out of the game pretty confident. Randy is one of the best players in the history of the NFL,” said Brady. “When it doesn’t go perfect out there, everyone wants to jump on Randy. It’s all of us, and we all have to do a better job.”

Well said. And it starts with Belichick’s mental state of inspiriting a young core. The man wearing the blue hoodie is responsible for huddling up his team and demanding a sense of urgency. As many times as Brady has led the Patriots in pivotal situations, there’s no excuse for falling poorly. And as many times as Belichick has utilized artistic tactics, it’s hard dismissing the Patriots from playoff contention.

Still, lack of talent and leadership might hurt at the end, unless Belichick changes the approach.