FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Not many victories in recent memory have generated as negative a response as the Patriots' 29-26 overtime triumph over the Jets. This tweet from Barre02 summed up the mood of a vocal group on Twitter: "We won the game, why am I depressed?"
To counter that thought, the following is an email received today from a good pal who I consider a most knowledgeable Patriots follower. I'm curious if you agree with it -- or any parts of it.
"Yes, the glass-half-empty argument is obvious. The offense is inconsistent and seems to tighten up at key times. The defense in the fourth quarter is painful to watch. The secondary is at times atrocious. We can't seem to make adjustments. We don't get a consistent pash rush (sound familiar). Game coaching has been a bit "off" this year. Some players (e.g. Ras-I Dowling) have not developed. Aside from Devin McCourty's return, not real explosive in the kicking game.
"But the glass-half-full viewpoint is stronger and it revolves around the basic belief that this team will improve. First, I believe the injuries have really hurt our pass defense. Both starting safeties have been out our last two fourth quarters. Very, very young in the secondary. When the safeties come back, I think our defense will improve dramatically, particularly in the fourth quarter. In the meantime, some younger players (Tavon Wilson, Alfonzo Dennard) are getting valuable time which will help quite a bit down the road. I think the pass rush will be OK. When Jermaine Cunningham moves inside I think it can be pretty good with Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones off the edges (although Jones needs to stop that long-step hesitation move and use his arms sooner in the rush!). I think the defense will be better in the second half than the first half, I really do.
"On offense, we have proven to be both effective at running and passing (at times), which can serve us well. It's obvious to everyone that Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are not 100 percent and hopefully they will get healthy. Brandon Lloyd has underperformed at best. The RB situation is very strong, particularly with a healthy Brandon Bolden. Our best o-lineman is hurt and our biggest concern going into the season, the tackle position, has really been a non-issue. I think our biggest issue on offense is being too "cute" and not imposing your will. Just because the defense is daring you to pass doesn't mean you have too every time (e.g. Seattle).
"So overall I am excited to see this team improve as the season goes on, key guys get healthy, and younger players continue to develop."