1. Skip to Menu
  2. Skip to Content
  3. Skip to Footer
Please excuse our appearance while we renovate in 2017



Call into the studio: 347-215-7771

jtemplate.ru - free extensions Joomla
Log in  \/ 
x
or
Register  \/ 
x

or
Monday, 26 May 2014 22:35

New England Patriots: Remember the Past, Live in the Present, Excited for the Future

Written by 

The New England Patriots are gearing up for another season of football with organized team activities starting this week.  With another year of watching the flying Elvis just around the corner, I decided to take a look at the New England fan. 

 

In my two week sabbatical from writing, I have watched as the Bruins lost to bitter rival Montreal in a seven game series.  The Boston Celtics continued their unlucky draw in the lottery getting the sixth pick in the upcoming draft. The Red Sox had lost more games in a row than they have in twenty years. Finally the Patriots didn’t draft well according to some fans.  

Focusing on the Patriots, the team I am so lucky to have followed for 30 years, I have noticed a rift in the fan base.  Call it a generational gap.  There are many fans that remain happy about the Pats, whether that is ultimate faith in Bill Belichick or a genuine homer attitude, I can’t tell you.  Then there are fans that complain that the team hasn’t won a championship since the glory days of 2004.  I wonder how Lions and Browns fans feel about that. 

The golden age to follow sports is in your twenties.  Most guys and girls can devote hours of time following their teams, without needing to raise a family, pay the mortgage, or keep their significant others needs met.  The Pats fans who now can devote all that time really don’t know what a championship feels like.  Most were still in their teens when Belichick, Weis and Crennel roamed the sidelines for three championships in four seasons.  Most only know the heart ache of watching the Patriots lose twice to the New York Giants.  The helmet catch and Welker drop are as memorable to them, as wide right is to Bills fans.  That is why we see more arguments, and criticism over the Patriots than at any point during their 54 seasons in the National Football League. 

The fact remains that the Patriots have had thirteen consecutive winning season, something that has only been bested in the modern day NFL by the Dallas Cowboys, 20 (1966-1985) Oakland Raiders, 16 (1965-1980) and the San Francisco 49ers, 16 (1983-1998) Yet for some reason fans in the region call into question how the Patriots have gone about business since they last lifted the Lombardi Trophy. 

As New England fans we are spoiled, every one of our four major sports teams have won a championship since the turn of the century.  So why all the angst against our football team?  Social media can be to blame.  As great as it is, it allows a voice and opinion for everyone, and negative opinions travel more than positive ones.  

Could it be the Patriots fan base is starving for another championship?

Since their last championship, Pats fans have watch the Red Sox celebrate three championships and both the Celtics and Bruins have also been crowned champions.  It leads many of us to think that winning a championship is easy. It’s not, especially in the NFL with the salary cap and only 12 of 32 teams making the post season (Keep it that way, YOU HEAR ME GOODELL)

Hours are spent debating a certain draft pick, an injury, or a player’s night life.  The conversation starts about the window closing for Tom Brady. That a big play receiver is needed to help Tom win it all again.  Fans worry about the tight end position, and how they need a player with Gronkowski skill to win.  They wonder what is wrong with the offense when they can’t score 35 points per game.  A bad rash of injuries to key players last year is sticking in the fans minds.  And Tebow forbid the Patriots draft a quarterback in the second round instead of a player that “could” help this year.   We all want another championship yes, but consistently being in the hunt is what has grown this fan base.  The fact remains that no team has won being one dimensional.   The Patriots offense can go many different directions with the current lineup.  The dependence on the tight end is not a Josh McDaniels staple as much as it was for Billy O’Brien.  Hence why O’Brien selected C.J. Fiedorwics in the third round after the Patriots passed on him.  The big play threat at wide receiver was drafted last year in Aaron Dobson, just wait you’ll see.  Finally the defense has a chance to be special this year with the moves that have been made.    

In the 30 years that I have followed the Patriots, I have come to the realization that winning comes with a price.  The innocence of not knowing a championship and wishing for just one, is replaced by a thirst for the next one after you finally raise that belt.   Just competing is not enough for the average fan.   Patriot’s fans young and old would do best to look back at the Brady/Belichick era and be marveled. 

Belichick and Brady arrived together via the 2000 NFL draft.  Essentially Belichick was the Patriots first round draft pick.  Brady of course was the sixth round, 199th overall pick that made the team.  In the 14 seasons that the “duplicitous pond scum” (thank Ron Borges) has roamed the sideline the Patriots have won three championships. They have been to five Super Bowls.  Have played in 26 playoff games and won 18 of them.  His time in New England has produced 163 regular season wins and 61 loses.  

The 14 season’s pre-BB (1986-1999) the Patriots had a record of 101 wins and 122 losses.  They lost Super Bowl XXXI to the Packers and played in eight postseason games losing five of them.  The team was the laughing stock of the NFL in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  From having four owners in seven years, to the Lisa Olson scandal, and finally to almost leaving for St Louis   Instead of complaining about not winning a championship, let’s just be thankful we can compete every season and are a favorite to win again this year. 

The Patriots and their fans are on an amazing run few have seen.  There has not been a blackout at home since December 26, 1993, a 38 – 0 victory over the Jeff George led Colts.  On that day I walked up to the gate and bought 40 yard line seats.  Try to do that now.  Embrace the present and trust the team will continue this run into the future, because of smart football moves.  

 

Thoughts on the Patriots 2014 draft class. 

Before the draft I thought this would be a draft for depth.  With the additions that the Patriots had made in the offseason to their secondary with the signings of Revis, Browner, and Chung, the secondary is solid.  I was surprised that the Patriots did not draft a tight end, which leads me to believe that a player such as Dustin Keller is on the radar, Rob Gronkowski is on schedule to return and/or the Patriots feel comfortable with the Hooman as their starter.  This also could show a move away from the dual tight end offense and to more of an “11” personnel set.  A set that the Josh McDaniels run offense was based upon in his first go around with the Patriots and stops in Denver and St Louis. 

The selection of Dominique Easley was a bit of a surprise to me, as I have never seen the Patriots make a risky move in the first round.  Jerry Thornton called it on a pre-draft addition of Patriots Beat.   If Easley comes back healthy he will instantly help as a sub pass rusher. You can hear NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s pre-draft comments on him here

In Jimmy Garoppolo the Patriots have gotten a good quarterback.  Will he ultimately be the replacement for Tom Brady that remains to be seen?  However I am on record as saying that developing quarterbacks is good business in the NFL.  Look no further than the Green Bay Packers.  Behind Brett Farve in his career were future NFL starters, Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck, Kurt Warner and Aaron Rodgers.  Three of the four lead their teams to Super Bowls with Rodgers and Warner winning rings.  Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks are hard to replace, and whether we want to admit it or not Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger.  The Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets are still trying to replace Dan Marino, Jim Kelly and Joe Namath respectively.  Even the Broncos had to bring in a future Hall-of-Famer in Peyton Manning to replace John Elway.  Worst case Garoppolo is a quality back up who the Patriots will have for security for the next four season.  Best case it’s a seamless transition from Tommy to Jimmy.  Going on the record as saying Jimmy will replace Tom as the quarterback in year three and Brady will not retire a Patriot. 

I love the selection of Bryan Stork the center from Florida State.  He was one of my draft binkies this year, and I asked NEPatriotsDraft.com’s Mike Loyko about him on our pre-draft program   In my humble opinion Stork could be starting by week one and will be a ten year starter for the team.  

If you have ever listened to Patriots Beat, my love for the running game is easy to understand. The selection of James White could be a big time hit.  White has never been a work horse back but that isn’t a bad thing.  The Patriots have moved to more of a multi-back approach and White who is use to sharing carries fits in nicely.  He has been compared a bit to Shane Vereen and I can envision a shotgun offense with a three receiver set with both Vereen and White in the backfield, either can split out wide or they can run with either player. 

The Selections of Fleming and Halapio help sure up the depth along the offensive line and hopefully the competition brings out the best in Dan Connolly and Marcus Cannon. Developing offensive lineman under new line coach Dave DeGuglielmo will be extremely important moving away from coach Scar. 

Zach Moore will be the development defensive end moving forward which spells doom for former third round pick Jake Bequette.  Moore in the limited tape I could find on him looks to have certain tools that could help spell Rob Ninkovich, Will Smith and Chandler Jones. 

Jemea Thomas and Jeremy Gallon are both undersized players.  Both have produced at the college level. Thomas has played some in the slot as well as safety. He went one on one with Kelvin Benjamin out of FSU and held his own.  That a seven inch disadvantage to make up and he was able to do so.  Gallon has been watching tape with the Patriots on both Wes Welker and Julien Edelman.  If he shows the ability to play in the preseason he could stick, but I consider him a long shot to make the team with second year wide outs, Aaron Dobson, Kembrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce continuing their development. 

Jeff Kane

Jeff Kane is the Patriots Beat Manager for CLNS Radio He is the lead host for Patriots Beat and Host of the Patriots Post Game Show. His quick-witted style and knowlege of the New England Patriots are some of his endearing qualities to CLNS listeners.

Jeff is a lifelong Boston sports fan who grew up right outside of Boston. His passion for the New England Patriots dates back to watching his first game in 1984. Jeff grew up with love for the Larry Bird led Celtics, watching games after his bedtime with his father Chuck.

A self describe football know-it-all. Jeff says his favorite sports memories are the Snow Bowl Game and attending game one of the NBA playoffs with his father in 2008.

Jeff currently resides in New Hampton, New Hampshire with his Wife Michelle and his two sons Connelly and Saygen.

Jeff can be reached by email: jkane@clnsradio.com

Download the Patriots Beat Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher