A message to Boston Sports fans who have been spoiled the past two decades:
Get used to a rebuilding process and a lot of mediocrity for the next several years as this halcyonic period comes to an end. Save for the Boston Celtics, the other professional teams in our region have difficult decisions to make as they transition into trying to build their next contending team.
In part two of a three-part series, I look at the most successful professional sports franchise of this century.
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After 19 years of unprecedented, sustained excellence, the Patriots might be unrecognizable this season. The Patriots have more question marks than the Riddler. The biggest being, how will Cam Newton perform at quarterback?
For the past 27 years, the Patriots’ quarterback position has been the least of concerns for the organization and its fan base.
With Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay, Newton will be called on to lead a Patriots’ offense with a lack of impactful skilled players. Even if the 2015 NFL MVP raises that pedestrian group, the Patriots offense will remain … a question mark.
Defensively, the Patriots lost key contributors Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, and Danny Shelton. In addition, Donta Hightower and Patrick Chung opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19. That’s nearly half of the starters from a defense that was mediocre during the second half of last season.
The “In Bill We Trust” crowd believes the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC East despite losing all of that talent from last year’s 12-4 squad, which went 4-4 over the second half of the season before losing to Tennessee in the Wild Card round.
I’m not buying it.
The Patriots are headed for a major market correction due in large part to Belichick’s awful drafts the past half-decade. Prime draft capital has been wasted on the likes of Dominique Easley, Malcolm Brown, Jordan Richards, Cyrus Jones, and Duke Dawson. All first or second-round picks.
At some point, those recent draftees are going to have to contribute mightily. If they don’t, even the greatest head coach of the Super Bowl Era can’t save his recent shortcomings as the team’s general manager.
As we enter the season, a loss of front end talent coupled with the league’s most difficult schedule has me believing that the Patriots are more likely to finish last in the AFC East than they are of winning their 12th consecutive division crown.
As difficult as it is to believe, get ready for a 5-11 season.
John Sapochetti is co-host of The GET OFF MY LAWN PODCAST WITH KEEGAN & SAP – Heard On FullPressRadio
Follow Him On Twitter @JohnSap25