Op-Ed: Where are the Patriots Headed?


The state of football in New England remains uncertain, as the Patriots stand last in their division at now 6-6. Few, if any, New Englanders probably ever considered such a morose result was possible of manifesting itself. Much like the Broncos after Manning’s retirement, the Pats have yet to recover from Brady’s departure. Personally, I am glad Brady is gone. His sideline tantrums were a disgrace, and his silly book outlining a rift with Belichick was a joke and displayed grave unprofessionalism. I have always favored the brains of Belichick over the talent of Brady. And yet, the Pats have developed a notably versatile and talented defense, which seems to have been amplified since Brady’s departure. Furthermore, they have a talented grouping of players both offensively and defensively who demonstrate promise even if they weren’t the best in college. Despite their 6-6 record, they have had almost impressive wins, such as their game against the Vikings. In that match, Jones played fairly well, and it was instead a lack of discipline all around that contributed to their loss, as the team kept getting repeated penalties for a whole host of reasons, raising the question – have the Patriots forgotten how to play football in New England?

Despite what some might be saying, the answer is no, they have not forgotten how to play, but they are getting there, and it is for one reason and one reason only: the QB position. Jones isn’t bad, but he is not good enough to get the Patriots out of their slump. Jones is holding the team back and, as a result, other areas of the team are losing their luster, which is why they have had increasing issues with penalties. The solution? Put Zappe in. Afterall, it was the removal of Bledsoe and the addition of Brady that led to his successful career and subsequent seasons for the Patriots. People argue that Mac played at a higher level in college than Zappe, but there are a plethora of players who were poised to take over the league because of their college performance, but now are no longer skilled enough or don’t even have jobs anymore. An easy solution would be to put Zappe in and send Mac back to the bench. 

I reached out to some other die hard football fans to see their thoughts. William Glaser, a loyal Packers fan from Wisconsin and twelfth grade student at Tantasqua, feels that the Pats do still have something to offer: “I think the Pats have shown a lot of promise this year; however, they have failed to find their identity as a solid team. They do not have a solid starting quarterback decided yet and are still recovering in the wake of Brady leaving.” Glaser also recognizes that the Pats have a great chance of succeeding with Belichick at the helm. 

Owen O’Connor, also a senior, is a Broncos fan. He feels that the team is trending up in the right direction, but that Jones is simply not the answer to their problems, and Zappe should be put in. According to O’Connor, there was a different type of energy and confidence within the team when Zappe was in. But even still, O’Connor has no complaints when it comes to their elite defense coached by Belichick. In fact, his biggest complaint is the offense, which he characterizes as a “mystery” since Brady’s departure. QB problems aside, he is strongly enthusiastic about the young talent offered by both running backs in the backfield: Damien Harris and Ramondre Stevenson. In addition to the missing piece at QB, O’Connor feels that their receiving corps needs a new elite player to elevate their offensive standing. In essence, O’Connor says that “the Pats are always going solid with Bill as the coach, but need a few more pieces and changes to push them to the top.” 

The Patriots have the coaching staff and defense in place to succeed, and they have shown profound strides at times. However, their offense needs to be seriously reworked. And perhaps most importantly, this transition begins with a change at the quarterback position.