Wilcots: Pats D Feasted On Likes Of Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold

The Patriots, who have lost three of their last five games, have problems on both sides of the ball

The DA Show
December 09, 2019 - 11:55 am
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Remember when the New England Patriots started the season 8-0 and there were talks of an historic defense? Of an unbeaten season? Of another Super Bowl championship?

Yeah, that was a long time ago. 

The Patriots have lost three of five – all to AFC playoff contenders in Baltimore (11-2), Houston (8-5) and Kansas City (9-4) – and haven’t beaten a team with a winning record since September, when they beat the Bills in Buffalo, 16-10.

What is going on with the Patriots?

“Their defense can feast at a historic level the first eight games of the season when you’re playing the likes of Daniel Jones and you’re playing the likes of Sam Darnold, who said he was seeing ghosts, when you’re playing the likes of Josh Rosen. They’re all inexperienced quarterbacks,” PFF analyst Solomon Wilcots said on The DA Show. “But then when you run into guys that kind of know what to do – and even a great defense is struggling against really capable and competent quarterbacks. But the offense, I think, is really where the Achilles’ heel exists.”

The Patriots lost to the Chiefs, 23-16, on Sunday, snapping a 21-game home winning streak in the process. Julian Edelman and James White accounted for 12 of Tom Brady’s 20 completions. Edelman’s biggest play of the day – a 37-yard touchdown – came on a trick play, and White completed a 35-yard pass to Jakobi Meyers.

New England is averaging just 17 points over its last four games.

“These Patriots wide receivers are not on the same page with their quarterback,” Wilcots said. “In the National Football League, receivers are expected to be able to do what we call flight adjust; that means you’ve got to be able to read coverages post-snap. You’ve got to read it accurately. More importantly, you’ve got to read and see it the same way as your quarterback. Julian Edelman is very proficient in this level. Wes Welker was great at it. There was a reason why guys like Chad Johnson did not quite fit into that system. There’s been some veteran players who have struggled to fit in, and now these younger receivers are struggling, and it’s really frustrating Tom Brady. They’re struggling to put points on the board.”

Edelman and White have combined for 152 catches, 1,549 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Phillip Dorsett, Meyers, Mohamed Sanu and N’Keal Harry have combined for 74 catches for 856 yards and seven touchdowns.

“I think N’Keal Harry is going to be a good player,” Wilcots said. “I think he’s trying to find his footing. Phillip Dorsett, who’s been in this system for a while, he’s struggling to be on the same page with Brady. We normally would expect the receivers, and every player on this team, to have come into form by the time you get to the middle of December, and unfortunately, that’s one of the critical areas where they have not matured over the course of the season – and now they’re paying dearly for it.”

The Patriots play the Bengals (1-12) in Cincinnati this Sunday before finishing the season at home against Buffalo (9-4) and Miami (3-10). Sunday’s kickoff against Cincinnati is slated for 1 p.m. ET.