The Patriots offseason has felt like a mass exodus followed by a sweet rejuvenation. My faith in Bill was tested, but did not drop off. No doubt losing the Super Bowl sucks, but Tommy and Bill went to their 3rd Super Bowl in four years. To put this in perspective, we marveled at the Cowboys winning 3 out of 4 Vince trophies in the ‘90s. Tommy and Bill went to 3 out of 4 Super Bowls twice in 18 years. This is why I still have faith. Thank God for YouTube. Anytime something frustrates me I pull up a clip of Malcolm’s pick and immediately feel better.
Bill and Nick Caserio would have to have three terrible off seasons to get me to lose faith. I’m talking like Gigli Pete Carroll ’97 draft class bad. If that happened then I’d think OK Bill lost his fastball and we should move on. As of this year I would have pushed the panic button and played Malcolm in the Super Bowl, but I’m not him. One thing that drives me insane about the media coverage is the way they are absolving Malcolm of responsibility. He played under Bill for four years and should know his Head Coach by now. Butler has to know Bill is demanding and perfectionist. He’s willing to take a loss to get his point across.
As personnel decisions pop up I try to put myself in the team shoes. I can’t quite pull it off though. It’s so hard to say goodbye by Boys 2 Men runs through my head when a Patriot we like leaves. Sentimentality and gratitude creeps into my thinking every time. Once Bill makes his decision all I can say is thanks for the memories and good luck!
The way I see it a personnel decision is a two part equation. Step 1 is deciding it’s time to move on from a player. Step 2 is finding a suitable replacement. The Patriots record with Step 1 isn’t perfect, but very very very good. Step 2 makes me uneasy. I get moving on from Amendola. He’s older and not a sure bet to play all 16 games. It’s just their record drafting receivers isn’t great. Finding a suitable replacement is what concerns me.
Bye Danny! Good luck in South Beach. You took many pay cuts so it’s nice to hear you’re getting paid in tax free Florida. Over the past 5 years the Pats went to 4 AFC title games, 3 Super Bowls and won two titles with him. Signing him worked out great. He was so clutch and Tommy trusted him in big spots. I hope to see you on TMZ partying in South Beach with Olivia
THREE CORNERS! THREE CORNERS! MALCOM GO! In the league where first round picks go bust all the time the story of Malcolm Butler was impressive. He’s not the biggest or fastest guy. It enrages us to see a guy waste his talent
Malcolm was the polar opposite of the that. He didn’t get complacent & played like a rookie free agent a millimeter away from getting cut. He followed up his great play with great years in 2015 and 2016. In your heart of hearts you hoped he’d play 12 years in New England. He embodied all the things you ask for; tough, hardworking, team oriented, smart and quite talented. Once he got his rings he was all about getting paid like Asante Samuel. Can’t fault him for that. Good luck in Tennessee!
Dion Lewis worked out great overall. I knew him as the slippery speedster who backed up LeSean McCoy. Scouts doubted him due to his size and its amazing to prove them wrong. Lewis could run, catch and carried the ball a lot for a guy his size. The life of an NFL running back is so short. You can blink and miss a guy tearing up his knee and ending his career. The Patriots decision to let him walk makes football and salary cap sense. You wish Lewis well except when he plays New England! I just hope Bill remembers to give Tommy a nice running game. Let’s look for another Lewis in the late rounds of this year’s draft.
Last but not least is Nate Solder. Matt Light retired and it felt like they didn’t miss a beat. Nate was a freak. For the longest time tackles were built like Bruce Armstrong. Nate comes along and Bruce looks like a midget in comparison. Thanks to you Tommy was free to carve up defenses. He owes his longevity partially to you AND the avocado ice cream. In seven years he was in 7 AFC title games and 4 Super Bowls. UNBELIEVABLE! This clip shows just how good he was keeping the wolves at bay.
On the bright side the first wave of free agency is over. Now is the time where the Pats make unheralded but effective moves. My next column will dive into why things are looking up for the 2018 Patriots!