Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bad Personnel Decisions Derailed the New England Patriots 2009 Season

As I get ready for the Super Bowl I wanted to reflect back at the season that just happened. This year did not end up with a Super Bowl victory which I had hoped for from the New England Patriots.

The 2009 New England Patriots season was a disappointment. Why did this team not perform better this season? The expectations going into the year were very high. I would say many media outlets were making the New England Patriots favorites to win the Super Bowl before the season began. What is the main cause for the New England Patriots to not live up to the Super Bowl expectations?

In my opinion the New England Patriots were derailed by bad personnel decisions that can go as far back as a few years ago. I believe the greatest coach of all time is Bill Belichick. He is also the man who is making the personnel decisions as well. I know Nick Caserio and Scott Pioli before him were directors of Player Personnel. I believe that Bill Belichick has final say over any personnel decision. The buck stops at Belichick's feet. I think Bill Belichick the talent evaluator did not give Bill Belichick the best players to succeed this year.

I will break down my thoughts on the bad personnel decisions that effected of all 3 phases of the game. Before I do that let's start with the off season. The first domino to fall was the trade of Matt Cassell and Mike Vrabel. The fact that Vrabel was a part of the trade in my opinion was a huge mistake. When he was traded to Kansas City I felt major changes were on the horizon. Then, look at the New England Patriots Draft last year. I personally think they got some young players who can help in the future. My problem is the "trading down" to get more picks and better value. I would rather have Michael Oher, or Clay Matthews Jr. rather than trading down into the second round to get Pat Chung and later Darius Butler. I would rather trade up to get a better player like the Jets did a few years back to get Derrel Revis. The offseason bad decisions came into play to effect the 2009 football season.

Let's start with the offense. I call the offense this year "the curse of Jabar Gaffney". Not re-signing Jabar Gaffney caused too much of the offense to go through Welker and Moss. In essence there was no third option. Whether you liked him or not Jabar Gaffney became a very dependable player for the New England Patriots. The biggest personnel blunder was the signing of Joey Galloway. Galloway was not a suitable replacement for Jabar Gaffney. The team also traded for Greg Lewis who did not even make the team. With the running backs I did like the addition of Fred Taylor. However, I would have taken the money allocated to him and got more help on defense. How about the train wreck which are the tight ends. They signed Alex Smith and Chris Baker. Alex Smith did not make the team and Chris Baker definitely was not much of a touchdown maker. All of these personnel decisions left the offense flat this year.

Now lets talk about the defense. As I mentioned before trading of Mike Vrabel was a very bad personnel decision. I think he still has 2 - 3 productive years left. To replace Vrabel they made another trade and it was for Derrick Burgess. In my mind he was a bust. According to Bill Belichick he was a very productive player for the New England Patriots. I will give this one to Belichick because he knows much more about football I believe than anyone on this planet. They signed Tully Banta-Cain. He actually turned out to be a pleasant surprise. He had I think 9 1/2 sacks which is great. However, I think he was average against the run. The additions of Shawn Springs along with Leigh Bodden to help out the secondary were decent.

The next 2 terrible defensive personnel decisions really affected the entire defense. Adalius Thomas has turned out to be a very bad decision they made back in 2007. They gave this guy a ton of money to be an impact player. His impact last year was very negative in the locker room. His production on the field was mediocre at best. The trading of Richard Seymour before the season started was in my opinion an awful personnel move. This move not only made us weaker on the line, but it definitely effected team chemistry in the locker room as well. Maybe Richard did not live up to his contract. He still would have made a difference last year in pressuring the quarterback and stopping the run.

The third phase of the game is Special Teams. Do you think the New England Patriots made bad personnel decisions here that effected this unit? The answer to this question is absolutely yes! First, Kelly Washington was one of your most valuable special teams players. They did not re-sign him. Oh by the way he can also play a little wide receiver. Larry Izzo who at one time made the pro bowl with the New England Patriots was an elite special teams player. The team did not re-sign him and he ended up with the Jets. These 2 moves along with not having a suitable punter hurt this unit.

In concluding, the bad personnel decisions in all 3 phases derailed this team. The offense was inconsistent because of "the curse of Jabar Gaffney". The defense could not rush the passer because Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour were not on this team. Also, Adalius Thomas was a non-factor on that side of the ball as well. Finally, Special Teams were missing 2 elite players from that unit from a year ago.

As I said in the beginning the New England Patriots in my opinion have the greatest coach of all time. Unfortunately, this great coach did not have the players to get the job done.

No comments:

Post a Comment