New England Patriots: Keys to victory vs. Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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New England Patriots
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Coaches need to step up

More than the players though, the coaches need to get it together. Last year, Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia led the Patriots defense to the best scoring defense as they held opponents to an average of 15.6 points allowed per game, third best in the Belichick era. This year is massively different so far as the Patriots are allowing a horrible 32 points per game this year.

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That has to change. It starts with Belichick, but it falls to Patricia and his play calling as well. It is possible he is not dealing with the influx of new personal well, but other than that I cannot spot the reason the drop-off. He just needs to get it together.

As for the offensive side of the ball, even though the Patriots are scoring 32.25 points per game, on target for 516 points this season, they are still not completely comfortable. Per ProFootballTalk, Tom Brady is on target to take a career high 52 sacks. That is unacceptable for any quarterback, let alone one in the final years of his career. The biggest problem is a combination between the play-calling and the players, but it starts from the top. Belichick along with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels need to find a way to keep Brady upright.

With Julian Edelman lost for the season, it is much harder to go back to the comfortable short passing schemes they are used to. Also, with the addition of Brandin “Cookies” Cook, this offense feels more like a vertical offense first and an intermediate passing offense second. So if it is a vertical offense, the coaches need to find Brady to sit in the pocket.