BOSTON (CBS) - September was supposed to be the easy part of the schedule, but at 2-2 with no offensive identity, a litany of holes to fill and a brutal slate the rest of the season, New England needs to improve and improve fast.
There's plenty of blame to go around, but after looking extensively at the tape, Greg Bedard of TheMMQB.com has outlined four reasons for the early struggles of the Patriots, and he discussed those reasons Wednesday afternoon on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Felger & Massarotti.
"These [linemen] aren't getting plays repped enough. Dan Connolly, how many times do you think he's repped that screen (first play of the game vs. KC) at left guard? I don't know, six times? Because of what Belichick did with Mankins and how he's been juggling guys? I don't mind the Mankins decision, but I do mind the timing of it. Obviously the timing has been a huge problem. They had what, five or six different line combinations the other night? That's unheard of for the fourth game of the season, and they don't even have any injuries yet. They aren't getting enough reps and I put that on Bill. They made this decision too late and they weren't ready for it."
"When I said the Patriots were going to the Super Bowl, if not winning it, both Logan Mankins and Tommy Kelly were on this team. They decided to part with both guys. I'm sure Tom Brady was a little bit mad in the interim, but after a day or so he probably said, 'Bill's got to have a plan. He wouldn't do this if he didn't have a plan.' Through four games, and in the middle of the fourth game, I think Brady realizes they didn't have a plan. I put that on Belichick."
"No one has really talked about [Pepper]. After watching the front seven in the Chiefs game, again they're having trouble in their run fits. They can't stop the run. They miss Pepper. They miss Pepper around, and they miss Pepper on game day. He was the linebackers coach, but he did a bunch of different things. He filled the gaps that were needed. You look at the linebackers, especially Jamie Collins -- his growth hasn't been there. He has not played well. It's been a problem."
Bedard also pointed to the absence of longtime assistant and offensive line specialist Dante Scarnecchia as a reason for the struggles.
Listen below to the full conversation!
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