New England Patriots Resolutions for 2021
Yes, 2020 has been nothing short of abysmal for the New England Patriots, but not for a lack of trying. So it’s time to make some resolutions.
If we’re speaking on terms relative to New England’s almost-two decade dynasty, then of course a potential 7-9 or 6-10 finish is not ideal.
Given the circumstances, I believe the Patriots did the best they could with the cards they were dealt this past year. At the same time, there are plenty of things that the six-time Super Bowl champs could have done better.
Here’s what I think the Patriots need to focus on in order to at least reverse the win and loss columns going into the 2021 season:
Re-sign Cam Newton
This may be an unpopular opinion but hear me out.
If you look at the situation objectively, Cam Newton has not done particularly well statistically, but he did what he could with a shitty situation.
Yes, he only has five passing touchdowns and 2,500 passing yards. And yes, he does have 12 interceptions which do not sound bad on the surface but it is absolute garbage when you consider the TD-INT ratio. Evidently, Newton will have plenty of resolutions to make for himself.
BUT, he did join New England late this past year in July, giving him only a month and change to learn a completely new and sophisticated offense with obstacles like COVID, no pre-season, and dealing with fry cooks for receivers.
He also managed to put up 12 rushing touchdowns with a shaky offensive line, the second-best mark of his career since 2011 when he came into the league.
Let’s also not forget that the games against the Seahawks, Broncos, Bills and Texans all came down to one drive, which would have changed the course of the season if the Patriots came out on top.
On top of all that, Cam has publicly mentioned that he wants to continue his time in New England, and he is a much better option and fit to the Pats’ system compared to other unrestricted free-agent QB’s like 39-year-old Philip Rivers and pick-machine Mitchell Trubisky.
Get Julian Edelman Healthy
Julian Edelman has been a staple of New England’s offense for a number of years since the departure of Wes Welker back in 2013.
He’s always a threat and finds ways to get open in the middle of the field…as long as he’s healthy. Edelman only played six games this year, most of which he was hobbling on one good knee.
This also has me thinking that the Patriots doctors may have pulled the same stunt as the doctor in Los Angeles that punctured Tyrod Taylor’s lung on “accident.”
But early on in 2020, it appeared that he and Newton had some good chemistry, despite the fact that the two had very little time in the off-season to work together.
Edelman still has one year left on his contract in New England, so it’s in the best interests of both parties to make sure he’s on the field and healthy for 2021 given the fact that he’s going into free agency in 2022.
Edelman will also be 35 going into the season in 2021, so maybe the Pats missing the playoffs is the best thing for him at his age with room for plenty of time for recovery. Not that he doesn’t have a great workout routine already, but Edelman will need to make some resolutions and gain pliability with the TB12 method for his knee.
Practice, practice, and practice some more
2020 gave us a glimpse into some great improvements from the wide receiver core in New England.
Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd were the team’s top receivers, and they showed some decent production in spite of the fact that nobody knows their name.
Even N’Keal Harry had a few games where he made some tough catches on balls that shouldn’t have been caught.
Now that the Patriots will have an unusually long off-season, the team will have time to further develop the chemistry between the young wide receivers and the quarterback, which may or may not be Cam Newton in 2021.
Practice makes perfect, and the Pats were light-years from perfect in 2020, so Belichick and the coaching staff should have the opportunity to take full advantage of the ample time.
Revise the Goal-line Packages on Offense
It’s pretty simple. The Patriots couldn’t punch the ball in on the goal line or in the red zone virtually all year during the first quarter of games if their season depended on it.
They became too predictable with the Cam Newton fake-handoff or straight-up QB sneak, and opposing teams saw right through those plays starting around the halfway mark of the season.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will now have time to reflect on the offseason on what went wrong, and what needs to be done right in order to become more efficient around the red zone.
The Patriots have had great success this year on offense with the Harris-Burkhead-Michel-White combo in the backfield despite injuries, so it would be advisable to stick to that plan when in the red zone as well.
Sign a Competent TE and/or High-talent WR
This should be painfully obvious to any football fan or Patriots fan: with Edelman out the majority of the year and a revolving door of tight ends, it’s hard for the Pats (or any team) to succeed in the passing game.
As I mentioned before, the Patriots’ leading receivers were guys that would likely be on the practice squad of 50% of the league, and players that might not otherwise see the field if it weren’t for Bill Belichick’s frugal philosophies as a GM.
There are plenty of high-caliber talent receivers and tight ends on the market going into the 2021 off-season. Here are some unrestricted free agents that could help stop the bleeding in the passing game and could possibly be signed for a reasonable price:
AJ Green (CIN)
Allen Robinson (CHI)
Sammy Watkins (KC)
Marvin Jones Jr. (DET)
Corey Davis (TEN)
Hunter Henry (LAC)
Jared Cook (NO)
Gerald Everett (LAR)
Move on to 2021
Going into week 17, a demoralized Patriots squad will be facing the 2-13 New York Jets, which could set the tone for the new year and the off-season coming upon us. There is a good chance in front of New England to finish an otherwise negative season on a positive note.
As a Patriots fan, I must admit it was a rough year to watch, and I’m sure it was a season that brought countless smiles to the faces of fans from all 31 other teams. And that’s okay. So I’ll go ahead and take something straight out of the Belichick playbook and say:
We’re on to 2021.