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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered and Patriots Playbook Fri Jan 28 - 12:00 AM | Mon Jan 31 - 11:55 PM

Patriots Unfiltered Q&A: How can Patriots bounce back from Broncos loss?


Who are the Patriots selling to improve next year's team? -@Dale7149987

I'm not sure that we're quite at that point yet, as it's important not to overreact after a loss that had a ton of outside and unique factors. The Patriots aren't going to have much time to catch their breath, as the march of 11-straight games continues this Sunday, so let's start with some players who are playing well and should certainly be in the team's long-term plans.

J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones lead the way for the defense, each had an important interception against the Broncos and they look like they'll be two key players in the secondary for years to come. Jackson will be an RFA this offseason. Kyle Dugger looks like he'll be a part of that mix while upfront Ja'Whaun Bentley had one of his best games on Sunday and edge players Chase Winovich and Anfernee Jennings will have time for continued development under their rookie deals.

There will be some tough decisions to make on key defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and rising squad-mates Adam Butler and Deatrich Wise - all will be free agents. Offensively, it starts along the offensive line where Joe Thuney and David Andrews are both in the final years of their deals, but beyond that group there are more questions than answers, especially with James White and Rex Burkhead slated to be free agents as well.

Aside from the other rookies, just about anyone not mentioned could theoretically be an asset to move depending on how things go the next couple weeks, but I don't really see a big name getting moved from New England within two weeks. –Mike Dussault

Do you think the loss of coaching in the offseason is affecting the team today? -@joelshapiro20

No, not really. The offensive line has done pretty well with all things considered. Not even Dante could've gotten a top-notch performance out of the o-line against the Broncos, there were just so many changes before and during the game. The development of Michael Onwenu is a clear testament to new coaches Carmen Bricillo and Cole Popovich, as is Justin Herron who has been thrust into a bigger role the last two games than anyone might've expected.

If there's one spot where the team could really use a boost this week it would be getting David Andrews back. He would provide plenty of stability in the middle and allow the team more flexibility without having to worry about the center spot. Shaq Mason (Reserve/Covid-19) and Jermaine Eluemunor (ankle injury vs. Broncos) are big questions but I think they have the pieces to be good enough if those two are out for any continued length of time, but they need Wynn-Thuney-Andrews on the left side to be solid. –Mike Dussault

Can you finally admit that you miss Tom Brady, too? –@S4m_sp

Sunday was probably the hardest day yet for Patriots fans, watching their offense put forth one of the most disappointing efforts in a long time, while Brady was throwing touchdowns to Gronk in a blowout of the undefeated Packers.

I certainly miss a lot of things about Brady, but I don't miss seeing him suffer through another offensive season like 2019 and from what I've seen so far, I can't imagine the Patriots would've been able to sign Brady and make the 2020 offense better. –Mike Dussault

Do the Patriots need to simplify the playbook for young wrs that they bring in? It seems like asking them to know everything fairly quickly has become a detriment to their development. –Sean_payne23

I don't really think the playbook is the issue as it's certainly been simplified to a degree for the new quarterback. I think it was Brady's mastery of the offense that made it so hard for younger players to get on his level, but with Newton that shouldn't really be as much of a problem anymore.

I do think there's simply something to be said for the offense getting derailed when Newton went on the Reserve/Covid-19 list and never really having a chance in practice to get back into a flow. Offense is such a delicate balance and there's no substitute for playing together.

They were already under the gun with no preseason games and limited summer practices with no real offseason training activities, at least in person. They've been trying to get going for two months and then suddenly they had to take two weeks off. It's really hard.

I don't know what their actual ceiling is, but they're definitely better than what they showed against Denver. With 11 games to go we just have to let them stack some experience. –Mike Dussault

Obviously it's a mix, but if you could only pick one, what would you say is the primary culprit behind the Patriots recent inability to develop weapons on the offensive side of the ball: Scouting players who can excel in the system here OR developing the talent once they arrive? -@Patsox23

I'd have to lean toward scouting the players because I think they've developed guys about as well as can be expected, while I've struggled to see the fit with some of the players they've acquired. We're in a different phase now though, because for Tom Brady it seemed obvious what he liked and what worked best for his offense. Now, with Cam, that might be a little different and no one is quite sure yet how he exactly fits in the offense or what works best with him.

Regardless, the passing game just has not been effective this season and they've got to find a way to be better. I've lamented passing up on all of the 2020 rookie receivers, many of whom are now having impressive first seasons. The jury is still out on Asiasi and Keene, the team really needs them and hopefully at least one of them can start to have some contributions. You can only scheme up so much before you just need guys who can win one-on-one and I don't think they have enough of those right now. –Mike Dussault

As a long time, seasoned fan you've seen a lot from the Patriots. What do they have that still gives you hope for the rest of the season? -@clazzyclare

Never overreact to the fifth game of the season especially with the circumstances around this one. The Patriots defense once again gave the offense a chance to win the game, they've never been out of it this year despite having three losses.

Obviously, it's a weird season and more than ever we just need to take it one week at a time. If ever there was a loss to quickly bury, this is it. If the team can get back to practice this week I think they can get back on track and look a lot better than they have, especially on offense in the last three games. But there's no question, the margin for error is slowly disappearing. –Mike Dussault

The obvious: Do you seem them addressing the WR and TE position via trade? –@TMC9deuce

I think it would be a little easier to address the tight end spot with a veteran who could immediately make an impact. Receiver is tough because they're usually more expensive and have a greater variance of success. Perhaps it's just that the tight end bar is a little lower and easier to get over with a cheaper acquisition.

Either way at this point it's hard to see the Patriots expending real capital on acquiring assets sitting at 2-3. I think we need to see them get back on track before we know who they are and what they still need most. –Mike Dussault

One position the Pats need to improve in most and quickly? –samwilliams2410

Again, I'd go with tight end, even though I think Ryan Izzo did some good things in his first career three-catch game despite his fumble that was a killer. I think many of us are still holding out hope that Devin Asiasi can contribute something this year but with each passing week that looks less and less likely.

Still, you never know, he could come on down the stretch and provide the kind of boost the team needs most. I'm still in the camp of getting the youngsters as much experience as possible. I don't think that rules out a trade-deadline acquisition, but I'm not expecting a major splash move that costs a significant draft pick. –Mike Dussault

In your opinion do you think the team goes targets areas of need before the trade deadline this year, or will they wait and get through this season and have a reset in free agency? -@shawmellors

I think the next three games are critical and will tell us a lot about who the 2020 Patriots are. The 49ers pose a lot of problems and the game in Buffalo might be the biggest of the season. Then a supposed layup against the hapless Jets. They need two wins out of the next three games to keep their playoff hopes alive. If they can do that I think they will try to make some moves to improve the team but again, I don't think we're talking splash major players.

Maybe one or two mid-level veterans at the right spots like tight end and linebacker. Think Kyle Van Noy, Akiem Hicks or Akeem Ayers types, not Julio Jones types. –Mike Dussault

Paul and the PU crew were one of the few people I heard say while the Cam signing was exciting and low-risk it wasn't risk-free. The risk was Pats would finish 7-9 or 8-8. Cam would likely leave, Pats would have a mid -round but NOT a top draft pick and another season will have passed without knowing what they had in Stidham. That situation is becoming increasingly likely. At what record (2-4, 3-3, 3-4) do you decide to start selling assets and embark on a full-on rebuild? –Josh G.

I think the Buffalo game is going to really tell us a lot about this Patriots season and there will be no moral victories. It's a road division game and the only thing that matters is getting the win. I am not sure the Patriots can learn enough about themselves in two more weeks to start unloading talented players from their roster.

In a larger sense, I'd bet there's less teams willing to make moves at the trade deadline this year. There are so many circumstances going into play, for a team like the Patriots that is straddling a number of young and old players, it probably just makes the most sense to go heavy on getting the younger players more experience, perhaps at the expense of veterans who might not be here past this season, and that could be a fluid list depending on how the rest of the year unfolds. –Mike Dussault

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