Five Thoughts on A Bye Week

How the Pats Can Improve in Their Final Six Games

A. James White, who has 66 catches, is entitled to a mediocre performance every once in a while. White wasn’t much of a factor in the Pats loss to Tennessee last Sunday. Pats need to keep him involved in the last six games. Sony Michel did not look fully healthy last week. If he can return and Rex Burkhead is activated, the Pats could have a much stronger running game in the last six games.

B. Defensively, it would be nice to see more plays out of LB Dont’a Hightower who had an interception against Kansas City and a blocked punt against Chicago. But Hightower has often disappeared for stretches of games. If the Pats are to make a deep playoff run, they need more production from Hightower. Linebacker depth is an issue for the Pats who have signed Albert McClellan recently and Ramon Humber. The Pats were also interested in Bruce Irvin who recently signed with the Atlanta Falcons after he was released from Oakland Raiders. Hightower has no sacks and one interception.

C. The defensive issues to me still come down to pass rush. With the activation of rookie CB Duke Dawson and the signing of Obi Melifonwu the Pats have a lot of depth in the secondary. If the secondary is asked to cover for too long that is where they will get burned.

Also, Pats must improve their kickoff coverage as evident from the long kickoff return that they gave up to the Titans at the beginning of last week. Somehow, don’t think Bill Belichick will let kickoff coversge be an issue into the playoffs.

D. Slow down, the Pats don’t need Rob Gronkowski talk. Last week against the Titans would have been a different game with Gronkowski who is often double teamed. Go back and watch the catch he made in the second half of the Pats win against Buffalo.

E. Not buying the Josh McDaniels to Cleveland talk. Green Bay, however, feels like a dream job because McDaniels could work with Aaron Rodgers, who turns 35 in December, who is still at the top of his game and will likely will play at least four or five more years. The idea that McDaniels would never get head coaching consideration again after backing out of the Colts job was bogus. NFL general managers have short memories and if they feel McDaniels is their best option they will hire him.

Also, we have all changed our minds. McDaniels has four children and given the raise he received from the Pats he decided to remain in New England.

McDaniels has learned from his experience as head coach in Denver and will have a better chance to succeed in his next head coaching opportunity.