Are the Patriots trying to tank for Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields?
The New England Patriots haven’t had the greatest last couple of months. It all started in the playoffs of the 2019 NFL season. After going 12-4 in the regular season, New England lost in the Wild Card round to the Tennessee Titans.
Then Tom Brady announced he was not going to retire. However, he ended up signing a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This ended his 20-year run with the Patriots.
After that, Rob Gronkowski announced he was going to come out of retirement. He was only doing so because he wanted the Patriots to trade him to the Buccaneers to play with Brady, though.
So they lost their franchise quarterback. Then had their superstar tight end come out of retirement just to leave. That’s rough.
It didn’t stop there, though, as the NFL Draft was this weekend. And New England had one of the worst drafts of the year. While this is subjective, it seems to be a pretty consensus as well. Not many people believe the Patriots had even an “average” draft. And that’s just scary.
With all this in mind, the question that’s been asked a bit this offseason has been, “should the Patriots tank for a quarterback in 2020?”
Now we have to wonder, are they actually trying to do just that? I mean, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are incredibly exciting prospects, and the Patriots need a quarterback. So it’s definitely a possibility, right?
The argument that they are trying to tank has some legs. New England needed a quarterback in the draft. So they took zero.
A lot of people felt they should get a new receiver as well. So they got zero.
The offense has a lot of holes. And in the draft, they took only two “skill” positions on offense, both tight ends (and they took both in the third round).
New England took three offensive linemen as well. That’s where the offense stops, though. Other than that, they took a kicker and five defenders.
So the reasoning for why they might be tanking is pretty clear. The Patriots don’t have a quarterback. Can they win without one? And even if someone does emerge as a reliable option, they aren’t giving him many weapons.
Sure, a great quarterback could make it work, but can anyone on their roster become a great quarterback in time for the 2020 season? It seems unlikely.
With that being said, that’s all there really is in the “tanking” argument.
Meanwhile, there’s a strong argument about why the Patriots are not trying to tank. Or at least, why they shouldn’t try to tank. It’s pretty simple, too, the defense.
New England had the best defense in the entire NFL last season. That’s not hyperbole either.
The Patriots allowed 275.9 total offensive yards per game and 14.1 points per game. Both of those were the fewest in the NFL. That’s not all, though; they also racked up 36 takeaways. That was second in the league behind only the Pittsburgh Steelers (38).
Yes, New England lost a few pieces defensively this offseason. A lot of the pieces remained, though. And they used their first three picks in the 2020 NFL Draft on defense.
So even with New England being considered one of the weakest drafts this year, you’d still have to factor that in.
With a defense like that, are they really going to tank? Can they even do it if they wanted to?
More importantly, would Bill Belichick be okay with tanking? He really doesn’t seem like the type of head coach that would want to phone it in for a single game, let alone a season.
So let’s recap quickly. The Patriots didn’t draft a quarterback and didn’t have the best weapons.
However, they still have potential at running back and N’Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu, and Julian Edelman at receiver. They also have an elite defense and Belichick as the coach.
Is it going to be hard to tank with that team?
Will the Patriots be legitimate Super Bowl contenders in 2020? More than likely not. But they won’t be bottom feeders. So there is no reason to try and tank.
New England is smarter than this. They won’t attempt to tank with Belichick at the helm and this unit on the field.