Adding some perspective to the Patriots offensive struggles

I've come to very much enjoy Greg Bedard's weekly radio appearance on WEEI. Bedard is one of the rare beat writers that tries to analyse the mysterious Patriots in a rational way instead of jumping to conclusions. Credit Mike Reiss on that front too.

Anyway, talk radio hosts are the epitome of making things a bigger deal than they are. They aren't particularly educated on the Xs and Os of the sport of football, and are heavy into speculation. Consequently, their opinions that come from being forced to talk about a topic they aren't educated on for 4 or 5 hours everyday eventually make their ways into the minds of the commuting sports fans around Boston.

So, when D&C ask the questions that most fans are thinking to someone like Bedard, who does know a lot about football, a lot of key topics are covered and a lot of overreactions are put to rest, hopefully.

Here's the transcript of some of my key takeaways from Bedard's weekly WEEI interview this morning:

On the offensive struggles:

Offensively, the way I view it, they're in flux. I don't think that there's a difference of opinion at this time of where this offense is going. I think that Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels have a vision of where they want this offense to be at the midpoint of the season, what they think they need to do to win playoff games and be better in December, January and February. Right now they're at point A, they're trying to get to point B. These things don't happen overnight.

Then I think you factor in that the offensive line has been in flux. We're talking about a unit that has never practiced together during training camp. Guys going in and out, Mankins coming in late, Vollmer coming in late, Waters not coming back, so now they've got to adjust there.

Look, Brady's out there during a game with Brandon Lloyd (who they didn't get a ton of work. Brandon did miss some time in training camp, missed one of the preseason games) and Julian Edelman who really wasn't out there, he was on the field, but as far as reps with Brady and the rest of the offense, I didn't really see it. So, I think you lose Hernandez on top of that and, who is the guy. We've been talking about it for awhile that he was going to be the guy that drives the bus in this offense.

To all of a sudden, those things happen against the Cardinals, you got what you saw. Which is basically just a discombulation, nobody's comfortable, guys are seeing one thing, where other guys are seeing another and when you have that it's just not harmonious.

That's not to say the Patriots won't get there, we've seen stretches of this before. Last year, the back to back losses to the Steelers and the Giants, the offense continued to struggled for the next couple games and then all of a sudden they caught fire. So right now, I think there's a lot of things going on and I just think the Patriots need more reps and more game action and then I think they'll start to turn the corner a bit.

Why are the Patriots changing the offense?

They're playing to their strengths. They went out and added Brandon Lloyd, which was an essential piece because you talk to anybody around the league and they say with the Patriots you have the two tight ends and you have Welker, these are middle of the field players. So teams - the smarter teams or the more capable teams personnel wise - could start to clamp down on the Patriots in the middle of the field, get physcial with them. There wasn't an option to scare them.

I'm not sure Lloyd does that yet, you can tell they're trying to force feed it maybe a little bit too much in the early going. Another thing is, I think they need to take their medicine with Lloyd and Brady on these deep shots right now. Even if it means they're not totally clicking and maybe they lose a game like Sunday, sometimes that needs to happen. Lloyd is a piece on the outside that they needed to spread the defense out.

We saw signs of this entire offense even under Billy O'Brien in the second half of last season, especially down the stretch, where they had the power running game and they were successful until Ridley started fumbling the ball and that got him taken out. They never had a Lloyd.

They're just playing to their personnel strengths right now the scheme needs to catch up to the personnel. It's gonna take time. It just is. What people have to keep in mind is that this is a very very long season and look at where the defense was last year as opposed to where it was at the end of the year.

On why the Patriots didn't just throw more (yes, they really asked that)

To me, Sunday is on the players. They just failed to execute.

You can question Josh on the throw back pass to Brady, 3rd and 6 goes for a loss of 9 and knocks them out of field goal range. Even though there was a lack of execution there between Donald Thomas and likely between Sebastian Vollmer blocking Darnell Docket.

Time after time again it was the players just making mistakes. I don't think that just opening things up would have solved anything, those guys just played bad on Sunday.

We've seen it before, we saw it in Cleveland, we saw it in Buffalo last year, these things happen. I don't think you can start to make the case that Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels are cutting off their nose to spite their face, as far as the offense right now.

Who will have a bigger impact the rest of the season: Branch or Winslow?

Hopefully neither because I don't think that they're needed. Hopefully that means Hernandez is not out for very long...but I would say Branch.

I think Branch comes right in, he already knows the offense. I think that he's going to add a lot to the redzone where it looked to me - watching the coach's film yesterday - that Edelman kind of struggles and Brady doesn't have a whole lot of faith in him.

The two point conversion, Edelman didn't really look like he knew what he was supposed to be doing or at least where to get open. I was thinking to myself, before Branch got signed, it would've been nice to have Deion Branch in that situation because he's a guy that just has a knack for getting open with Brady in the endzone and that's kind of missing right now.

The Patriots should've thrown to Rob Gronkowski more

I don't know why they didn't throw to Gronkowski more earlier in the game. He was single covered much of the game and I don't know why.

Josh McDaniels' offensive philosophy

What happens every off-season, and this goes on with every NFL team, is Bill stands before the guys and says alright, find a way to get better with your unit.

These guys go away for a week in their offseason with all the film and stats and all this stuff and then they come back. Any improvements they think need to be done, they go into Bill's office and they make the argument like an attorney.

Bill will cross-question them, probably toughest defense attorney there is, and he will just really go after them and pick apart their arguments. But if you're right, Bill will back you.

This is how we got to the two tight end offense after the season in 2009. I'm sure they had these same discussions about this is what we have to do better in order to be better on offense. Run the ball more. Everyone talks about Josh McDaniels but this - Brady more under center, more tight ends, so they can run more play action - is the exact same conclusion that they had after the 2009 season. It just has taken them two seasons to get what they think is the correct personnel.

Overreacting to the offensive line play

I think we're overreacting to it. I think they're steady on their course inside the Patriots walls. I think the offensive line had a pretty good game overall in pass protection. What they asked Logan Mankins and Donald Thomas to do as far as these reach blocks - where the defender is on their outside shoulder yet the play is going towards the defender, so the offensive lineman actually has to get out, reach the guy and get equal with him - is incredible.

That play, the Danny Woodhead loss. Darnell Dockett was basically lined up on Sebastian Vollmer's outside shoulder and Donald Thomas is supposed to get all the way over there. Those are extremely tough to make, Mankins and Thomas were asked to do that all game along against two terrific guys in Campbell and Dockett. Very high degree of difficulty. They had some, they missed some. For the most part I thought that they did pretty well.

Look, they're thin. We've talked about this before. Connolly should be back next week. If they get a big injury to the line, then I think you can worry. Right now I think they're growing.