Yesterday, NFL Reporter Albert Breer posed a question to dynamic running back Shane Vereen about how the team has continued to win despite several substantial, season-ending injuries to key players. Vereen had an interesting response:
Via Albert Breer:
"We’re much more adaptable. We’re able to hear things in the meeting, and put them on the field a couple hours later. And I think that’s huge, because of the way our offense works, and the way we put things together – You have to be able to adjust."
One of the strengths of Bill Belichick as a coach and of the teams he coaches has always been the ability to adjust on the fly, whether it be because of an unexpected injury or an unfamiliar scheme being presented by an opponent. This year's team in particular demonstrated an unbelievable ability to make successful in-game adjustments. Regular season victories over the Broncos, Texans, and Browns are all good examples of this team-wide trait instilled by their coach.
|Jared Wickerham/Getty Images/ESPN.com|
Obviously, players, coaches, and fans alike would prefer for the Patriots injured superstars on IR to be playing in Sunday's AFC Championship game, but to Vereen's point, this year's team does seem to have an inherent toughness and ability to succeed no matter what situation they are presented with. Free-agency, prison, and a devestating knee injury took away Tom Brady's best weapons through the air. As a result, their offense has become run-based with a heavy reliance on play action, a look similar to the Super Bowl winning teams of the early 2000's.
All year the knock on the Patriots is that they are simply too banged up to win the big one. But they continue to win. When it is all said and done, the injury-laden 2013/14 Patriots team could be Bill Belichick's finest achievement yet.