“Man, oh, man. This looks like a disaster to me. I mean, I never saw that arm talent. He wouldn’t snap the football. He was kind of pushing the ball. He wasn’t accurate down the field, which we’ve seen throughout his career. But with Josh McDaniels, I give him so much credit. Early in the season, we’ve seen him be accurate.
“This is scary to me. Look, we all know there’s no weapons out there. We see that highlight where Cam is sitting there, waiting, waiting and waiting — you got to throw guys open. Unfortunately, right now, I don’t know if Cam is accurate enough or has the zip on the football to throw guys open.” - Rex Ryan, 61-66, .480 career
Ah, these are the times that try men's souls.
I've done the math on this. The Patriots have now lost five of their last seven games. If you were born during the last stretch like this, congratulations. Get out and cast your first vote in a few weeks. Or don't vote. You're 18 and I'm not about to tell you how to be an adult.
The last time the Pats lost five in a seven game stretch was between September 29 and November 17 of 2002. That would be the Super Bowl Hangover Team. The Unmemorable Pats. The Patriots That Time Forgot. The Least Above Average Season of the Dynasty Era. The team that traded Drew Bledsoe to Buffalo and beat him twice. But lost a "gotta have it" game late in the season to the Jets and even after an overtime win in the final game over the Dolphins, lost a three way tie breaker for the division title. The team of failed free agents like Steve Martin, Doug Gabriel and the Victor Green who was the slow motion replay of Jets Victor Green. The team most notable for inspiring this Belichick quote, courtesy of Michael Holley's 2005 book "Patriot Reign":
I've seen a couple of comments here, some of the players talking about we need to get our "swagger" back. Our attitude back. You know what, we didn't have a "swagger" last year. If you fucking think about it, we didn't have a swagger. What we had was a sense of urgency. A sense of urgency about playing well, being smart and capitalizing on every opportunity and situation that came our way ... it wasn't about a fucking swagger. You can take that swagger and shove it up your ass, okay?
THAT Patriots team. But I digress.
As bad as it was to live through that grim period, that Great Depression of 2002 when we experienced for the last time what it's like to have a single-digit win team that finished behind Chad Pennington's Jets the way Chad Pennington finished 181 spots ahead of Tom Brady in the draft two years earlier, right now this feels worse. At least 18 years ago we never got pity from a sub-.500 coach.
I mean, imagine looking like a disaster to Rex Ryan? Or scary, for that matter? This is a man who went his last six years without finishing over .500. He's questioning Cam Newton's arm talent, and he drafted Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and EJ Manuel, all in the top 40.
So yes, I'm worried. Because if anyone knows scary disasters, it's Rex Ryan, who made a career out of living them. When it comes to shitty football, he's not some noob; he's a wily veteran who's seen it all. It's like how you hear how people visiting California freak out at the slightest tremor, so you're supposed to look to the locals. And if they look worried, then you panic.
It's one thing if the resident fresh out of med school checks your vitals and looks concerned. But when the 50 year old head of the cardiology department sees your test results, every "Hmmm" is cause for alarm.
In "The Exorcist," you might not freak out when Father Karras starts to, because he was in his early 30s and had never seen anything like it. But when a girl climbing on the ceiling and yakking pea soup is a new one on Max Von Sydow, it's the scariest moment in movie history.
So, yes. I'm concerned. Getting pity from Rex Ryan is a new one on me. Worst still are Ryan Clark's comments toward the end. Because he's giving Newton a pass by saying the Patriots simply do not have what it takes at the skill positions to compete. And just 24 hours removed from one of the worst offensive performances in a long time, it's hard to argue his point.
But instead I'll keep in mind the things I said in this morning's KJR column. They practice for a reason. You can't just skip almost two full weeks of workouts, turn them into remote learning and expect everything will run like a Lamborghini. And while Rex Ryan thinks it's a disaster and Cam Newton has lost the ability to quarterback, we've heard this song before. Sung different ways by different people, from Tom Jackson's "They hate their coach" to Trent Dilfer's "They're not good anymore" and thousand other variations. They figured it out then. Give them practices and a little continuity and they'll figure it out this time too. They have to. Life where Rexy thinks you suck is hardly worth living.