Watching the New England Patriots right now is like watching a tennis match were Rodger Federer suddenly only has a forehand and has lost his backhand after winning four grand slams the year before. His forehand is still on point, it will still destroy you, but his backhand is suddenly completely awful. The Patriot's offense is still Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola Brandon Cooks, James White, Dion Lewis, and so on and so forth. The offense still looks like how they did in the comeback again the Falcons in Superbowl 51. However, the defense looks like they are a bunch of freshmen playing for my high school team in Maine. How many Mainers make the NFL? Not many. Now that may be a bit harsh. Malcolm Butler had a great interception, overall Devin McCourty still looks like Devin McCourty. Having Dont'a Hightower back was making a difference for a little bit. One of the biggest problems in the Patriots defense is Stephon Gilmore. He has caused big plays and given up big penalties in every single game so far. In Bill we trust. But this one we trusted him and he and Gilmore have let us down. If he hadn’t had a hand on the face of Devin Fuchess the D would have made the Panthers go 3 and out on their last drive, Tom Brady would have gotten the ball back, and the Patriots would have won the game. Obviously the fact that we were tied 30 to 30 with four minutes left against a team that had hardly scored all season is completely unacceptable. What I find most distressing is that we barely lost anyone on defense from the Superbowl. Ninkovich retiring is a huge blow that we are missing for sure. Rowe caused a lot of the plays on Sunday against the Panthers. I think all Patriots fans can agree that while the entire defense is playing poorly, Stephon Gilmore wasn’t worth the money. How many times will we as Patriots fans say that we should have listened to the Bills fans? I hope this is the only time. Scoring 30 points at home and losing isn’t who we are as a team. This isn’t the Patriots I have been watching the past ten years. It is disappointing, and I can’t help but look at our schedule and grimace a little bit. The Bills beating the Falcons has me worried. The Falcons were the last undefeated team going into this week and were playing as they did in the Superbowl. We have to play the Falcons, and the Bills are in our division, so we have to play them twice. The Patriots also have to play the Broncos, Raiders, Steelers, Ravens, and other good teams. We just won the Superbowl so a schedule that hard is what should be expected. The poor playing of our defense should not be expected. Is it possible for them to get it together? Yes. It is. People said our defense was terrible for most of the last season, although we were never this bad. We’ll see what happens. Last time we were 2-2 after week 4 was 2014, and we won the Superbowl that year. No one would have predicted that. So while it is looking highly unlikely that we will win this year, we still have Bill Belichick and Matt Patrica. I have to believe that it will get better but for now, we are on to Tampa Bay.
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Little things remind me all the time.
For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"
It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?
I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.
Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.
I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.
I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.
As a collective group us Jets fans do not expect much from the franchise, we are aware of their struggles and we take all of the negative shade other fans throw at us.
However, not even a month ago I wrote an article truly believing that these "New" New York Jets were going to turn it all around, that this new regime might have just figured it out, that our owners just might have fallen upon something. They released sick new jerseys, signed arguably the best two available free agents in linebacker CJ Mosley and running back Leveon Bell. The team also brought in offensive guru Adam Gase as their head coach and Greg Williams as defensive coordinator.
Everything seemed right in Jets land, I mean they were not even the laughing stock of New York, that title belonged to the Giants all off-season.
Until it didn't.
Around a month later from that first article I wrote, I am here righting another article feeling completely different about the state of the franchise. The amount of hope I had for this team going into the future has almost been completely ripped away from me and all I feel is the disheartening truth that the Jets will never be different. You might be wondering what I am talking about, and if you follow the NFL, I am sure you already know what I am talking about but for those who don't here it is...
The Jets fired their General Manager Mike Maccagnan. Okay someone was fired, no big deal. No, this is a big deal. A GM's job in the NFL is to build a team. Sign players, draft players, build a culture and evaluate players. The Jets ended last season by firing their head coach Todd Bowlers. Christopher Johnson the acting owner of the team decided to hang on to GM Macagnan feeling he has done a good enough job for one more chance at building a winner. Maccagnan and Johnson worked closely together to find the next head coach Adam Gase and entered the off-season with the second most cap space in football a young QB and the #3 pick in the draft. Like I said before all was good in Jets world. Then May 15th happened.
I mean the Jets firing Maccagnan is not what is so bothersome in this situation, it is the timing. I mean do they realize they could have just gotten rid of this guy back in January before the whole off-season and opened up what probably would have been the most attractive job in football... a lot of money a young QB and the 3rd pick. But no, that would have made too much sense for the Jets and that is why they did not do it. This move has been a bombshell, unnecessary drama surrounding this team because of incompetent owners. It is really unfortunate. There is a part of me that wants to believe the media is making this seem so much worse than it actually is because, let's be honest, that is what sports media does.
But with the Jets, it is always different.
The impossible, the crazy, the most bone-heading, mind-boggling things are 100% possible. As my favorite radio voice, Joe Benigno said, "the Jets are a disgrace... they are not even a second class team, they are like an 8th class team." He is right on the money there. Unfortunately, the team I hate that I love will never be a 1st class organization with continuing to make unbelievable move after unbelievable move. They are a place I'm sure people really have to be desperate to work at because the owners do not have a clue about the game of football. They do not know how to run a football team and have somehow turned a once-promising offseason into one of angst, anxiety, and disappointment.
When this article posts this story will probably be a week or so old, so who knows the Jets might have found their next GM, and it could be an executive everyone raves about, but at this very moment, I do not even know what to say anymore, other than this team will forever and always be the SAME OLD JETS...