Albert Einstein famously said "insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results".
Despite, riding high on a wave of success at the moment New England Patriots fans should take a breath because, once again Head Coach Bill Belichick has come into the season without a plan B and this will likely cost New England.
Belichick has gambled everything on Rob Gronkowski's staying fit for an entire season and this isn't the smartest idea.
On top of the World
Right now things couldn't be going better for the New England Patriots. September got a bit rocky when the team went 2-2. They lost the opening game of the season to division rivals the Dolphins, struggled to beat the still winless Raiders and hammered in arrowhead when Kansas City won 14-41.
That was then though. Since that Monday night football loss the Patriots have won five in a row and have looked fantastic in doing so. Week 9's win over the Broncos sent a powerful message out to the league.
- Ryan Mallet ready for Texans starter job
- Drew Bledsoe calls Jets job a "virgin sacrifice"
- Andrew Luck breaks records in Giants win
The two pillars this run has been built on are veteran quarterback Tom Brady and bulldozing tight end Rob Gronkowski. This isn't too surprising. After all if you look at New England's team Brady and Gronkowski are by far the most talented players on the roster.
Now when talking about the quarterback there is nothing wrong with him being the best player on the roster. In fact it is the optimal scenario. The QB has the most ability to influence the game and get the best out of the players so you absolutely want him to be the best player.
Ideally, though you surround your quarterback with lots of offensive weapons to make his job as easy as possible. If you look at the Broncos for example Manning's fourth receiving option is Wes Welker a player who would be a WR1 in most teams and at least a WR2 in every team but Denver's.
The Patriots have failed to do this with Brady though. By far and away Brady's best weapon is tight end Gronkowski. The numbers are startling when Gronkowski is fully fit and playing well Brady plays well and the Patriots play well. The Patriots are almost Gronkowski dependent.
In September when the Patriots were struggling Gronkowski didn't seem to have fully recovered from 2013's knee injury. He wasn't back to his old self and the stats reflected this. In weeks 1 thru 4 Gronkowski had 40,32, 44,41 receiving yards respectively. In those four weeks Brady didn't get above 250 passing yards and he only threw four touchdowns.
From week five onwards though Gronkowski's has started to approach something like his old self. Over the last five games the tight end has averaged 103.2 yards per game
The temptation is to say so what? Things are going great for the Patriots. Brady is great. Gronkowski is great. The team is great. The problem however, is that it isn't too much of a stretch to see Gronkowski getting injured again. It has happened in the last two seasons and each time it has cost the Patriots big time.
Had Gronkowski been fit for last year's AFC Championship game then the result could easily have been different.
By now Belicheck should have learned from his mistakes. He has had two drafts and two free agency periods to bring in some more talent. He hasn't done so though. Even in this year's wide receiver heavy draft where quality receivers were available well into the second/third day New England chose not to put some weapons around Brady.
Instead, Brady and the Patriots go into the season once again where everything is predicated on plan A and Gronkowski. Twice in a row it has failed the Patriots. It would served Belicheck right if it failed him a third time.