The New England Patriots made strides in their dominant Week 5 win over the Detroit Lions. But how much of their improvements were simply the result of playing against an inferior opponent, and which can we expect to carry with them into the rest of the season?
Among the noticeable improvements made in the 29-0 victory were the performances of the offensive line, the running game, and the defensive front. Rookie cornerback Jack Jones also showed lasting potential with his second interception in as many games.
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On a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry break down the positives from the Patriots' performance and rate their staying power on a scale of 1-10.
First up, the offensive line cohesion:
New England Patriots
"I'm putting this at a 10 if what we've seen the last couple of weeks is real," Perry said. "Even when they have lapses -- and there were obvious lapses in Green Bay, one of which got your starting quarterback hurt -- those to me looked more like a one-player issue. It was an Isaiah Wynn issue, not necessarily a communication across-the-board kind of issue.
"So I think if this is real, this to me is probably the biggest thing that they'll be able to hang their hat on moving forward. Because if they don't get that cohesion in the run game and in the pass protection, they're really not going to have any kind of a chance this year. So once you get your quarterback back, if he's playing behind a better offensive line, the overall product will be much better.
How about the play of rookie Jack Jones?
"He's not a flash in the pan. You can't be a flash in the pan if you flash in the spring into the summer and the first two games where you get a lot of work," Perry said. "(Devin McCourty) has said since the summer, great feet, the way he transitions is special. He has a chance to be really, really good. That's how McCourty feels and so I'm going to follow his lead and say I think this guy has a chance to be really, really good. ... He's got ball skills. I don't think those are teachable in some cases. That's kind of god-given, isn't it?"
That one gets an 8 out of 10.
You can hear more of Curran and Perry's ratings in the full Patriots Talk Podcast episode.
Also discussed in the episode: Curran and Perry discuss how Bill Belichick talks to the media and what leads him to drop the "curmudgeon" attitude on occasion and talk in-depth on a given topic. Can Mac Jones really learn anything from how Bailey Zappe has handled the offense and offensive coaching staff? Looking ahead to the Cleveland Browns, should we expect a similar game plan as the one the Patriots used against the Lions? And ‘Irrelevant Questions’ with Adrian Phillips.