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Mike Lombardi: 'You have to be concerned with the Patriots'

Ryan Hannable
December 12, 2018 - 12:19 pm

Mike Lombardi is down on the Patriots this year.

Appearing on The Ringer's GM Street podcast this week, the former Patriots executive was highly critical of the team and noted if it makes it to the AFC title game it will be one of Bill Belichick's best coaching jobs.

“I think you have to be concerned with the Patriots," he said. "They are in the same uniform, but this is not your same 2014, ’15, ’16 Patriots. This is the Patriots team that right now sits at 3-4 on the road. They have a below .500 record on the road. They haven’t had one of those in a long, long time. I think it shows because they are not as talented as a team. I think if Belichick gets this team to the conference championship game this year, I think it certainly would be one of his finest — I think in ’13 when he got that team to the conference championship was his finest coaching performance. I think if he gets this team to it this year, I think it would be one of his most amazing coaching performances.”

Lombardi also discussed the final play in Miami and said how the play showed just how slow the Patriots are on defense.

“If you want to take one thing from the miracle play, it is take how slow the Patriots looked defensively on that play," he said. "And I am not talking about Gronk. Bill [Belichick] admitted that Gronk didn’t belong on the field. That was a mistake. I think they thought it was a Hail Mary, they saw the three receivers to one side, they had Kyle Van Noy kind of as a spy because I think they anticipated [Ryan] Tannehill to roll to his right so he could launch the ball down the field so that Van Noy could get over the top of it and put pressure on him so he couldn’t have a lot of time to set his feet to throw it. Obviously, it was a mistake. They admitted it.

"Look, at the end of the half it was a disaster, as well. They got beat in an area where they never usually get beat, which is situational football. And it cost them. I think the key component here when you look at that Patriots defense on that last play is how slow they looked and how poorly they looked in space. That has to concern you. That is what I have been saying all year about their defense. I think it showed on that play. [Kenyan] Drake just ran away from everybody. They didn’t have anybody that could really run with Drake. I know [Devin] McCourty wasn’t on the field. He would have been somebody who could have."

The Patriots will look to bounce back this week in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, a team they have beaten 12 out of the last 15 meetings.

Related: Warren Moon appears to be doubting Tom Brady: There's a deterioration coming

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