Don't expect the Pats to go south anytime soon.

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Don’t expect the Pats to go south anytime soon.

By Bill Smith

The Patriots have been losing key people faster than a two month old Christmas Tree drops its needles. Vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli left the team to become the head of football operations for the Kansas City Chiefs. Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels is now the head coach of the Broncos. It looks like special teams coach Brad Seely will be in Cleveland in that same position. In addition, the Pats expect to lose former Texan head coach Dom Capers among others. So this must mean that the Pats are going to fall like the Dow Jones from the NFL elite, right? Not so fast my friend.

The Patriots are used to this kind of attrition from their coaching and executive ranks. Former Browns coach Romeo Crennel was the D coordinator for the Pats before going to Cleveland. His replacement, Eric Mangini, broke from the organization and became the head coach of the Jets. The team also lost offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to Notre Dame. None of these have been able to duplicate their success in New England. The Pats on the other hand continued to win championships and move on with missing a dance step.

Even this year when they lost enough pro bowl quality players to fill a city bus, head coach Bill Belichick found a way to win. The reason is clear. It is Belichick and not Pioli, McDaniels, Seeley, Capers, et. al. that is the brains behind the operation.

How long can he continue to win with an aging defense, injury history of key players, and the loss of coaching and scouting talent? For a long time. Belichick has taken free agents off the street and plugged them into one of the most complex defenses ever created. Even then, nothing seems to change. The Pats still win.

It is impossible to be sure how the latest batch of Pat refugees will fare in their new positions. Certainly their chances for success is far less than the odds that they will fail. However, based on the past we can expect the Pats to challenge for a spot in the Super Bowl.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

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